If you are old enough to remember VHS rental stores, you will also remember how quickly they changed to DVD format.
It was not long after this that the idea of physically renting a movie began to dramatically fade. With Cloud and Ultra Violet technology overtaking the Internet, there are many ways movie viewers can stream HD video easily.
There are two main routes to do this: you can pay a monthly fee, or you can pay as you go to rent online streaming movies.
Here is a list and description of some of the major sites available to viewers in the USA and Canada.
- CinemaNow: This site is the work of BestBuy in cooperation with Rovi Corporation. They offer the ability to stream movies and television onto nearly any device you already own. Additionally, they offer ultraviolet service, which means if you purchase a movie, you can keep it on the Cloud to share with your friends and family as you wish. You can also convert DVDs you own to a digital version to keep on the Cloud, which is a nice feature so you do not have to buy the films again.
- Netflix: Probably the “original” place where movie viewers could stream rental movies, this company offers monthly subscription packages, some of which include physical DVDs that come to you in the mail. Unlimited streaming of films is definitely the way to go with this company.
- Crackle: What is great about this site is that it is totally free; yes, free. It is geared towards “guys”, and they have all the action and comedies which have been handpicked for men. The idea is that guys can stream more movies they like. Crackle works with most devices.
- Hulu: This site offers services to the USA and Japan only at this time. For a small monthly fee, you can stream movies and TV onto many different devices. Hulu has a two tiered system; hulu.com and Hulu Plus. Hulu Plus offers all kinds of movies and television series that go back for years. You can stream these videos to nearly any device. Hulu.com is limited to only PCs and the library of what can be streamed is limited.
- Yidio: This site is a bit like the Kayak travel site. What is does is pull together all streaming video providers into one place so you can get the exact movie or TV show you want. To stream, you will need a separate subscription for each provider you want to use. A partial list of providers includes Amazon Prime, Hulu, Netflix, iTunes, Crackle and videos that are free.
- Vudu: This site offers movies and TV to stream. The prices for rentals are very reasonable .99 for the “movie of the day” or $2 for two nights. Vudu offers Ultra Violet services and it can be streamed in to practically any device you own. Like other providers, it offers DVD to digital service as well. The cost is $2 for SD or Blu-ray and $5 for HD.
- iTunes: Probably the mother of all streaming sites, iTunes has every possible multimedia you could want; music, radio, podcasts, movies, and TV. You can stream directly from iTunes or you can access it from other places such as Apple TV or Yidio. iTunes offers a pay as you go program where you rent what you want to stream for 24 to 48 hours, depending on the movie or TV show you want.
Streaming online movie rentals is getting better and easier by the year. With more and more sites popping up to help you, there is something for everyone. From totally free online streaming movie sites to streaming rentals, there is a site for you.