Break Out the Popcorn: The Best Movie Rentals for Your Money

Break Out the Popcorn: The Best Movie Rentals for Your Money

The good news: You’ve got a free evening to spend however you wish.

The bad news: You are too tired to dress up and go out.

Solution: Movie night!

Even those of us who refuse to pay for cable (and here’s why) can’t bring ourselves to give up on big screen. Nothing can quite replace the experience of curling up with a glass of wine and a good flick.

We’ve said before that your home is your castle (and told you the best places to get artwork for cheap). So we must address the in-home entertainment: We would like to get our Natalie Portman in a tutu without overpaying.

There is a veritable smorgasbord of movie rental services out there—from streaming on your Wii to old-fashion DVDs. But how do you know which is best? (Hint, depending on what you like to watch, it's not necessarily Netflix.)

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Since every person’s movie-watching habits are different, we researched the most well-known movie rental services and broke it down for you, so you can choose the best movie rental for your money and your tastes.

Service Ease Of Use Devices Movie Selection Cost Best For…

Through cable providers like Comcast

Video On Demand
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Super easy

TVs

A combination of early new releases, and bad B movies

OK*
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Some rentals free, others about $5 per rental
The occasional and/or lazy renter

Rental by mail and streaming

Netflix
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As long as you can stream or mailing isn't a hassle

Very easy
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Everything you can think of

Will fulfill all your obscure movie needs, but you'll have to wait for new releases.

Good
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$4.99-$27.99 per month

The discerning and enthusiastic film fan

Kiosks located in supermarkets etc. for 24-hour rental

Redbox
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The only option that requires driving

Somewhat easy
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DVD players

Mostly current movies, new releases are delayed; forget about oldies

OK
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$1 per rental, plus $1 for every late day

The occasional renter who doesn't mind driving

Streaming

Hulu
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Easy

Macs, PCs, Smart Phones, Blu-ray Players, Tablets, Set-top Boxes, Gaming Devices

Computers, TVs, etc.
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Visit for the TV shows, not the movies

Very limited
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$7.99 per month to watch more shows on devices besides computer

Free for limited service
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TV show aficionados

Streaming

iTunes
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Very Easy

Macs, PCs, Apple devices

New releases are out early, and oldies available too

Good
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$2.99-$3.99 per rental

Apple fans and the occasional renter

Streaming

Amazon Instant Video
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Easy

Macs, PCs, Set Top Boxes, Google TVs, Xbox360s, Blu-ray Players, TVs

Computers, etc.
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New releases are out early, and oldies available too

Good
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$79 per year or $2.99 – $3.99 per rental without subscription

The Amazon super user

Brand new, streaming

Crackle
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Easy

Smart Phones, Tablets, Google TVs, Set Top Boxes, Blu-ray Players, PS3s

Computers, TVs, etc.
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Rotating selection of 200 movies chosen by editors with a focus on B movies and classics

Curated
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Free (Has ads)

Someone with a tight budget and an open mind

Store, kiosks, streaming and by mail

Blockbuster
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Somewhat Easy

Smart Phones, Blu-ray and other DVD Players, Gaming Consoles, Set Top Boxes

Computers, TVs, etc.
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You'll have to wait for new releases, but the classics are there

Good
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$11.99- $19.99 per month

Especially after their recent bankruptcy and rash of store closures

Unless you live near a Blockbuster store, there are better choices out there
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*To assess a service's selection, we read reviews and looked for three movies: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the new documentary Inside Job, and Gone with the Wind.

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