Compare Video on Demand

  • Rent the latest movie releases and classics
  • Buy digital HD movies to own forever
  • Get season passes to the latest TV shows
  • Rent Movies

  • Buy Movies

  • Rent or Buy TV Shows
    (stream episodes or entire seasons)

  • DVD Rentals

  • Contract Lock-in

  • Devices

  • Hardware requirements

  • Software requirements

  • Availability on Mobile Devices

  • Availability on Consoles

  • Concurrent streaming sessions

  • Closed Captions

  • Pros

  • Cons

  • The iTunes Store has thousands
    of movies and ad free TV shows
    you can buy or rent - including
    blockbusters, indies and classics
  • Rent HD Movies from $4.99
  • Buy Movies from $9.99
  • Rent TV episodes from $3.49
    Buy Seasons - starting from $12.99
  • no
  • no
  • iPhone, iPad and iPod touch
    Open the Videos app and select movies, TV shows or videos

    Mac and PC
    Open iTunes, go to your video library, and select movies,
    TV shows or videos

    Apple TV
    Select Movies or TV Shows from the Home screen
  • Apple TV
  • iTunes
  • Any iOS device
  • no
  • no
  • Closed captioning is available on selected movies and TV Shows
  • Seemlessly available across all iOS devices
  • Pricier than other options
  • A pay-as-you go Movie & TV
    streaming service from Australia's
    top independent cinema chain
  • Rent Movies from $5.89
    All other movies from $3.99
  • Buy Movies from $8.99
  • Rent TV episodes from $2.99
  • yes
  • no
  • Android devices
Android Phones and Tablets with Android 4.3+

    iOS devices
iPhones and iPads with iOS 7+

    All modern browsers
Windows devices with Windows 7+
    Mac devices with OS X 10.7+

    Apple TV

  • no
  • Requires install of the Widevine Video Optimiser plugin, which works on both Google Chrome and Internet Explorer
  • SD & HD content
  • no
  • yes
  • Not available at this time
  • Flows seamlessly from HD to SD on mobile connection making buffering distress a thing of the past. Great quality titles
  • A more limited content selection available compared to competitors; like iTunes, it can get pricey
  • Watch your favourite movies and
    shows instantly on your Android
    phone or tablet, or on any HDTV
    using Chromecast
  • Rent Movies SD $5.99 or HD $6.99
  • Buy movies - SD $19.99
    or HD $24.99
  • Rent TV episodes SD $2.99
    or HD $3.49
    Buy Seasons - starting from $12.99
  • no
  • no
  • Android devices
Android OS version 4.0 and higher that are compatible with Google Play

    iOS devices
iOS 7.0+

    All modern browsers
( Adobe Flash Player 10.0.22+ plug-in; Firefox 1.1+, Internet Explorer 7.0+, Safari 1.0+, Google Chrome, or Opera; Broadband connection with 500+ Kbps; Ubuntu and Linux OS users must install the HAL module.

    HDMI cable
Connect your HDTV to your mobile device or computer using a HDMI cable

  • Android devices: Android OS version 4.0 and higher that are compatible with Google Play; iOS devices: iOS 7.0+, Macs/PCs
  • Google Play
  • SD & HD content
  • No native support, however a great tip is to download the Youtube app - you can then watch your purchased Google Play TV & Movies
  • Use 5 devices with the same account.You can only download movies/shows you've rented to one device at a time. Once you've downloaded a video to a device, you won't be able to stream or download it to another before removing it from the first device.
  • Closed captioning is available on selected movies and TV Shows
  • The digital store is simple to use, there's an app for iOS, works on a wide variety of Android-powered devices, allows offline viewing
  • Relatively new player, more niche content, less suitable for young families

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Video On-Demand Lets You Ditch the Discs

The golden era of the video library is coming to a rapid end as more and more outlets close down, and while a range of factors are to blame for their demise – including the vending-machine kiosks you’ll find at shopping centres and train stations dispensing movie rental discs – the big elephant in the room is on-demand video. Unlike streaming video, the on-demand model isn’t as vulnerable to slow internet speeds, since you can download the entire movie (or TV episode) before you start playback – and that means high quality and none of the dreaded “buffering” that can plague streaming services when a poor internet connection is involved.
From modest beginnings, the on-demand rental and purchase market has mushroomed into a giant that is, for many people, the principal way they watch rented movies – and even occasionally buy them. The advantages are easy to see – no trips to the video library to search out and pick up physical discs, followed by the mandatory return trip the following day to return them. Instead, you choose a title, pay the rental fee and start  downloading. You’re given a nice long period to start watching (so even on the slowest connection, you’re not disadvantaged) and then once you press play, you’ve got a couple of days to finish watching before the title is auto-deleted. It’s user-friendly and idiot-proof, and because you’re dealing with digital files there’s no drama with scratched, unplayable discs to spoil your evening.

iTunes – The Music Maverick Meets the Movies

Apple’s iTunes Store has been the engine room of its portable devices right back to the days of the early iPods, where you could purchase music to load onto your shiny new music player and… that was pretty much all. The iPhone and iPad changed all that, though, as movies and TV shows were added to the store, making its name now a little misleading!

Obviously of the greatest benefit to those with Apple devices, iTunes is still perfectly usable for movie rental and purchase if you don’t own a single thing with the famous logo on it. You can still download the iTunes desktop software for free, set up an account and rent or buy movies and TV shows – you’ll just be restricted to watching them on your computer monitor.

The iTunes Store is accessible, of course, from all of Apple’s devices – iPhones, iPads and Apple TV. You can rent or buy movies – and buy, but not rent, TV series and individual episodes – but there is a small catch to watch out for if you’re renting. While purchased movies and shows can be played on any device signed into the same iTunes account, rented content can only be played on the device it was rented on. So for example, if you rent a movie on your iPhone, you can only play it back on that particular iPhone, not your Apple TV or desktop. If you rent content in iTunes on the desktop, however, you can play it on your Apple TV by using Home Sharing. Confusing, isn’t it? To be safe, just remember to rent on the platform you’ll be watching on.

Rented and purchased content can either be streamed or pre-downloaded for later playback – making life a lot easier for those on slow broadband connections.

Movie rentals usually sit at a $6.99 price point, with regular discounted rentals and a weekly 99c special. In many cases, a movie will be ‘buy only’ for a few weeks after release. Movie purchase costs vary wildly, from $4.99 to $39.99, but $24.99 is about the average. TV series, meanwhile, got for anywhere between $15 and $40 per season. Buying a TV season is a very nice experience, too – you purchase the “season pass”, and then each week when a new episode arrives, you get a notification on your iPhone telling you the next episode is ready to go.

HD is available in both 1080p and 720p, while SD sits at a bandwidth-friendly but blurry 480p (you do usually get a discount for choosing the SD version, though).

A mature platform that’s loaded to the gills with just about every movie and TV series in existence available at the tap of a screen as long as your credit card can handle it, iTunes is a great example of on-demand video done right.

Dendy Direct – The Cinema Goes Digital

Dendy grew out of the legendary arthouse cinema of the same name in Melbourne, and while the company no longer has any cinemas in that city – and is now owned by Mel Gibson’s Icon Film Distribution – they’ve maintained a passion for independent and challenging cinema and TV series, but not shied away from more popular fare either. Dendy Direct is their on-demand movie and TV service which, despite having a lower profile than its competitors, offers a huge range of cinema and TV entertainment to buy and rent at prices that generally fall a little lower than the big players.

The downside to that is the platform support – you have a choice of web browsers on desktop and laptop PCs, or iOS and Android apps, and that’s it. There’s limited AirPlay support on the iOS app, but the good news is that Google Chromecast is supported on both device platforms.

The range of movies and TV shows is very much directed towards an audience that loves to be challenged but at the same time doesn’t mind a bit of House of Cards or Captain America. Movies and TV are available in HD or SD, with the latter being cheaper as usual. And interesting feature is the offering of first episodes of a huge number of TV shows for 99c in HD – an easy way to get a taste of a series to see if you want to jump in for the long haul.

It’s a different proposition entirely as an on-demand service compared to the “big two”, and with its smartly chosen content and great prices, Dendy Direct has found its own place.

Google Play – Android and Beyond

Google has been very clever with its Google Play service, which encompasses on-demand video purchase and rental alongside apps, books, music and even newspapers. For movies and TV, Google Play has a vast range that’s pretty much the equal of iTunes – and not surprisingly at all, it fully supports the company’s Chromecast devices regardless of whether you’re watching on an Android device, iOS or even a desktop computer.

Google Play’s pricing, like its competitors, differentiates between SD and HD but advertises the SD price up front, the opposite of Apple’s approach. Once purchased, movies and TV shows can be played via the web site or the Google Play Movies apps on mobile devices – but there’s more to the device support than meets the eye.

If you log in to your YouTube app on the Apple TV and many other devices, you’ll notice something when you browse – if you’ve purchased or rented a movie or TV show from Google Play, it will appear in your YouTube library as well. And yes, that means you can buy a movie on Google Play and then stream it in HD on your Apple TV, Smart TV or any other device with full YouTube support, in full HD. That makes Google Play one of the most versatile ways to rent or buy movies and TV in the on-demand world.

There are frequent bargain specials on offer too, but do keep in mind that if you want HD, you’ll have to click each individual title to see the actual price you’ll need to pay. In a world where HD is now the default, that’s a bit inconvenient, but Google knows their market, and it’s likely much of that market is people watching SD video on mobile devices.

FAQs About Video on Demand

One of the great things about buying a digital version of a TV series or movie is that the purchase is tied to your account with the provider, rather than to the device. That means that you can buy a movie on iTunes on your phone, and then – as long as you’re signed into the same Apple account – you can download or stream it on your PC or Mac (via iTunes), on an Apple TV device, or your iPad. Home Sharing lets you download it to keep on your PC then stream it across your network to any Apple device. Google Play works similarly.
While Google Play does have apps across many platforms – Android, of course, as well as iOS – there’s a little-known bonus that lets you play them on any device that offers a YouTube app, be it Apple TV, PS4 or many smart TVs. Since Google owns YouTube, they add any movies or shows you purchase to a “Purchased” section when you sign into YouTube with the same Google account. From there you can play your purchases (in HD when the device supports it) any time you like.
Many people love the bonus features – like deleted scenes, Director commentaries and documentaries – that you get when you buy a movie or TV series on Blu-Ray or DVD. But if you prefer to buy a digital version, you don’t have to miss out – as long as you buy from iTunes, that is. Apple regularly offers movies and shows in an ‘iTunes Extras” package at no extra cost, which lets you stream all of the extra features from the disc version on your device. It works on Apple TV and computers – but not iPhone or iPad at the moment. You’ll get an on-screen menu – just like the disc – where you can play all your extras from. Note that it’s not available on rentals, only purchases.

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