One-time movie rental powerhouse Blockbuster filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this morning. The company has more than $1 billion worth of debt and is asking for help so it can restructure, but won't be shutting all its doors. The CEO said it plans to bounce back as "the only operator that provides access across multiple delivery channels — stores, kiosks, by-mail and digital." Netflix and iTunes have a rep for killing the video store, but Blockbuster's approach aims to make its movies available everywhere. I suppose only time will tell if it works. How do you get all of your blockbusters?
Similar to the free MP3 credits offered by Amazon earlier this month, they're now offering a free movie rental. The $4 movie credit is good toward any movie purchase or rental, including new releases like The Hangover and Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Price. To get your free rental, head over to Amazon's video on-demand page and enter the promotional code provided. Then choose the movie or TV show you want to watch and click the "buy" or "rent" button.
You'll have to create a free Amazon account if you don't already have one, and the offer is only good until Sunday, January 3, so hurry up and take advantage of this free offer!
Soon there will be yet another premium cable channel competing against HBO, Showtime, and your attention. Offering up newly released movies, Epix will launch its service in October with The Curious Case of Benjamin Button at the top of its playlist. But what Epix is doing differently is something any Internet fiend can get behind: they're launching five months early to online subscribers first.
This means that starting in May, you can check out great new movies from MGM, Paramount, and Lions Gate on your computer from wherever you have an Internet connection.
Unfortunately, there have been no subscription prices released yet, and streaming the content on the web isn't the studios' primary business model, but I'm hoping they keep the goods coming online even after the channel launches in October — I'm sure those of you without cable would agree.
I know, getting constant updates in your RSS reader with the 99-cent movie of the week on iTunes is pretty sweet and such a nice surprise. But what if you could easily check out all the free video downloads from iTunes? Yes you heard correctly — free downloads on iTunes, they do exist! Apple's iTunes Store is finally aggregating all of their free video content in one handy spot, so you can find the goods quicker and easier.
There aren't a ton of videos to choose from - yet - so let's keep our fingers crossed that Apple adds some more to their $0 line-up! To access the videos, go to the iTunes store and click on TV shows. Once you're on the TV page, scroll down to find the "Free On iTunes" content. Keep in mind that the free downloads are currently only available to US residents.
Don't get me wrong, I love being able to see a movie I missed in theaters as soon as it becomes available on DVD — don't we all? But in all honesty, it really doesn't bother me if I want to watch it on my cable pay-per-view service and wait a few months after the DVD release. Well according to The New York Times, Warner Brothers will now be offering video-on-demand systems on the same day they are released as DVDs.
Therefore movies will now become available a heck of a lot faster to users of online rental services like Apple TV, Comcast, Amazon and iTunes movie rentals. Warner Bros. is hoping that this new change will decrease the costs of manufacturing and distributing DVDs.
I was all jazzed up this week when Hulu, the free streaming video site went public. Since their movie service hasn't gained as much attention as their hyped-up TV service, I decided to take it for a test drive by connecting my MacBook Pro to my 50-inch HDTV for the full movie-watching experience. The movie selection isn't the greatest, but they plan to add many more titles as time goes on.
After selecting the Kevin Spacey movie K-Pax, I was required to sign-up for an account since the video had "mature content." Sign-up was quick and painless, and the movie started right away. To see what I thought about the sound quality and commercials, read more
Starting tomorrow you'll be able to catch all your favorite shows online with Hulu, which is set to emerge from its private beta status — yay! Hulu already distributes content for NBC and FOX and will be adding more content from Warner Brothers, Lionsgate as well as many other networks. Not only will you get to watch great shows like The Office and House, but Hulu also provides full length movies. The catch? There is no catch, Hulu is free and gets its revenue from short 15 to 30 second ads. Thanks for the heads-up Calamari! Unfortunately this service is only available in the U.S. right now.
It's really hard to beat a good competition movie, whether it's a bad dance movie, a documentary about real-life competition, or a totally fake documentary. Thus, I present to you my latest online find: a mockumentary called Unflinching Triumph: The Phillip Rockhammer Story.
This hilariously deadpan film, which you can watch in its entirety on the web, explores the "inner world" of staring contests, including the nationwide championship held by the NASP, or National Association of Staredown Professionals. Phillip Rockhammer is the "professional staring athlete" whose journey is documented in the film. From his nail-biting showdowns with the reigning champion to his personal struggles, the camera captures it all. With tender seriousness, director J.R. McCord lightly mocks the competition documentary genre with this movie about, in Phillip Rockhammer's words, "the ultimate challenge of mind and body."