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  • Netflix and iTunes Battle it Out
Technology Articles > Entertainment > Movies > Netflix and iTunes Battle it Out

There are two main (legitimate) contenders when it comes to watching movies online: Netflix and iTunes. Both services offer very different methods by which you can watch your movies, and it is worth exploring each to consider which one is best suited for your needs.

Netflix primarily offers streaming movies, meaning that you do not own copies to the movies when you rent them. IiTunes, however, offers two different ways of watching and enjoying movies: renting and buying. While most users will probably enjoy a combination of the two services, it is worth exploring the strengths and weaknesses of both in order to better understand the two services.

Netflix Streaming

For users who only watch movies once, Netflix is the better option. For eight dollars per month, users can stream as many movies as they want. The downside is that Netflix's content is not nearly as robust as iTunes' content is. Netflix has a fairly limited variety of movies compared to iTunes. However, many classic films are on Netflix, as well as many new releases.

For an additional dollar per month, users can also rent DVDs. The DVD selection in Netflix is much greater than its selection of streaming videos, so this can help fill in the gaps.


iTunes offers content two different ways. You can either rent movies, or you can buy them. Renting a movie generally three dollars, and you can watch the movie for up to 24 hours. This is ideal for users who just want to watch one or two movies every now and then. As mentioned above, iTunes' selection is much greater than Netflix's streaming selection. However, for users who watch a lot of movies, the costs add up. If you watch three or more movies per month for iTunes rentals, you've already paid for a Netflix subscription.

iTunes also offers the option to buy movies. These usually cost $12-$15 per movie, and you watch the movies as many times as you want. You can even, thanks to AirPlay, transfer the movies between your iOS devices. So, if you buy a movie on your Mac, you can easily transfer it directly to your iPod or iPhone to watch it later. Buying movies on iTunes is especially cost-effective if you have small children, as small children often want to watch the same videos over and over and over.

The Choice: Netflix or iTunes

Neither iTunes nor Netflix is qualitatively better than the other. They are simply different services and they cater to different users. As mentioned previously, many users will use both iTunes and Netflix, with Netflix being the central hub and iTunes rentals filling in the gaps.

It is also worth considering which devices you own. If you own Apple products, you can easily stream movies that you buy or rent on iTunes to your TV. The introduction of the Apple TV last September makes this process even easier. However, if you own a PlayStation three, or other device that embeds Netflix, then Netflix will probably be easier to stream to your TV.

Whichever you choose, there has never been a better time to be a movie fan. The digital age has opened many new channels of obtaining movies. Enjoy the shows!