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Use Movies Anywhere to Take Advantage of Bargains

It used to be that if you were a loyal Apple customer, you were limited to buying movies from the iTunes Store unless you wanted a lot of headaches. Sure, you could buy a movie from Amazon, but you couldn’t play it on an Apple TV. And once you started a collection on one platform, you were either stuck there or had to switch continually between ecosystems to find the movie you wanted.

Things are different now, and a whole lot better. Both Amazon and Vudu have released their video apps for the Apple TV (see “Amazon Prime Video Comes to Apple TV,” 6 December 2017). Also, the Movies Anywhere service lets you sync your collections from participating studios between ecosystems (see “Movies Anywhere Frees Your Films From Platform Lock-In,” 14 October 2017).

The studios participating in Movies Anywhere include Disney, Sony Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal, and Warner Bros. Other studios, such as Lionsgate, MGM, and Paramount haven’t joined the Movies Anywhere party. Movies Anywhere maintains a convenient list of popular movies that aren’t available for syncing.

But, chances are that the majority of your movie collection can be synced between video services via Movie Anywhere, and the holdout studios will probably come on board eventually (if nothing else, Disney may just buy them). You can link accounts from Amazon, Apple, Fandango Now, Google, Microsoft, and Vudu together, and eligible movies that you purchase on one account show up as purchased on the others. And once a movie is set to purchased on an account, it remains in that account permanently.

One of the major unsung benefits of Movies Anywhere is that it lets you comparison shop between digital retailers. A digital movie is identical no matter where you get it, but there can be some significant pricing differences between stores. Here are a few Movies Anywhere-eligible titles from various eras. Prices were sampled on 30 August 2018.

Movie Amazon Fandango Google iTunes Microsoft Vudu
Aliens $7.99 $13.99 $14.99 $4.99 $14.99 $7.99
Casablanca $12.99 $13.99 $8.99 14.99 $12.99 $14.99
Dick Tracy $9.99 $9.99 $8.99 $9.99 $9.99 $9.99
Oblivion $11.99 $13.99 $4.99 $14.99 $12.99 $9.99
Star Wars $17.99 $13.99 $17.99 $19.99 $19.99 $19.99

As you can see, prices can vary wildly. While 1990’s Dick Tracy is only a dollar cheaper through Google than anywhere else, the original Star Wars is $6 cheaper from Fandango than from iTunes. However, 1986’s Aliens on iTunes is a third of Google’s price. It pays to shop around!

What if a movie you want isn’t eligible for syncing with Movies Anywhere? If your main goal is being able to watch on your Apple TV or iPad without buying from iTunes, remember that Amazon and Vudu both have video apps for the Apple TV as well as iOS, so titles from those services are fully accessible from your Apple devices. And while there isn’t a Google Play Movies & TV app for the Apple TV (like there is for iOS), you can watch your purchased movies from the YouTube app.

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Comments About Use Movies Anywhere to Take Advantage of Bargains

Notable Replies

  1. I think I’ll continue to buy DVDs, offload them to MP4 files on my computer, or copy to DVDs for as long as my equipment continues to function. It’s even more service and device independent.

  2. How do DVDs compare in price to the digital versions?

  3. I have a high grade BluRAY player. Most BluRay prices are close in price to digital only releases and, for popular films, usually include codes to get access to digital copies. For most releases these days, that includes Movies Anywhere. So, for most releases, I purchase the BluRay so that I have the highest quality picture and sound available, but also have the ability to stream a version when I am away from home, or too lazy to load the BluRay player. The only caveat is that the BluRay release date may be a week or so after the streaming version is available.

  4. I only buy standard DVDs of movies or TV series I want to watch at least twice. TV series are a good price to hour ratio. Movies on DVD I buy usually cost $5-10. The DVD quality is good enough for me. Streaming is cheaper if the title is available and you have access to capture equipment and software. The quality is not as good as DVD but is adequate. I don’t usually buy straight digital because the files tend to have DRM restrictions. Many movies and shows are not available in any format sadly.

  5. One issue that the article doesn’t mention is that while iTunes will upgrade HD movie purchases or code redemptions made on iTunes to 4k when available, it doesn’t do that for movies transferred in via Movies Anywhere unless the purchase in the other store was for the 4k version.

  6. I haven’t seen this. If you own the HD version of a movie, you get the 4K version. In fact, the SD movies I own in iTunes have synced to other services, where I unlocked the HD versions, which then synced back to iTunes.

  7. I recommend two sites. One is JustWatch. This site allows you to search for content and where that content will appear and what price. It includes streaming services as well as iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, and other major sites. Many times I was about to buy a movie only to find it’s already streaming for free.

    The other is called Next Episode. This will let you know when a new episode drops for services like Netflix or broadcasting channels like ABC, NBC, and PBS. It’ll also let you know as soon as possible for episodes on iTunes and other services which can help you plan a bit. Even better, it’ll tell you when the next season of a show starts up. Something iTunes is unable to do.

    Both are available as apps. You can create an account if you like or use these services as a guest. (I don’t have a JustWatch account because I can only use Facebook or Google and I’d rather have an independent account. I do have a JustWatch account to get notifications).

  8. Thank you! Next Episode is just what I have been looking for.

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