6 Tips and Tricks for Quarantined Movie Streaming Newbies


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Our colleague Brian Truitt from the USA TODAY Life team is here to share some tips for getting started streaming video on demand.

It’s a tough time for moviegoers who love going to the theater, as cinemas across the country have closed due to the coronavirus.

The silver lining: It’s the perfect time to dive headfirst into the world of digital video-on-demand streaming. For one thing, it’s the only place you’ll find new movies in the near future. “Trolls World Tour” will be available on Friday – when it was supposed to be on the big screen, but can instead be viewed on your favorite device. Other theatrical titles that got early releases for streaming include “Onward,” “The Invisible Man,” “The Hunt,” “Birds of Prey” and “The Way Back.”

Old-school viewers who prefer theater or physical media might be hesitant to wade through the waters of VOD. Here are some getting started tips and tricks if you’re a newbie to streaming.

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Coronavirus:All movies released early after theaters close, from ‘Onward’ to ‘Birds of ‘Prey’

A Movies Anywhere account is your new best friend

If you don’t have one, register. Most major studios (including Disney, Warner Bros., and Universal) use it as the primary digital channel for their online catalogs. If you’ve purchased a compatible movie from any of the major platforms – Walmart’s Vudu, Fandango Now, Google Play, Amazon Prime Video and Apple iTunes – you’ll be able to watch it on all of their respective apps as well as Movies Everywhere and YouTube. (Films from other studios can be purchased individually through your preferred platform.)

You may already have a digital collection (and don’t know it)

Blu-ray and DVD collectors might want to check their boxes: Many movies sold in recent years come with codes for digital copies, so unused slips can be the digital equivalent of a buried treasure. Older codes may have past expiration dates, but before you start sulking, Vudu has a menu for redeeming digital codes. Find your movie, enter the code and chances are it’s still valid.

Ian (voiced by Tom Holland, left) and Barley (Chris Pratt) embark on an epic quest in Pixar animated fantasy "Forward."

Offers are always on the table – although it doesn’t hurt to wait

So you’ve taken the plunge and are ready to start building your library, but you want to watch your money. High-profile new releases such as “Onward” and “Birds of Prey” are usually priced at $19.99, while some smaller movies and independent films are priced from $9.99 to $14.99. (Also, if the HD and ultra HD/4K versions cost the same, always choose the latter.) If you’re dying to have something on day one, cool beans.

But if you’re willing to wait a few weeks, newer options often cost between $5 and $10 depending on popularity. (New movie rentals often run around six dollars, though sometimes there’s a 99-cent special.) iTunes has regular movie discounts, Vudu has monthly and weekly sales, and Movies Anywhere has a which aggregates daily deals across all digital platforms. Fandango Now is currently offering a code for 20% off purchases for a month when you sign up and buy or rent a movie.

Although downloads are still possible, Wi-Fi streaming is the default

It’s natural, especially if you’re used to reading e-books that don’t take up too much space on the device, to want to park a movie on your tablet, smartphone or laptop and then watch it at all times. moment. That’s fine if you’re on the go, but tossing a bunch of movies onto your device can quickly eat up valuable storage space: a two-hour download of “Joker” alone takes up 5.6 GB, which is a bit if you only have, say, 32 or 64 GB on your machine. Whenever you can, stream over Wi-Fi or cell service if you have an unlimited data plan.

Continued:Netflix, Disney+ and more: the best shows and movies to keep you entertained at home

An Apple TV streaming device is essential for those who prefer to watch a digital movie on a TV rather than a phone.

If you want a quasi-theatrical experience, think smart – like in a smart TV

Just watching a movie on your phone at home is a big turn off for some. Many new HDTVs can connect to the internet and run streaming apps like Vudu and Amazon. Another option is to use Google Chromecast or other methods to mirror your laptop or device screen to your TV. Or invest in a media player, such as Roku or Apple TV, to stream videos – these are the best if you want to get the most out of your 4K ultra-HD TV.

But make sure you’re ready before you throw away all your records

While Blu-rays and the like can get in the way if you’ve got them piled all over your house, it can be hard for some enthusiasts to let go of physical media. Having a DVD around your favorite movie is useful when, for example, your internet is down. Once you start getting into a more 2020 mindset, however, Vudu’s digital-disc program lets you convert your DVDs (for $5 a pop) and Blu-rays ($2) into movies. HD digital.

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