By Erika Page, GalTime.com
Want to watch a flick or need to catch up on your favorite show that you missed last night? There are more movies and television shows available to watch right at our fingertips. Gone are the days when you had to trudge to Blockbuster and search through endless rows of shelves, hoping to find your movie of interest and the days when you had to wait until your favorite Sex and the City just happened to be playing on HBO. Nowadays, you can watch almost anything you want-- online-- when it's convenient for you. Yet with a large variety of movie options available to us, many free, some of us may wonder where to begin.
Who doesn't love a free movie? According to Guillermo Pont, Vice President of Products for Clicker.com, an Internet TV guide service, Sony's Crackle has a great library of movies and is totally free. For additional free steaming options, MUBI offers a mix of free and paid films focusing on indie and foreign films that are more difficult to find. Hulu offers some free streaming movies. "It also already has its Hulu Plus subscription service fort $7.99 a month, which has the Criterion Collection of films and others," adds Pont.
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You may also wonder about picture quality, especially if you are receiving free movies. The truth is, according to Pont, that picture resolution isn't really very noticeable until your screen gets larger, maybe about 20" or so. It is true, however, that pay services will typically offer HD, while free services do not.
Certain websites also specialize in showing particular genres of films. According to Pont, SnagFilms is a great source for documentaries. Crackle (free!) features a lot of action movies, comedies and thrillers. MUBI (sometimes free!) is a great source for indie and foreign films, Hulu has been promoting the Criterion Collection and Comcast's Xfinity.tv is a great, free source for campy classics (available if you have Comcast Digital Cable.)
Although it is true that some services are not free, or completely free, think of all the money, time and hassle they save you by eliminating your trip to the video store. Pont tells us that Netflix offers a $7.99 per month plan for unlimited online streaming, and Amazon recently added streaming video to its Amazon Prime service. At $79 a year, Amazon Prime now rewards subscribers with access to a growing list of about 2,000 movies. If you rent one movie every weekend, you end up paying less than two dollars per film.
Watching television re-runs is also easier than ever before. According to Pont, most networks post episodes of various television shows on their own sites within a few days or weeks of their original broadcast. I myself have taken advantage of this convenient service when I missed the suspenseful season finale of Grey's Anatomy last year. Instead of having to wait until the Fall to learn what happened to McDreamy, I got to see the episode less than a week after it originally aired. Hulu.com also has select shows from participating networks and Crackle offers certain select episodes for free. Adds Pont, "Comcast Xfinity is a great option for Comcast subscribers, depending on their subscription level. iTunes and Amazon have shows that you can buy on-demand by individual episode or by past season, and Netflix has some select past seasons as well."
By using these various Internet movie and television sources, you can watch a new film or show every day without ever having to leave the comforts of your home. Put on some comfy clothes, start the popcorn and enjoy the show!
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