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Thinking about going digital—which service?

Old 01-22-16, 04:19 PM
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Thinking about going digital—which service?

I’m thinking about jumping into the digital pool and wanted to see what service I should use to purchase my movies. It seems the most popular ones, at least in North America, are Amazon Video, Vudu, and iTunes. I want whatever can give me the best PQ, which, according to what posters have said on other forums, Vudu falls short on. I’ve kept my eye on iTunes for the last couple years and it seems they’re always on top with their PQ. Amazon, on the other hand, I’ve read is not quite on par with iTunes, although I couldn’t really tell the difference when I looked at a couple comparisons images. I would prefer to use a service where I can download the movie so I’m not streaming stuff every time I want to watch one, but this isn’t a deal breaker.
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Old 01-22-16, 05:27 PM
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Re: Thinking about going digital—which service?

Download or streaming? For streaming, go with Vudu. For my money, they provide the best PQ, unless you're in the 4k realm already, in which case I can't comment, as I still live in a 1080p world.
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Old 01-22-16, 07:37 PM
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Re: Thinking about going digital—which service?

What devices do you have?

Amazon/iTunes are always great.

iTunes cards are always in sale if you look hard enough. So you can save there.
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Old 01-22-16, 09:13 PM
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Re: Thinking about going digital—which service?

Originally Posted by Shannon Nutt View Post
Download or streaming? For streaming, go with Vudu. For my money, they provide the best PQ, unless you're in the 4k realm already, in which case I can't comment, as I still live in a 1080p world.
I'm leaning towards downloading, but that's just because I don't want to be constantly streaming stuff every time I want to watch a movie. Then again, seeing as how I don't re-watch movies that often, maybe Vudu wouldn't be that much of a problem? With Vudu, I am a little iffy on the PQ, as I've heard comments from both camps. I'm also concerned about the longevity of Vudu and whether I'll be able to watch the movies I purchased on it years from now.

Originally Posted by Raul3 View Post
What devices do you have?

Amazon/iTunes are always great.

iTunes cards are always in sale if you look hard enough. So you can save there.
I have a iPhone and iMac, so I'm already familiar with iTunes and I currently pay for Amazon Prime. As for what's connected to my TVs, I have a PS3 and PS4 hooked up to my 46" plasma in my basement, which is where I do 99% of my TV watching. I am aware my PS3 and PS4 are not Apple devices and won't play nice with iTunes, but I also know how to get around that.
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Old 01-22-16, 10:29 PM
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Re: Thinking about going digital—which service?

For me, Vudu HDX easily has the best PQ of the big 3, though iTunes and Vudu tend to be reasonably close, Amazon is usually a distant 3rd.
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Old 01-23-16, 12:45 AM
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Re: Thinking about going digital—which service?

There's a couple reasons to like iTunes. It's easier to download the movies. They have better special features. It's great if you're invested in the Apple ecosystem. And the iTunes cards are often available for 20% off.

But I think the benefits of Vudu/UV outweighs that. Most movies at Vudu are UV-compatible. It's easy to share your UV collection with friends/family. You can buy movies using Disc-to-Digital for $1-$2 each. More movies come with UV codes than iTunes codes. Walmart gives out a lot of $5-$10 Vudu credits. And most importantly, Vudu is available on almost every device.
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Old 01-23-16, 11:11 AM
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Re: Thinking about going digital—which service?

The family sharing on Vudu is fantastic, as is the fact they offer Dolby Digital Plus. Not to mention the 4K / ATMOS versions of their movies are extremely nice (but way overpriced.)

Last edited by RichC2; 01-23-16 at 11:20 AM.
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Old 01-23-16, 11:27 AM
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Re: Thinking about going digital—which service?

Are you favoring downloading just because you're wary of buffering and things like that? I don't think you should discount the convenience of streaming, and the fact that you're going to be watching mostly from home would seem to give streaming a boost. My PS3 does a great job of streaming even though it's not on the same floor as my router, better than my 360 or Xbox 1.

If you already have Prime, I would suggest streaming some free movies from that and seeing how you like the experience.

I myself don't purchase from iTunes unless I specifically want to watch something on my phone. I don't like the download-only experience and don't have an apple device connected to my TV, though I'm sure there are ways to engage my phone.

One other possibility: Sometimes I purchase content on my X-consoles so you might look into the equivalent for PlayStation.
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Old 01-23-16, 11:38 AM
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Re: Thinking about going digital—which service?

Originally Posted by davidh777 View Post
I myself don't purchase from iTunes unless I specifically want to watch something on my phone. I don't like the download-only experience and don't have an apple device connected to my TV, though I'm sure there are ways to engage my phone.
If you get an AppleTV, you can stream iTunes movies/shows. You don't have to download it. But I think that's the only device that allows iTunes streaming. I wish it worked on iPads.
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Old 01-23-16, 12:47 PM
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Re: Thinking about going digital—which service?

Originally Posted by TheBigDave View Post
If you get an AppleTV, you can stream iTunes movies/shows. You don't have to download it. But I think that's the only device that allows iTunes streaming. I wish it worked on iPads.
Yeah, that's the thing. I already have three stream-capable gaming consoles plus an unused Fire TV, so I have no desire to add Apple TV for content I can generally get elsewhere.
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Old 01-23-16, 01:49 PM
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Re: Thinking about going digital—which service?

Originally Posted by davidh777 View Post
Are you favoring downloading just because you're wary of buffering and things like that? I don't think you should discount the convenience of streaming, and the fact that you're going to be watching mostly from home would seem to give streaming a boost. My PS3 does a great job of streaming even though it's not on the same floor as my router, better than my 360 or Xbox 1.
I'm not really worried about buffering, as I stream a lot from Netflix and Hulu with no issues. Regarding Vudu, I'm more concerned with the longevity of the service. If I purchase a title today, will I still be able to watch that title X years from now? It's not titles from major studios I'm worried about; it's the stuff coming from smaller labels like Shout or Criterion. If they loose the rights to something, would it all of the sudden be gone from my Vudu account or would it just not be available for purchase? With a download, as long as that file is on my computer, I can still play it, even if it has been pulled from iTunes (I've had this experience with a couple apps).

The D2D Vudu offers is appealing and a big plus for them. On the other hand, they don't seem to have much of an anime selection and, when I was comparing titles with iTunes, I noticed sometimes iTunes would have the HD copy of something where Vudu only offered a SD copy.
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Old 01-23-16, 07:09 PM
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Re: Thinking about going digital—which service?

Originally Posted by big e View Post
I'm not really worried about buffering, as I stream a lot from Netflix and Hulu with no issues. Regarding Vudu, I'm more concerned with the longevity of the service. If I purchase a title today, will I still be able to watch that title X years from now? It's not titles from major studios I'm worried about; it's the stuff coming from smaller labels like Shout or Criterion. If they loose the rights to something, would it all of the sudden be gone from my Vudu account or would it just not be available for purchase? With a download, as long as that file is on my computer, I can still play it, even if it has been pulled from iTunes (I've had this experience with a couple apps).

The D2D Vudu offers is appealing and a big plus for them. On the other hand, they don't seem to have much of an anime selection and, when I was comparing titles with iTunes, I noticed sometimes iTunes would have the HD copy of something where Vudu only offered a SD copy.
Just download copies locally in Vudu To Go as well Plus, unlike Amazon and iTunes, Vudu is part of Ultraviolet which is nice bonus.

(Primarily though, I just don't like having to use an Apple product to stream my movies.)

Last edited by RichC2; 01-23-16 at 07:19 PM.
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Old 01-23-16, 10:37 PM
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Re: Thinking about going digital—which service?

Originally Posted by big e View Post
I'm not really worried about buffering, as I stream a lot from Netflix and Hulu with no issues. Regarding Vudu, I'm more concerned with the longevity of the service. If I purchase a title today, will I still be able to watch that title X years from now? It's not titles from major studios I'm worried about; it's the stuff coming from smaller labels like Shout or Criterion. If they loose the rights to something, would it all of the sudden be gone from my Vudu account or would it just not be available for purchase? With a download, as long as that file is on my computer, I can still play it, even if it has been pulled from iTunes (I've had this experience with a couple apps).

The D2D Vudu offers is appealing and a big plus for them. On the other hand, they don't seem to have much of an anime selection and, when I was comparing titles with iTunes, I noticed sometimes iTunes would have the HD copy of something where Vudu only offered a SD copy.
If you purchase a title, it will always be available in your Vudu library. Even if they remove the title from Vudu, it will still be in your library and you can still watch it. I can confirm this, because I own a few titles that Vudu has removed for one reason or another. And I can still watch them.

You won't find much of an anime selection anywhere. I think Vudu probably has as much, if not more than iTunes and Amazon. If you want anime, you need to subscribe to Crunchyroll, Funimation or Anime Network.

When you compare titles, you'll see that each service has some titles that aren't available at the others. And sometimes they're HD at one service and SD at the other. I use all 3 services, and I think Vudu has the largest catalog. But I could be wrong.

I have around 85% of my collection at Vudu, and the other 15% is split between iTunes and Amazon. Sometimes a movie isn't available at Vudu. Or there's an awesome sale at Amazon. Or the iTunes extras are worth the trouble. I understand the desire to have your entire collection in one place. But none of the streaming places are perfect.

Last edited by TheBigDave; 01-23-16 at 10:45 PM.
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Old 01-23-16, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Raul3 View Post
What devices do you have?

Amazon/iTunes are always great.

iTunes cards are always in sale if you look hard enough. So you can save there.
The problem with iTunes is trying to watch anything except a PC, Mac, or Apple TV because of their vice-like DRM death grip. Vudu lets you purchase and own titles outright, so it's different from the other streaming services. Netflix and Hulu have you pay per month and you get a selection of titles, subject to change. Amazon has a streaming service, but also lets you rent and buy like Vudu. Amazon and Vudu will let you download your purchases if you want to.
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Old 01-23-16, 11:06 PM
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Re: Thinking about going digital—which service?

One more thing to take into account. And this is very important if you have a large collection. Is the ability to sort through your library.

Amazon is the worst. They only divide your library into Movies and TV. And the movies are listed in the order they were purchased. If you've got 1,000 movies in your collection, good luck trying to find a particular title. Their best feature is the Watchlist. You could list your favorite movies there and make them easier to find.

If you use iTunes, you'll need an AppleTV. The ATV has 3 options. You can list all movies A-Z, the 10 most recently purchased movies, or browse by Genre. So again, if you're got 1,000 movies, it's not that easy to find what you want.

Vudu is the best. You can sort your library by Purchase Time, Release Date, A-Z, Tomatometer, Top Picks, and Most Watched. You can narrow it down by Genre, Decade, MPAA Rating and Tomatometer Rating. So if I want an 1980's PG Comedy movie with positive reviews, it's easy to find. Unfortunately, they don't have a Watchlist or Favorites list. I wish you could make your own groups. It's impossible to find all the Christmas movies in a large collection.

Last edited by TheBigDave; 01-23-16 at 11:14 PM.
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Old 01-24-16, 03:28 PM
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Re: Thinking about going digital—which service?

Originally Posted by TheBigDave View Post
If you purchase a title, it will always be available in your Vudu library. Even if they remove the title from Vudu, it will still be in your library and you can still watch it. I can confirm this, because I own a few titles that Vudu has removed for one reason or another. And I can still watch them.
That's good to hear. I don't hear about stuff like this happening anymore, but it was still in the back of my mind. If my purchases stay in my account, even if the title gets pulled, then I really have no need to download the titles.

I've done a few more comparisons between iTunes and Vudu (at this point, Amazon is out). I'm still leaning slightly towards iTunes as it seems to have a slightly better selection for what I want (catalog horror and sci-fi, anime) and more offerings in HD, although both had roughly 95% of what I searched for. Prices seem about the same. Vudu looks to be cheaper, but just by $1-2 in most cases.

My initial idea for this was, and why I involved iTunes in the first place, I would download the title, "deal with" the DRM, then stream the movie to my Playstation via Plex. I think I may have over-complicated this. If I go with Vudu, I download the Playstation app and that's that. I also wouldn't be using this (yet) as a replacement for BD purchases. I would mostly be buying titles that either didn't have a physical release or didn't have a North American BD release.

One other concern I have about Vudu is about the aspect ratios of their movies. I've heard talk that some of their movies are in the wrong aspect ratio, which I would have a problem with. Is this true?
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Old 01-24-16, 07:35 PM
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Re: Thinking about going digital—which service?

Originally Posted by big e View Post
One other concern I have about Vudu is about the aspect ratios of their movies. I've heard talk that some of their movies are in the wrong aspect ratio, which I would have a problem with. Is this true?
Vudu users are keeping a list of movies with incorrect aspect ratios. You can find it here:

https://forum.vudu.com/showthread.ph...io-quot-Thread

The two biggest offenders seem to be Warner Bros and Fox. The WB titles are often available at other services in their correct aspect ratio. But the Fox titles are frequently screwed up everywhere. The studios use the HBOHD-version, with the movies cropped from 2.35:1 to 1.85:1.

Vudu offers a free 2-minute preview. It plays the first two minutes of the movie. So you can check out the transfer and see if there's a problem. I always do this before buying a catalog title. You can't do that at Amazon or iTunes.

But this isn't a problem that's limited to Vudu. Other services have problems with incorrect aspect ratios and bad transfers, and other stupid stuff. These streaming services just use what the studio sends them. If there's a problem, they'll contact the studio and request a fixed version. Unfortunately, it's not a high priority for the studios. Some stuff gets fixed, but it doesn't happen often.
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Old 01-24-16, 09:38 PM
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Re: Thinking about going digital—which service?

Originally Posted by TheBigDave View Post
You won't find much of an anime selection anywhere.
Actually, Hulu's is pretty good, and they frequently offer dubs and subtitles.

If you want anime, you need to subscribe to Crunchyroll, Funimation or Anime Network.
It's 2016, I just wish that FUNimation would add fucking Chromecast support already!!

[QUOTE=TheBigDave;12705405]Vudu users are keeping a list of movies with incorrect aspect ratios. You can find it here:

https://forum.vudu.com/showthread.ph...io-quot-Thread

The two biggest offenders seem to be Warner Bros and Fox. The WB titles are often available at other services in their correct aspect ratio. But the Fox titles are frequently screwed up everywhere. The studios use the HBOHD-version, with the movies cropped from 2.35:1 to 1.85:1.[/quote

Yeah, and some other streaming service-Flixster, MGO, CinemaNow offer them in the right ratio . But if you have a Vudu movie in the wrong ratio, you're pretty much SOL. It's hardly something they're interested in fixing.

Vudu offers a free 2-minute preview. It plays the first two minutes of the movie. So you can check out the transfer and see if there's a problem. I always do this before buying a catalog title. You can't do that at Amazon or iTunes.
Beware: many titles run their opening credits in the proper aspect ratio before switching.

But this isn't a problem that's limited to Vudu. Other services have problems with incorrect aspect ratios and bad transfers, and other stupid stuff. These streaming services just use what the studio sends them. If there's a problem, they'll contact the studio and request a fixed version. Unfortunately, it's not a high priority for the studios. Some stuff gets fixed, but it doesn't happen often.
This isn't a chronic problem with streaming, but it is much too frequent, and hardly one that's likely to be fixed.

Originally Posted by TheBigDave View Post
One more thing to take into account. And this is very important if you have a large collection. Is the ability to sort through your library.

Amazon is the worst. They only divide your library into Movies and TV. And the movies are listed in the order they were purchased. If you've got 1,000 movies in your collection, good luck trying to find a particular title. Their best feature is the Watchlist. You could list your favorite movies there and make them easier to find.
Amazon don't seem to have standardized their setup either. Vudu, Netflix, and Hulu all look the same on my Smart TV/PC/ and BD player. Amazon's setup on all three is distinctly different, and my BD player's is the worst, with no autoplay, no indicator of the resolution, and blocky setup that take forever to load.

It's also worth noting that Ultraviolet works with Vudu, MGO, Flixster, CinemaNow, and possible others, but Amazon stubbornly refuse to collaborate with them, and when you get UV codes with your Blu-rays, that's particularly annoying.
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Old 01-24-16, 10:17 PM
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Re: Thinking about going digital—which service?

Netflix and Amazon usually have a token anime selection in their monthly streaming packages.

True anime fans would go with Crunchyroll first, followed by Funimation and the other anime platforms.
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Old 01-25-16, 08:46 AM
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Re: Thinking about going digital—which service?

Originally Posted by TheBigDave View Post
Vudu users are keeping a list of movies with incorrect aspect ratios. You can find it here:

[url]https://forum.vudu.com/showthread.php?913191-The-quot-Incorrect-

But this isn't a problem that's limited to Vudu. Other services have problems with incorrect aspect ratios and bad transfers, and other stupid stuff. These streaming services just use what the studio sends them. If there's a problem, they'll contact the studio and request a fixed version. Unfortunately, it's not a high priority for the studios. Some stuff gets fixed, but it doesn't happen often.
Aw hell, I thought this incorrect aspect ratio BS would be a non-issue once widescreen TVs became the norm. To the best of anyone's knowledge, are the titles listed in that link the only ones that have aspect ratio issues? I tried searching for this issue with iTunes releases and only came up with a few threads that were several years old. Anyone know if this is a issue with iTunes?

Originally Posted by hanshotfirst1138 View Post
Yeah, and some other streaming service-Flixster, MGO, CinemaNow offer them in the right ratio . But if you have a Vudu movie in the wrong ratio, you're pretty much SOL. It's hardly something they're interested in fixing.
I just saw something about MGO yesterday. What is it?
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Old 01-25-16, 08:49 AM
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Re: Thinking about going digital—which service?

Just another streaming service. Big negative on that one (at least for me) is that the Disney movies don't port into it, unlike Vudu and the others.
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Old 01-25-16, 01:01 PM
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Re: Thinking about going digital—which service?

Looking over the list TheBigDave provided, it appears the movies with the incorrect aspect ratio I should be worried about are mostly scope films. That shouldn't be a problem for me, personally, as I would prefer to have those types of films on disc.
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Old 01-25-16, 03:40 PM
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Re: Thinking about going digital—which service?

I never heard of MGO before until this thread. I just notice it on the Samsung Smart Hub on my tv.

As for Vu-du I am tired off all the blu-ray disc that their Disc-to-Digital program. I usually get these errors.

1. There was a problem while verifying this disc
2. Disc to digital app has a problem recognizing the Blu-ray and asks you to manually type in the title. Then you get the we are in the process of manually verifying your disc msg. Of course nothing happens after that. No way to fix this problem & Walmart does not seem to care about these titles not being able to be converted.
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Old 01-25-16, 06:06 PM
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Re: Thinking about going digital—which service?

The only time I get those errors are with Paramount and 20th Century Fox movies. And most boutique labels like Twilight Time and Shout. But at $1 a pop (I usually do 10 or more each time), I'm happy with what I've been able to port to digital so far.
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Old 02-02-16, 11:23 AM
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Re: Thinking about going digital—which service?

I've thought this over and I think, at least for now, I'm going with iTunes. Vudu did have a couple appealing pros, but I also read a lot about people having issues with it, mainly quality and streaming related. So far, the only thing I bought off iTunes was the first season of the 90s Spider-man cartoon. I spot-checked a couple episodes and, I have to say, the PQ looks pretty good. It's only SD, so it doesn't look "great" but it looks leaps and bounds better than the "other" copy I have. Thanks for all the input everyone.
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