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Film-lover James Krzywicki decides which movies to buy on Vudu.
Film-lover James Krzywicki decides which movies to buy on Vudu.

Where pandemic-exiled moviegoers can buy digital movies

CMS 120A Capstone Project

Fri, Apr 30th 2021 08:20 pm

A guide for buying movies online to watch on your devices

By Jordan Krzywicki

Special to Niagara Frontier Publications

Are you the type of person who needs the smell of “Butter Flavored Topping” to genuinely enjoy watching a movie? Does a movie seem better to you if your feet are sticking to the floor while you are watching it? Does it feel uncomfortable watching a movie without people sitting behind you talking about the awesome concert they attended last week? If so, the coronavirus pandemic has certainly put a damper on your moviegoing experience.

“Honestly, I do miss going to a movie theater, because that’s an experience you can never forget,” said filmmaker and moviegoer Andrew Widmer. “I miss planning to go with friends, being able to watch on the big screen, and see if strangers you don’t know find something funny that you do.”

The outbreak of COVID-19 forced the shutdown of movie theaters nationwide. As government restrictions to ensure the health of the public have eased recently, movie theaters have only been allowed to operate with limited audiences.

“I miss the fun of being with others to react to the magic of the movies,” said actress Karen Sue Long. “And sharing the experience with friends and family and total strangers. Group emotion is the best.”

Theater restrictions have forced lovers of cinema to hunker down at home and enter the digital realm by purchasing movies online. For the cost of an average admission ticket to a movie, someone can purchase a digital movie instead.

“(Since the pandemic), I have watched movies digitally. It’s a cool way to keep culturally connected on a budget,” actress Michelle Domb said.

Until movie theaters are again fully operational, movie lovers will have to find alternative ways of entertaining themselves with films. Since people today are already spending several hours per day utilizing their tablets or smartphones, a logical way for moviegoers to enjoy movies is to purchase and download digital copies of their favorite films for viewing on their devices. 

There are currently many digital movie retailers that provide new film releases, as well as thousands of popular movie titles.

Here is a list of digital retailers where you can buy movies online, so you can satisfy your movie addiction:

•Apple iTunes

Owners of Apple iPads or iPhones have a logical choice when seeking to purchase movies online: Apple iTunes. This retailer offers a wide selection of movies and works very well with all Apple devices. Apple iTunes is an industry leader in stability and performance. When you play a movie on iTunes, its media player occupies the screen completely. Apple offers digital 4K movies, which are required in assembling a top-notch film collection. The drawback with using iTunes for movie transactions is that your selections cannot be watched on devices that use a different platform than Apple, such as Android phones and tablets, or a Smart TV.

Get connected to Apple iTunes:



•Amazon Prime Video

Despite what its name implies, movie fans can obtain digital titles from Amazon Prime Video without subscribing to the Amazon Prime service. Amazon Prime Video features a wide selection of movies, together with Hollywood’s newest blockbusters. To help access its service, Amazon Prime Video supplies apps, smartphones, tablets, Smart TVs, and gaming consoles. Amazon is renowned for its nearly trouble-free delivery of purchased movies, whether they are viewed online or on the device selected by the user. Searching for desired movies is not as easy on Amazon Prime Video, compared to Apple iTunes or Google Play. Another drawback of Prime Video is the absence of a download option for Mac or PC.

Get connected to Amazon Prime Video:


•Google Play

Google Play is available on a larger selection of devices than Apple iTunes or Amazon Prime Video. Google Play purchases can stream on Apple devices, Android devices, Smart TVs, Roku, and even personal computers. Every Google Play purchase may be viewed using YouTube. Google Play has an impressive catalog of movies; its choices encompass many production studios. Google Play offers an easy-to-use movie search method that allows a viewer to select movies by genre, studio, or network.

Get connected to Google Play:



Vudu may not have the name recognition of competing movie retailers, such as Apple iTunes or Amazon Prime Video, but the movie service began operations in 2007, making Vudu a reliable presence in the digital movie marketplace. Vudu was purchased by Walmart in 2010, which provides it with major corporate backing. Knowing Walmart is behind Vudu is important when it comes to purchasing movies online. This knowledge is crucial, because a consumer needs to feel comfortable the provider will be around for years to come - and their movies will be accessible to them.

Vudu titles may be purchased in standard definition, high definition, or Vudu’s HDX format, a slightly better version of HD. A large number of Ultra HD movies are available as well.

An advantage Vudu has that makes it a desirable choice for buying movies online is its wide range of support for many devices. Vudu is compatible with Android smartphones and tablets, iPhones and iPads, Smart TVs, Google Chromecast, PlayStation, Xbox, and Roku.

Another advantage for Vudu is movies may be downloaded to PCs for offline viewing, in addition to mobile devices. The one downside of Vudu is its interface is not as fluid as its competitors.

Get connected to Vudu:



Most people would know Fandango as a website that sells movie tickets. However, there is also a website called FandangoNow where you can purchase and watch movies online. The movies available for online purchasing at FandangoNow stack up against Apple iTunes and Amazon Prime Video. FandangoNow selections can be viewed on Android devices, Apple devices, Roku, Xbox, and PCs.

In an attempt to lure customers from their competition, FandangoNow features a credit system for customers to earn free stuff.

Get connected to FandangoNow:


Additionally, if you buy movies separately from individual retailers, but desire to have them all in one place, simply set up an account on Movies Anywhere and connect the retailers. Movies Anywhere is a cloud-based digital locker that provides centralized access, so movie fans can conveniently organize all their digital movie transactions. 

Many consumers prefer buying films over renting, because streaming services have the irritating tendency of changing their movie catalogs. The movie you enjoy watching today on your streaming service may be gone tomorrow, the rights to the film snatched up by a competing service.

Why buy digital instead of hard copies, such as DVD or Blu-ray? The first reason is digital versions of films are often released one or two weeks before the hard copy versions. Secondly, digital movies do not require shelf space for storage purposes. Finally, you can watch any of your movies anywhere you are if you have your phone or tablet with you. In addition, you can watch them even as you travel, if you have them downloaded on your devices.






Niagara Frontier Publications works with the Niagara University communication studies department to publish the capstone work of students in CMS 120A-B.

These articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of NFP, NU or the communication studies department. Moreover, efforts have been made to encourage the proper use of sources, and discourage anything that would constitute plagiarism.

Comments or concerns can be sent to the NFP editorial department, care of the managing editor.

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