Best futureproofed method for purchasing/watching new movies? Amazon? iTunes? Blu-Ray + UltraViolet? ...rent?
I returned home from work and decided the perfect way to relax was to sit back and watch the last two Batman movies again starting with Batman Begins. Before opening up Netflix and Amazon Prime I'd mentally braced myself for inevitability that would be paying a sum of money to watch my movie of choice. After quickly confirming, I weighed my pay options:
- $1.99 to rent the HD movie from Amazon for 48 hours ($3.99 for iTunes)
- $9.99 to purchase from Amazon or iTunes in HD
- $9.99 to purchase the Blu-ray from Amazon which will arrive in a day or two with Prime. Also thrown in is the immediate ability to watch the SD rental for free.
- $2 extra to have Wal-Mart make this video available on Vudu/UltraViolet.
Amazon also has the following disclaimer which is a little worrying:
e. Availability of Purchased Digital Content. Purchased Digital Content will generally continue to be available to you for download or streaming from the Service, as applicable, but may become unavailable due to potential content provider licensing restrictions and for other reasons, and Amazon will not be liable to you if Purchased Digital Content becomes unavailable for further download or streaming. You may download and store your own copy of Purchased Digital Content on a Compatible Device authorized for such download so that you can view that Purchased Digital Content if it becomes unavailable for further download or streaming from the Service.
After the equal parts funny and paradoxically unfortunate removal of 1984 from Kindles it gives me pause hovering over that "1-Click 9.99" button if I'm counting on streaming to always be available to me. iTunes has the Apple lock in which is, again, somewhat irrelevant if the movie is downloaded to local storage but you likely won't be streaming this on a Nexus 7. Renting is a perfectly viable option if I don't think I'll care to watch this movie more than 5 times for the remainder of my life (which very well may be true). Additionally frustrating, if operating under the "follow the deals" guise, I could quickly and undesirably grow a collection that's split between iTunes, Amazon and Vudu.
And then there's the Blu-ray. I am not a fan of physical media. I don't own a single device capable of playing this disc and yet I find this intriguing. This option is compelling given I can convert it to Vudu and have it available to me online. For $11.99, I end up with a Blu-ray, an always accessible streaming copy and an immediately streaming SD "rental" of the film now.
This sounds fantastic but who really knows anything about UltraViolet? Who wants to trust an aspect of their digitization to Wal-Mart and have to be stuck on the phone with their customer service reps should something go awry? If a movie has been converted Vudu, can the physical copy be sold? Is my movie even eligible for this service?
I've spent more time reading about my options than I would have simply paying the $1.99 and enjoying my movie. As much as I'd like to say I fully embrace the cloud and abandonment of physical media, it's tough for me to look at these options and think that I'd be making the best choice dropping $9.99 for a purely digital copy from iTunes or Amazon. That said, best is relative. What's "best" to you? Are you willing to fragment your own cloud based video collection?
As for me, I'm off to read a book.