Home-grown online movie services might still be in their relative infancy in Australia, but the range of domestic providers is expanding all the time — there's a gamut of entertainment-on-demand options to stream or download movies and TV shows to your home theatre, PC or mobile device.
There are certainly alternative and less expensive ways of accessing this kind of content, but for casual viewers who don't want to go to too much trouble, here's a selection of local services that are easily accessible.
While Quickflix still offers mail-delivery movies and TV shows via its 'Post' option, its streaming-based 'Play' service offers a more instantaneous fount of movie gratification.
$14.99 per month delivers unlimited streaming of Quickflix's standard release movie and TV library to your PC, smart TV, Android/iOS device or PS3/Xbox 360, but the problem is its limited range.
With only hundreds of titles on offer, it's nowhere near as expansive as its Post catalogue, which boasts 55,000 titles.
New releases and 'Pay Per Play' titles cost extra (but don't actually require a subscription to stream) and will set you back $3.99 to $5.99 for a 48-hour rental.
Telstra BigPond movies
You don't have to be a Telstra customer to access BigPond Movies, but the perk for those who are is that all downloads are unmetred.
One downer is limited device support; you can only watch rented movies on PC, T-Box units or selected LG and Samsung smart TVs.
Apple's iTunes Store doesn't enable movie streaming on demand, but it does play host to a vast repository of movies and TV shows you can download and watch on your PC, Mac or iOS devices, with the added bonus of then being able to stream downloaded content to your Apple TV to watch on your TV (for those who are hopelessly steeped in that sticky Apple ecosystem).
Both rental and purchase options are available. Movie rentals cost from $3.99 for standard definition and start at $4.99 for HD, but prices vary by title.
You've got a 30-day window to watch your rental, after which it will expire; however, once you hit play, you've only got 48 hours to complete the viewing before the curtain closes.
Frequent promotions and specials (for example, 99c rentals and reduced-purchase price tags) ensure a good mix of bargain-bin viewing pleasure.
Not to be outdone by its arch rival Apple, Google's emulation of the iTunes Store embraced more mainstream entertainment content including movies, magazines and books when it was redubbed Google Play last year (in the Australian store, music and TV shows still aren't on the table, although they're available in other markets).
In terms of movie rentals, the vast majority of new releases will set you back $5.99 for standard definition ($6.99 for HD), while recent releases hover around the $3.99 mark, and there's also a grab bag of 99c bargains.
Outright purchases are available for some titles, with prices mostly varying between $14.99 and $24.99.
The service is really optimised for playback on Android devices (via the Google Play Movies app), but you can also watch SD content directly on your PC.
Similar to the iTunes Store, movie rentals last for 30 days but expire within 48 hours once commenced. Note: Google warns that each rental's terms are actually different, so pay attention to the fine print at checkout.
Somewhat confusingly, Google launched movie rentals on YouTube at the same time as it rolled out the feature for Google Play.
In all honesty, there's not an awful lot between the services, the most significant differentiation being that YouTube's service is primarily aimed at streaming via the web, while Google Play Movies is more tightly tailored to Android.