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iTunes provides convenient access to movie rentals. This article explains how to rent iTunes movies for 99 cents or less.
Remember when renting a movie required going to the neighborhood video store? Remember video stores? The times have changed, and your local video store probably doesn’t even exist anymore. It was destined to happen. After all, videos are just digital data. The notion of burning data onto optical discs and putting them on shelves in a store is almost obsolete. People still rent DVDs from Netflix. I have a neighbor who buys DVDs at Amoeba Records in San Francisco.
For most people, it simply isn’t cost-effective or time efficient to rent or buy DVDs. Consumers have turned to digital options, be it a subscription service like Netflix or an a la carte virtual video store, such as the iTunes Store.
The problem with the iTunes Store is that it’s expensive. Renting a typical movie costs $5.99, which seems as expensive as Blockbuster, assuming you were renting a Blu-Ray. This price is unreasonable, as Apple doesn’t have the costs associated with running a brick & mortar operation. It’s not just Apple. All online video rentals tend to be expensive. The savings haven’t been passed on to the consumer. Fortunately, iTunes offers a loss-leader — the Movie of the Week.
iTunes Movie of the Week
The iTunes Movie of the Week is a loss leader. It’s a low-priced item designed to get people into the store, hoping they will buy more. It works. I regularly launch the Movies app on my Apple TV specifically to check out the Movie of the Week. They actually offer some great movies.
I only rent movies that have a 70% or greater Rotten Tomatoes score, with few exceptions. In fact, I rarely watch a movie on Netflix or HBO NOW if it is below 70%, because life’s too short to watch bad movies. Most of the movies featured as a Movie of the Week are critically acclaimed. Some of the 99 cent movies I have rented include Whisky Tango Foxtrot, The Witch, Eye in the Sky and 10 Cloverfield Lane. Apple isn’t sticking you with Pluto Nash, Ishtar or Gigli for 99 cents.
You can check the iTunes Movie of the Week by launching the iTunes Store on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac or Windows computer. Go to the Movies screen and scroll down until you see the Movie of the Week. If you are using an Apple TV, launch the Movies app and scroll down on the Top Movies screen, which is usually the default screen.
The Movie of the Week is updated every Monday night, at around 9PM PST. You may want to create a calendar event or reminder so you don’t miss out.
Check Netflix and Other Subscriptions First
Before you spend 99 cents on the Movie of the Week, make sure to check your subscription services first. They may offer the movie, and if so, there’s no sense in renting it. I do find that, for most movies, iTunes offers better video quality. Netflix and others resort to some aggressive compression algorithms to effectively stream content. iTunes usually offers a higher frame rate and seems to have fewer visual artifacts. That said, I will generally just watch the movie on Netflix or HBO NOW if it is available, and save my 99 cents for something else.
Movies You May Have Missed
The iTunes Store recently added a new movie category with discounted rentals. The “Movies You May Have Missed” section offers numerous 99 cent rentals. Although they typically aren’t as fresh as the Movie of the Week, there are some compelling options. The Featured Movies subcategory offers about 30 movies to rent for only 99 cents. “Movies You May Have Missed” also offers subcategories such as documentaries, stand-up comedy and movies created by a featured director or staring a featured actor.
Make sure to check Netflix and any other service you subscribe to before renting from the “Movies You May Have Missed” section. There’s a lot of overlap between this section and Netflix, particularly with documentaries. There is also overlap with featured movies. I almost rented the Ip Man movies, but they’re all on Netflix. (continue…)