Best options for buying digital movies rather than Netflix
Netflix is great but their catalogue of films shifts around all of the time. This means that the only movies that you can guarantee to be on Netflix are the ones that they have made themselves. So what are the alternatives?
There are more options out there than you would first think. Here are just a few choices.
Apple has always believed in the dream of digital movies and music for a fair while before anyone else and its iTunes movie library must be one of the best stocked around. There is a huge choice from the latest blockbusters to the old classics.
The big downside however, is the copyright protection that Apple builds into iTunes movies, means that currently you can only watch your choice on Apple hardware or iTunes on a Windows machine, meaning you can't store them up to watch on an Android tablet or stick.
Their prices do fluctuate all of the time but as a guide you can pick up the latest Marvel superhero movie Dr Strange for ?13.99 in HD, or classic dino action blockbuster Jurassic Park for ?7.99 n HD.
Their store is easy and simple to use and comprehensive and as expected from Apple you can usually rely on movies being played back without any glitches or issues. The only thing to think about is where you can play these movies.
Google Play Movies
The easiest way to reference this to Apple's iTunes is to say that their movie service is very Apple-y and only available on Apple hardware and Google Play Movies and TV is very Google-y, so it's based on the web and can be streamed to pretty much any device you like. There is also no need to store files locally at all.
This is the real benefit meaning that you can use plenty of smart TV's, iOS, Android plus most of the streaming sticks and boxes in addition to any computer with a web browser. Although the web interface is a bit on the basic side, it still does everything that you need it to.
As examples you can buy Dr Strange for ?13.99 in HD (same price as the Apple) and Jurassic Pak for ?9.99 in HD (?2 more expensive). Google claim that HD can be watched across most devices.
The main advantage of using Google is being able to get your content from just about anywhere with the performance as you would expect being rock-solid and glitch-free.
Amazon's offering in this space is always the easiest to understand, but you can buy movies digitally through Amazon Video whether or not you subscribe to Amazon's Netflix rival, Amazon Instant Video - which is usually called Amazon Prime.
It's a benefit that it works a lot like Google's movies and TV service. The web interface is the best starting point and then you have the benefit of accompanying apps for mobile devices, streaming sticks, games consoles and more. Amazon offer a good variety and selection from the latest blockbusters to the all-time classics.
Prices are just as comparable, Dr Strange for ?13.99 and Jurassic Park for ?7.99. Amazon are now well renowned for their expertise in web storage and servers, meaning you shouldn't often have a problem with getting your movies delivered to your choice of device.
App interfaces aren't as quite as clean and intuitive as the ones available from Apple and Google but their movie selection, service and stability is pretty much on par with their biggest rivals.
Sky Movies and Virgin Movies
You can access the Sky Store whether you have a Sky box at home or a subscription to Sky and buy movies and keep them forever in digital format. You can watch them on your box or online as a subscriber of Sky or just on the web if you are not. Apps are now available for iOS, Roku and Now TV.
One downfall is that full (1080i) is only available if you have a Sky box and currently you can't buy 4K movies from Sky. However, you can subscribe to the Sky Cinema package in Sky Q and then record and also play back films in the highest 4K (or ultra HD) resolution but this option has yet made it to the Sky store or any of the apps available.
Sky Store will eventually roll out 4K and the other services mentioned earlier but in the meantime you can buy Dr Strange for ?13.99 in HD which includes a DVD copy and Jurassic Park for ?7.99 in HD (cheaper than Google and the same price as Apple). Sky Store is a good option but it doesn't quite have the breadth that Apple and Google can offer and the apps aren't as robust.