CinemaNow Review: Online Video & DVD Rentals
|Great selection of instant streaming movies, but no TV show rentals|
CinemaNow is BestBuy's answer to online video shopping. While the main purpose of the site is to sell movies and TV shows, CinemaNow also offers a great variety of videos for rent, including some of the most recent releases.
Like several other streaming sites, CinemaNow has pay-per-video pricing. The pricing structure is very similar to those of Blockbuster, iTunes and Amazon. In fact, most of the movies we checked against the other sites were the exact same price, ranging from $12-$18 to buy or $1.99-$4.99 to rent, depending on whether you choose Standard Definition or HD.
CinemaNow doesn't provide TV shows to rent, but you can purchase some of the most recent episodes for $1.99 an episode. You can also purchase entire seasons for a discounted price.
On the plus side, CinemaNow has a great selection of movies to choose from. You can rent and buy both SD and HD versions of most of the movies they offer. Their selection includes everything from recent releases like the Hunger Games to older movies like Arsenic and Old Lace.
The downside is that you can't rent TV shows from CinemaNow, although you do have the option of buying them. That can get expensive for any viewers who are just hoping to catch up on their favorite shows. However, if you do want to own episodes from your favorite TV shows, CinemaNow has a great selection of the most recent shows, including Breaking Bad and Modern Family. Sadly, though, they don't have many of the older shows, like The Cosby Show, Golden Girls or the A-Team.
Another downside of CinemaNow is that they don't offer a "Play Trailer" button like most of the other streaming services, which is a nice option to have if you are browsing movies to find one to watch.
There were no video quality issues with CinemaNow that we saw. The standard quality is great but you have the option of streaming in HD, which is obviously a higher quality, and is crystal clear.
Like Amazon and Blockbuster, CinemaNow gives you the option of either streaming or downloading the video. The only issue is that downloads are not available on every device, so make sure you are buying the video from whichever device you want to view it on.
CinemaNow has a slew of viewing options, although they are mostly devices you either bought because they have CinemaNow or that you own coincidentally. Many of the most up-to-date HDTVs and Blu-ray players have access to a CinemaNow app, as well as Playstation and Xbox gaming consoles.
You can of course also stream the movies right from your computer by going directly to the CinemaNow site.
CinemaNow offers several different ways that you can ask for help. If you click on the "Help" link at the top of the site, it will take you to the help page, which lists all of the different methods of help. There is a list of FAQs, but if you have a more specific question, the easiest way to get help is with the chat function. Our customer service agent was extremely helpful, although he asked for a lot of information upfront and was very short with his answers.
If you don't want to use the chat option, you can also call CinemaNow's toll free number. Both the chat and the phone number are available from 6 a.m. until midnight PST. If you have a question during off-hours, you can also email CinemaNow's customer service with your question.
If you are looking to buy the most recent releases in movies and TV, CinemaNow is a great option. Although it does offer a great selection of movie rentals, its rental selection can't stand up to sites like Amazon and iTunes, especially when it comes to TV shows. However, if CinemaNow is already loaded on your TV or Blu-ray device, it might be a good option to take advantage of.
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Here is NextAdvisor's review of CinemaNow: http://www.nextadvisor.com/online_dvd_rental_services/cinemanow_review.php