Digital movie stores guide (2018 edition)

It’s been a year since I wrote my guide about digital movie stores. Thus, here’s an updated look at the major available stores, and which ones are worth considering.

Criteria

To outline my criteria:

  • It’s just digital video stores covered here. See my previous posts for streaming services (general and animation-specific).
  • All of the services offer 4K videos.
  • I’m not considering piracy as an option.
  • I’m also not covering ripping DVDs/Blu-Rays; however, if interested, I’d suggest using Handbrake or MakeMKV. Locally stored videos can be streamed from your computer to TVs/other devices using Plex.

The major digital movie stores compared

Platform/FeaturesiTunesAmazonGoogle PlayVudu
MacOSXXXX
WindowsXXXX
LinuxVia ChromeVia ChromeX
Chrome OSXXX
RokuXXX
Apple TVXXVia AirplayX
Fire TVX
ChromecastVia casting video from a Chrome tabXX
PlayStation
XXX
Xbox
XXX
AndroidXXX
iOSXXXX
Movies AnywhereXXXX
4K videoXXXX

Recommendations for digital movie stores

About Movies Anywhere

Movies Anywhere is a Disney-managed cross-platform digital movie locker that works with most studios films. It also works across all of the major platforms. This makes switching between services more feasible, as well as lessen a few of the obnoxious aspects of digital rights management.

Amazon Video: For cross-platform support (save Chromecast), Amazon ecosystem users

Amazon Prime Video

People who’re heavily invested in the Amazon ecosystem (Fire TV and Fire tablet users, etc.) might be interested in Amazon Video. It works alongside the streaming-based Prime Video, and is also available across nearly all major platforms.

The exception is Google’s Chromecast, per Google and Amazon’s competitiveness. Movies Anywhere might help here, however.

Vudu: For cross-platform support (save Fire devices)

Vudu screenshot

Vudu’s owned by retail giant Walmart. As such, Vudu’s not bound to any particular operating system or hardware. Thus, it’s available on pretty much every platform and device, save for Amazon’s Fire TV. (Though again, Movies Anywhere might help.)

The service might also appeal to those who dislike Amazon, Google, and Apple. That said, it might not appeal to those who dislike Walmart.

In the past, Vudu’s high definition support was one of its strengths. However, 4K’s become the norm across all the major services.

Google Play: For Google ecosystem users, cross-platform support (save Fire devices)

Google Play Movies screenshot

Google Play works across a range of devices, and offers similar features as other services. It’s also prebuilt into Android-based devices.

As for downsides, Google Play only works on Apple TV via AirPlay. Meanwhile, it doesn’t work on Fire devices at all (again, Google and Amazon’s rivalry to blame). Again, there’s Movies Anywhere for help.

iTunes: For Apple ecosystem users

iTunes is Apple’s digital media store. Apple’s famed ease of use lets iTunes works smoothly with iOS and MacOS devices.

On the downside, iTunes offers little or no support for non-Apple devices. Those primarily using a mix of platforms or non-Apple devices should instead consider one of the other digital movie stores.

Conclusion

I’ll certainly revise this list again in the future. However, if you think I’ve missed anything, or have any suggestions, please list them in the comments below.

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