Online Video & DVD Rentals
Over the past five years, watching videos in the comfort of your home has gotten easier and easier. First, there were DVD rental services that delivered movies and TV shows right to your doorstep. Then, there was the ability to download movies to your computer straight from the web. Now, there is streaming video, which allows you to watch videos instantly on your computer, TV or mobile device. With DVD rentals, downloads and streaming video becoming the gold standard of video viewing, there are a slew of providers to choose from. So which is the best? We looked at each of the top services, rating them based on pricing, selection, video quality, viewing options and customer service. Check out our reviews below to find out which one fits your needs best.
Online Video & DVD Rentals Reviews & RatingsView Full Comparison Chart
NextAdvisor Online Video & DVD Rentals Blog Headlines
Netflix Originals Coming in 2016: What to Expect
The lineup is set and the annual Sundance Film Festival is underway through the end of January. Starting in 2012, it became the largest independent film festival in the nation, and online video service Netflix is looking to potentially get in on the action. The video streaming giant has announced its plans to fund and […]
4K and HDR: What These Mean for Online Video
Netflix recently increased the price of its most popular plan, the Standard plan, by raising the monthly price from $8.99 to $9.99, but that’s not the only change the online video service has made this year. In January, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, it announced its plans to bring 4K resolution […]
Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Hulu Plus: How Do the Big 3 Compare?
With more and more Americans cutting the cord with their cable providers and opting to use an online video service to watch their favorite TV shows and movies, you may wonder which streaming service is the best one out there. To help you decide, we’ve taken a look at the three online video giants — Netflix, […]
5 American Films to Watch this Fourth of July Weekend
Independence Day, also known as the Fourth of July, is a holiday that celebrates America’s freedom from Great Britain and the day our country adopted the Declaration of Independence. While you may be busy celebrating with fireworks, parades, festivals or cookouts, you’ll likely want to take some down time to relax at home sometime this […]
How do streaming video, downloaded videos and DVD rentals work?
For streaming video, each company has a library of videos that are available for streaming. When you select a video to watch, the company compresses the video and sends it over the Internet in a continuous stream of data, so that you can play the video in real time. Streaming video works best with a faster Internet connection, so if your connection is on the slower side, streaming might not be a viable option. Most companies like Netflix and Hulu only offer streaming options, where sites like Amazon and iTunes will let you download the video to your computer.
Downloaded video copies the video file to your computer, where it is housed (unless you are renting the video, in which case it will be deactivated/deleted after a specific time period.) Downloaded video can be viewed any time without an Internet connection, as long as you keep it saved on your computer.
For DVD rentals, the services we recommend all offer plans that allow you to keep a certain number (1,2,3 or more) of DVDs rented at the same time for as long as you want. You choose the DVDs you want to rent from a selection of tens of thousands through the service's website and compile a list, or queue, of the DVDs that you want to watch. They ship you the number of DVDs in your plan through the U.S. Postal Service's First Class Mail and include a prepaid envelope to ship them back. As soon as they receive a DVD back from you, they immediately ship you the next one on your queue.
What's the difference between streaming and downloaded video?
The main difference between steaming and downloaded video is speed. Streaming video basically lets you watch videos instantly, while downloading only allows you to view a video once it's downloaded. (iTunes actually allows you to start watching while the video is downloading.) The upside of downloaded video is that once it is downloaded, it is housed on your computer (unless you are renting it, then it will be deactivated/deleted after a specific time period) and you can watch it any time without an internet connection. The downside of that is that if you download too many videos, it can slow down your computer. Streaming video gives you access to thousands of videos without slowing down your computer, although it works best with a faster Internet connection, so if you have a slow connection, downloading might be a better option.