Best Movie Rental Services in 2011
If you’re looking to rent a movie, you have more options today than ever before. Not only can you run to a local rental store, but you can have DVDs mailed to you, and even download or stream them online. Here’s an overview of some of the top names you may be familiar with and what they offer.
Started as a DVD mailing company, Netflix added an option for Internet streaming, called “Watch Instantly”. They recently changed their pricing to signal a move away from DVDs. Streaming is easy with an increasing number of devices being supported, though the selection of streaming movies isn’t as good as with their DVD via mail options.
- Mail and Internet streaming subscriptions
- $7.99 for unlimited “Watch Instantly” streaming
- $7.99 for unlimited number of 1 DVD at a time mailings
- Multiple DVD mailing plans available
- Works on most devices including smartphones, tablets, game consoles, Internet TVs, PCs and Macs
Originally an online music store, Apple’s iTunes store now offers movies and TV shows. You can purchase or rent standard or high-definition videos and watch them on most Apple and some non-Apple devices.
- Internet download rentals only
- $3.99 for standard resolution, $4.99 for high-definition
- No membership required
- 30 Days to watch, 48 hours to finish once you start
Amazon Instant Video
Originally an online book store, Amazon offers “Instant Video” streaming movies. By subscribing to “Amazon Prime”, members get free two-day shipping on Amazon orders and access to unlimited streaming of select movies. Beyond the Instant Video option, Amazon also offers individual rentals of other movies.
- Internet streaming only
- Free with Amazon Prime membership, $79 per year or $39 per year for students
- 6,000 movies and TV shows
- Most current movies for $3.99
- Rentals range from $.99 to over $100
- Works on most devices, including smartphones, tablets, game consoles, Internet TVs, PCs and Macs
If you’re just looking to run out and pick up a DVD, Redbox has become a popular option. Redbox is like a vending machine for movies. Pay with a credit card, take the disc home, and when you return it, you’re charged for the time you used it.
- DVDs only available to rent from kiosks
- 200 titles available at each location
- 27,000 locations across the U.S.
- Prices start at $1 per day for DVD, $1.50 for Blu-ray
Started by TV studios, Hulu has grown to offer movies as well. Hulu Plus (the paid version of Hulu) is still primarily focused on TV shows, but does offer some movies. Though many set-top boxes and TV’s can connect to Hulu Plus, others, like Google TV, are specifically banned, so be sure your device is Hulu Plus approved.
- Internet streaming subscription only
- Hundreds of movies and documentaries
- $7.99 per month
Blockbuster Online/On Demand
Blockbuster used to dominate the movie rental business with it’s walk-in rental locations, but has since entered bankruptcy and was bought by DISH Network. Though with fewer locations, they are still offering in-store, mail, and Internet streaming options.
- In-store rental, DVD-by-mail subscriptions, and Internet streaming rentals and subscriptions
- Popular releases for $3.99 daily rental
- Works on many devices including smartphones, tablets, Internet TVs, and PCs
- 95,000 titles
Google YouTube/Android Market
YouTube is most known for short videos that users upload, but Google has also begun making premium content, including full length movies.
- Internet streaming rentals only
- Popular released for $2.99 or $3.99 each
- 30 Days to watch, 24 hours to finish once you start