Imagine…you put the kids to bed, pour some wine and watch the movie of your choice without having to listen to the guy behind you smack his lips on Sour Patch Kids. The line between TV and PC is becoming blurred and the newest gadgets and services aim to make each more like the other.
Recently, I shared a few devices for watching streaming movies at home, perfect for moms who aren’t exactly hitting the theater every weeknight. In streaming movies redux, here are more options that provide you with instant access to movies and TV shows directly to your computer–all without any extra hardware at all.
VOD.com (Video On Demand) is a site with a big library of educational and mainstream movies. There is no membership fee–simply purchase blocks of time and then choose whatever you want to watch, all or even parts of movies. When my kid suddenly needs to get out of bed and pee right in the middle of a movie, it’s nice to have the option to start and stop as I please.
Besides, if you want to see just the volleyball scene from Top Gun over and over again, it’s all you.
Netflix is the big man on campus when it comes to streaming media. It is already integrated into most set-top devices, but Netflix also offers a “watch instantly” feature that allows you to stream any TV show or movie from its massive library directly to your PC. Netflix also recently announced a distribution agreement with NBC/Universal, so that infamous Saturday Night Live skit with Betty White and her ‘muffin’ can be ready and waiting for you when you need a five-minute break from diaper changing and homework wrangling.
Hulu is an online content streaming service from NBC, ABC, Fox, and most of the major broadcasters (sorry CBS fans) and movie studios. A lot of the content is free, but there is also a Hulu Plus version which hooks you up with premium content for $9.95/month and is about to support iPhone, iPad, and other mobile devices. So, if you still can’t figure out Lost and need to re-watch the first couple seasons to confirm your theories about John Locke and the Smoke Monster, you’ll need to upgrade to Plus.
As we all know, Amazon.com goes far beyond books. Amazon Video on Demand is another service that offers TV shows and movies for rental and purchase. You can download movies directly to your laptop for instant viewing, or save them for later to watch if you own it. It’s a perfect way to keep those little ones entertained when you’re traveling. (Remember, as cute as your kids are, no one wants to hear them whining on a plane)
Whether you go high-tech and stream content directly, or go the old school way and order DVDs via mail, I say the most important thing is to take some time for yourself and invest the two hours to watch a movie every once in a blue moon. Also, don’t forget the wine. –Jeana