Certainly enjoying movies at a theater is a unique experience. From the towering screens to the Dolby Digital DTS sound systems, the wow factor of a theater can't be matched. However, due to convenience and affordability, enjoying movies at home whether on a PC or a big screen plasma display is the more typical scenario for the majority of movie fans. The options for obtaining and viewing movies at home have certainly expanded in the past decade with the introduction of online movie rental and movie download services in addition to the more traditional offerings provided by local video stores as well as live and pay-per-view television.
For film fans on a budget, enjoying more movie viewing per dollar justifies a quick look at some of the options.
Hands down, enjoying movies on live television, whether cable, broadcast, or satellite TV, is the most economical option. The selection viewers have to choose from is significantly limited by the programming schedule but there is no cost beyond the typical monthly fee for any premium packages. Another cost free method of enjoying movies is as simple as a visit to the local library. Public libraries loan out not only books and CDs but movies on VHS and DVD as well. Although the selection is somewhat limited, the price is right.
Coming in second, online movie rental has the potential to provide more movie entertainment for the dollar than other paid services. As an example, Netflix offers numerous plans but their most popular plan allows users to have up to 3 movies out at a given time for $17.99 per month. If a typical user views only 6 movies in a given month this would average out to $2.99 per movie. The price per movie could potentially be less for those who view more movies throughout the month; for instance the price per movie would drop to $1.99 if 9 movies were watched throughout the month. Making the value of online movie rental services even greater is the huge selection offered; in the case of Netflix, users can select from over 75,000 titles.
Movie download services and renting at the local video store are probably equivalent in pricing. Movielink rental pricing for instance starts at $1.99 and goes upward to $4.99 while many video stores have rentals from $2 to $5. The selection of movies is currently somewhat greater at local video stores; perhaps 10,000 to 15,000 titles to choose from versus fewer than 10,000 with most legal movie download services. However, the future may hold a different picture as online movie download services are providing larger libraries over time as they acquire more films.
A bit more expensive are the pay-per-view movies made available by most cable and satellite TV providers. With costs averaging around $3.99 to $4.99 their pricing is reasonable but can become significantly more costly than other services if more than one or two movies are viewed over the course of a month. In addition, the pay-per-view offerings are often restricted to one or two dozen movies at any given time based on the programming schedule for a given month.
Luckily whether considering movie downloads, online movie rental services, use of the local video store, or pay-per-view, movie fans are able to enjoy the services risk free. Movie download services, video stores, and pay-per-view are charged on a per movie basis with no ongoing commitment to purchase more movies. Likewise, although online movie rental programs charge a monthly fee, services such as Netflix require no commitment to continue the program and no cancellation fees to discontinue.
From live television and pay-per-view to movie downloads, online movie rental, and video stores, movie lovers should be able to discover a movie service that offers the films they love at a price they can afford. Which option best meets their budget will depend on the number of films they tend to view per month and how wide of a selection they need to find the entertainment they want.