Thursday, October 7, 2021

Buying movies on the cheap

I've talked about this a little bit before, as part of another topic, but it deserves its own focus.

Being a movie fan, I'm always looking to add to my growing movie collection. I currently have 1,679 movies in my collection, all of which are available for streaming from my personal Plex server. I can watch them on my streaming devices, wherever I am. All I need is an Internet connection, and I can watch one of my movies.

My movie collection is bigger than most people's collection. One of the drawbacks is how much it costs. For all of these movies, I either own the DVD or purchased the streaming version. For the 200-300 or so movies on DVD, I used utilities to rip and place them on my Plex server. For some of the streaming purchases, I downloaded, ran through a utility where necessary, and put the resulting file on my Plex server.

Today, I'm not talking about how to save money on DVDs. Rather, it's about how to save money on streaming purchases.

I subscribe to Movies Anywhere. The big deal about Movies Anywhere is that if you buy a movie through one participating video service, you have it through all of those services. The participating services are:

  • iTunes
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • Vudu/Fandango Now
  • Google Play/YouTube
  • Microsoft
  • Xfinity (for Xfinity TV subscribers only)
  • Verizon Fios TV (for Verizon Fios TV subscribers only)
  • DIRECTV (for DIRECTV subscribers only)

This means that if you buy a movie from Amazon, you can watch it on iTunes.

What that also means is if Amazon has a movie on sale, you can buy it on sale, and still get it from another service, even if that services has a higher price for that movie.

Some of these services are always putting movies on sale. Sometimes, the movie is only $5 from, say, iTunes, and $15 from Google Play/YouTube Movies. For $5, you can get it from all of the services.

Suppose though, that you don't have iTunes. Suppose you're an Android user, and never had a reason to have an iTunes account. Or, suppose you're all in on Apple. You don't have a Google account, or a Microsoft account. Or, suppose you don't have a Vudu account. What then?

It doesn't matter. You can get one of those account. For instance, I was an iPhone user. I didn't have any reason to have an account with the Google Play Store. It didn't matter. I signed up for an account. When Google put a movie on sale, I got it for the sale price, and it was added to my iTunes library.

The only services that you can't really use are the TV subscribers -- Xfinity, Verizon Fios, DirecTV -- if you don't have their service. For example, I don't have DirecTV, so I can't buy movies from DirecTV.

There's one other catch. Not every movie is eligible. Many are. The studios participating in Movies Anywhere are listed on the Movies Anywhere Website:

Movies Anywhere features a wide range of films from 

  • Sony Pictures Entertainment
  • Universal Pictures (including DreamWorks and Illumination Entertainment)
  • The Walt Disney Studios (including Disney, Pixar, Twentieth Century Studios, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm)
  • Warner Bros. Entertainment

At this time, movies from non-participating studios such as 

  • Paramount
  • Lionsgate
  • MGM

are not eligible and will not migrate to your movie collection. As Movies Anywhere evolves, we will continue to add more content partners.

That translates to over half -- around 57% -- of my purchased streaming movies are eligible. I was able to buy most of my movies on sale.

This savings is the best reason to have Movies Anywhere. When the service first launched, they promoted it as "buy it on one service and watch it on any service." And that's great. But the better thing is "buy it cheaper from one service and get it on a more expensive service."

How do you find out which movies are on sale? From the Movies Anywhere Website. The movies where at least one service has a title on sale is marked. They're easy to find. Just look for the sale tag, click the movie, and it will show you how much each service charges for it. Buy it from the cheapest, and you own it on all. It's really easy.

Saving money is what I'm after, and Movies Anywhere is a way to do that. That's why Movies Anywhere is part of my Streaming Life, and should be part of yours.

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