Your on-demand entertainment options continue to grow, as studios, networks, cable providers, and start-ups introduce new options to stream movies and programming to your television, computer, and mobile screen. While Netflix still dominates the landscape, there are new players on an almost weekly basis.
One of the most interesting new services was introduced last week by HBO. HBO GO allows HBO subscribers to view the full slate of HBO programming on-demand. I downloaded the free ap to my iPad, and it has quickly become one of my favorite toys. With HBO GO you can watch all episodes of all the current series, and even many series and movies that are no longer on the air. If you never had a chance to see great programs like Deadwood, John Adams, Rome, Six Feet Under, and The Wire you can find them available to watch at your leisure.
HBO GO also has one of the most interesting and user-friendly interfaces I have seen on any entertaiment sites. The programs float by you in boxes. Simple hit a box and you can access all episodes of the program. You just need to be an HBO subscriber and know your log in information for your cable provider to access the system.It would be interesting to know the economics of the service. While it certainly makes being an HBO subscriber more appealing, it also eliminates the need to purchase DVD sets of the programs.
Zediva.com is a much more old-school approach towards streaming. The service offers access to the most current movies on the day of their DVD release – typically well ahead of when they are available on Netflix and Redbox, and any of the other streaming services. Zediva has found a way around the limitations the studio puts on streaming releases with old technology. They actually stream from a DVD. So your computer or streaming device is actually acting as a DVD remote, and Zediva is loading the movie you want to watch into a DVD player. This makes for a different experience than just streaming a digital file, as you can often access features on the DVD you would not find on normal streaming video. Zediva’s other advantage is that unlike streaming services that allow you a very short window of time to watch a film – they give you a full 14 days. The price is also competitive, at $1 per rental.
Zediva’s obvious downside is their capacity. Everytime they add new subscribers they need to make sure the have added enough DVD players, and you risk the old problem you used to have when renting videos; they just might be out of the one you want. In fact, if you go to Zediva’s site right now they are currently not accepting new members as they up their capacity; which I assume means they buy more DVD players. Still, if watching the very newest movies is important to you, and you can get in, it might be a good option.