Thanks for this, at least. It is the future. There are many advantages to these services, and some disadvantages as well. I am hooked on them, but there was a learning curve involved. In my opinion, vongo is the best over all with little issues. The drawback is their media is older and not the latest release movies. However, some like "older" films and such. For instance, vongo has many music concerts to pick from. I was surprised to find an old 1970's ELO tour concert that I seen in person way back then. The quality was poor, but due to the age of the concert/film itself. But it brought back memories, especially for ELO fans. The advantage with vongo is the one low monthly fee for unlimited downloads. They have pay-per-view also, but I have never used them. Just the many hundreds included in the one monthly fee.
Naturally, high speed internet is a must to use any of these services.
You can usually begin watching a download within a few minutes after the download begins. So you do not have to wait the 20-min to 2 hours for the whole download to complete.
Vongo has no drm issues. If for some reason it times out , expires or you format your hard drive, you can simply redownload the movie again. Its not a problem.
Now, the others...
Some "others" are rent and purchase or purchase only. The trick is there are many
freebee downloads that you can enjoy. Also, coupons and .99 cent new release promos are offered to registered members, often. Other than vongo, no monthly fee or no member fee is required. You simply register, for free and only pay for what you purchase. Some have an extended service for a fee, but I never get into that.
All have DRM issues. Thats bad. If you reinstall your os for any reason, you're going to lost your DRM license. Even with backing up the downloads (that you should always do with purchases, naturally), if the DRM folder is wiped out you lost the playing rights on that $19 movie you downloaded. Not to worry you need to call the service cs rep and they will resend the license. I have had a streak of bad luck with my personal computer and had to reinstall xp several times in the past few months. Then I went to vista and again lost the DRM after the upgrade. So I have had to call the different services several times to resend the license, which I will say they resent with out any complaint at all. It was just the hassle in calling them, and taking the time. Many services have online cs chat. That saves time when you need, or have issues. The bad is, they usually are unavailable after midnight to 7am. So if you're a late night movie watcher, and that purchase or rental will not play, you have to wait till their time to fix it.
Most everyone moves up to a new OS, or new computer every few years, so DRM issues will crop up at some point. I've even had the DRM wiped out after installing some software unrelated to download services. Don't ask me why. And one service cs rep told me to clear my DRM folder, once when I was having an issue with their rental. After I followed their advice, I realized I also wiped out ALL my DRM for ALL my other different services. Had to spend some time the next day on the phone or in chat, to get it all fixed back up. So beware what some CS rep tells you to do.
What I have learned is for purchases, download services are a risk. That is, DRM issues and if you do not back up those purchases and the original is lost., you're out your $19. But... for rentals, download services are GREAT!!! You can download and store the rental for some 30 days or more. But once you begin viewing, the timer starts and you have 24 hours to view as many times as you like, until it times out after the 24 hours.
Once, with a promo from one service for unlimited .99 cent new release downloads, I downloaded some 10 new release films and watched them over the next month one by one. You could never go to your local video store and rent that many for that price. Not to mention not having to drive them back afterwards.
Quality? I use a 50" plasma TV and the quality is fine. No, not DVD but better than VHS. I'd say its equal to satellite TV SD quality (maybe a little better). So quality has NEVER been an issue with me. One service offers HD downloads, for purchase, but I have not downloaded any of them to check it.
Its just very nice when you feel like watching a movie, just going to the computer and seeing whats new, downloading it (especially if its a rental), and viewing it. Then its over. No returns, no running to the store before they close. No hassle.
Another plus with one service, they offer many TV series from the older years. You can get South Park whole season or pick out one show for less than $2 and own it. Also the original "Lost in Space" is available for $2 a episode (purchase & own, not rental). As well as many many other TV series for $2 a shot. And the freebee downloads that some offer is a nice add-on.
For movie purchase-to-own, Walmarts has the cheapest. Not only are they a typical $15, as compared to $19 elsewhere, but Walmarts service also offers "portable" versions for portable media players. For the one price of $15, you get BOTH the standard download version, AND the portable as well. That is a big plus in the Walmart slot. And their CS reps are great, if you need those DRM license resent for any reason, no problem.
They do not offer rentals, however...
Movielink has great cs service also, many rental promos for .99 cents, and purchase promos often. As well as many freebee's.
Of them all, I use vongo, Walmarts and Movielink the most. Other then vongo's $10 monthly unlimited fee, the others require only that you register for free. You only give a card number when you buy something. And you get all those nice promos emailed to you.
Each service will also have you download their movie manager software, to download, manage and view your movies. But you can also just use MS media player to play those downloads, if you want. But the "manager" is what controls the download itself and lets you pause, restart or put off downloading to some other time, like over night if you prefer.
It will be interesting to see where these services go in the future. But for a free service, except for vongo, they are worth the looking at. You can get the freebee's, or only pay for what you purchase. And yes, they will charge your card only .99 cents if thats all you purchase at that time.
These services are not meant to replace your viewing habits, but just add some nice alternatives. So what can you lose? And what I like, no more friends/family/neighbors borrowing (then losing) your DVD's.