How do you watch movies of your choice nowadays?

#1

Most of the time nowadays I just watch movies on Netflix. Too little free time, too many movies even on Instant Watch. But every once in a while I hear about a movie through word of mouth or through an interview that I want to see. But the last of the Blockbuster video stores went away last year, and disc Netflix seems really expensive if you want BluRays, especially compared to Redbox. But Redbox only has a limited selection of the latest releases.

About 2 weeks ago, I had the urge to see Captain America 2. I wanted to see it before it went away from Redbox. But in order to track down the first movie, I discovered it wasn’t at any Redbox, and on Amazon, Xbox, Vudu, PSN, etc., it was $2.99 for the SD version, $3.99 for the HD version. At first I thought that sounded too high, but everywhere it was the same price, and when I looked at the disc version of Netflix, it was around the same price per BluRay even if I went with their limited 2 movies a month plan (more than which I probably wouldn’t have time for anyway). So I went with Amazon. I watched the movie, then the sequel (rented from the much cheaper Redbox).

I was just wondering: are these digital rental stores our only options for viewing older or more obscure titles now? Is this the only remaining version of the corner video store for these types of movies? Well, this and the disc version of Netflix, I guess? How do you guys watch older and more obscure titles nowadays?

#2

This is exactly why I don’t want Lovefilm to fade away over here. We’ve been with them for just under 10 years now and they’ve almost always got the films we want, however obscure. Recently Amazon bought them and kept the disc service separate and turned Lovefilm Instant into Amazon Instant. We now have access to both so we have to do quite a lot of cross referencing to make sure we aren’t renting out a disc that could be on the Instant service.

I love Lovefilm but over the years we’ve had quite a number of discs that have been scratched and my PS3 has not been able to play them properly (the worst instance of this was recently when it inconspicuously skipped the key sequence in Lake Mungo – we didn’t realise until we read the article about it on the front page!) so while in the past I’ve grumbled about the quality of streaming services vs Blu-Rays (mainly the lack of 5.1 and sometimes even HD), there’s no chance of the stream skipping or refusing to play like a disc could, and no inconvenience of sending it back and getting a replacement. There’s nothing more annoying than finally getting round to watching something then having to cancel because of a bad scratch or scuff.

So for us it’s Lovefilm disc rental and Amazon Instant streaming. We don’t buy films or TV series so these are our only channels bar friends lending us things. It’s effortless, very affordable and catches most things we want to see.

We did trial Now TV recently and that was pretty good but it didn’t make sense sticking with it because of the deal we’re already on.

#3

Library.

#4

Depends on the movie. If it’s something I’ve never seen before, or something that I enjoy but aren’t head over heals for, I’ll totally go digital. If its not available digitally, one of my movie nut friends will likely have a copy to loan me.

If I really love a movie, it’s blu-ray all the way and I won’t mind owning it.

#5

+1. Good libraries are an awesome resource, often overlooked.

#6

Yes! I can get nearly every DVD or BluRay that is released, including TV series. I hate to think of all the money I spent before I realized this. I can reserve a film online and it is delivered at no cost to my library, which is 1/2 mile away. This includes libraries in two counties. Also, most older films are also available. I have been enjoying some British period dramas that I would have a hard time finding elsewhere.

#7

My library also has access to a service called Hoopla, from which I can freely stream 5 movies a week. The selection is different than what’s on Netflix (i.e. more older movies and foreign movies). I probably use it more than Netflix, honestly.

#8

OK, this library idea sounds fantastic. I only thought of the Kansas City library system for books, and I haven’t been back since I switched all my reading to my Kindle app instead of physical books, but I’ll definitely have to look into this now.

#9

Holy crap, apparently so does mine! We’re limited to 2/week, but still.

Now, it only there’s a way to throw Hoopla onto my TV…

#10

Mine seems to be complicated. I live north of the river, but officially I’m still in Kansas City, MO. But all the branches of the Kansas City Library system are south of the river. I wonder if they’ll let me become a member? The library close to me that I used to get books from was the Mid-Continent Public Library system that also has a lot of branches. However, checking online, the KC library system has a huge selection of DVD movies, and Hoopla for “up to 15 movies per month”. Midcontinent Public Library system only has access to some kind of indie movie service and they don’t have many DVDs listed either from the few searches I did.

#11

I would talk to someone - around here, there are two city-run and at least two county-run library systems and while they’re technically separate, in practice you can use them mostly interchangeably, even using the same library card. You do have to get the card from your local system, though. I don’t know if that’s true in your area, but it couldn’t hurt to ask.

#12

Well, this is annoying.

#13

Heh, saw it coming a mile off.

We ditched Lovefilm because the service has been much more awkward to use since Amazon acquired it. It’s a nightmare navigating Amazon’s labyrinthine menus for simple stuff and they trimmed your rental history and reviews to your last 200 (we’d been with them for 11 years so had quite a list to consult and refer to).

We’re with Cinema Paradiso now which has been a return to the simpler days of an Amazon-free Lovefilm. Great service and an even bigger library.

We’re signed up to Netflix and Amazon Prime so anything that’s not covered by those will almost certainly be on Cinema Paradiso. It’s a good catch-all and, for me, a valuable service for more ‘obscure’ stuff, like older flicks, world cinema or indie/arthouse stuff.

While ever streaming services add and pull content at random and struggle to cover these gaps we’ll be subscribed to a disc-based service. Besides, there’s nothing like a good Blu-Ray for all your HD visuals and sound needs. (I don’t think you can get 5.1 audio through a browser so it’s only because of Windows 10’s Store that I was able to get Netflix in 5.1. Amazon Prime I have to access through my PS3 for 5.1 too.)

#14

Thanks for the tip, I’ll definitely look into that. I don’t mind Lovefilm’s interface too much (other than the fact they can bury the Lovefilm option when you just search for a movie), because I don’t generally look for stuff just by browsing. I add specific films I know I want to watch to my list.

Glad to hear it, because that’s basically what I use LoveFilm for. Well, that and stinkers that are covered on the bad movie podcasts I listen to.

#15

Mechanically speaking, is it basically the same as LoveFilm?

#16

Yeah, we add specific titles to our lists too; we rarely browse!

The service is exactly the same: add flicks to a list, prioritise said flicks, get them in the post, watch 'em, send back in a paid envelope. Viola. You can also freeze your account if you go away to avoid charges and delivery of rentals (13 weeks a year).

If you do decide to give them a whirl, I have a reference link that’ll give us a discount each month (get six references and you can use the service for free. We’re at a paltry single reference so far!).

#17

I found this pretty amazing. So the disc based Netflix is still around and doing well.

I do miss being able to watch any movie I want, regardless of my current subscription service.

#18

It makes sense, a ton of movies and TV shows aren’t available on any streaming service. I mean what if I want to watch The Rockford Files?

NOTHING.

#19

I enormously miss the selection of the disc service but also I finally cancelled it when it became clear I’d had the same disc for over half a year and never actually watched it. I want streaming to be less bullshit re: selection more than I want discs, I think.

#20

Still have my Cinema Paradiso sub. Go through 2-3 discs a week.