People get movies in a variety of ways. The following are ways people commonly use to acquire movies for home viewing, but I only endorse the final and best method, which happens to be 100% free.
1. Rent from Blockbuster or Hollywood Video. This is the most inconvenient and most expensive way to rent a movie.
2. On-Demand through Satellite TV. While convenient, it’s expensive and may have a limited selection.
3. Use iTunes. It’s $3.99/ea for new releases on demand. The drawback is you can only play them on your small, portable devices, unless you have the extra Apple TV equipment.
4. Use Netflix. At $4.99/mo, it would seem you can’t go wrong. But you have the hassle of sending and receiving mail.
5. Buy the DVD. (price varies)
1. Copy DVDs from a friend (not recommended). It’s common for someone to acquire movies from any of the above paid options, or borrow from a friend, and burn a copy for yourself. People usually do this using free software like: DVDShrink and DVD Decrypter or paid ones like: DVDFab Decrypter or Nero. They remove all of the copy protection so you can burn your own copy. They allow you to either burn to a dual-layer 8GB DVD or standard 4GB DVD.
2. Download movies using bit torrents (not recommended). Bit torrents are the latest protocol in peer-to-peer file sharing. Almost any recent movie, video game, or music CD is shared online and available for downloading through bit torrent websites. There are major drawbacks to this way of getting free movies. Besides the ethical considerations, the download goes to your computer and may be difficult to convert to play on your regular TV. You also may get a virus or some spyware on your machine by downloading material from unknown sources. And finally, your IP address can be tracked and has the potential of being monitored by a governing authority.
3. The best way to get free movies (recommended) is through your local library. Yes, libraries across the United States commonly have DVD sections with growing selections of movies, including new releases. Instead of paying $3.99 or more at Blockbuster, it’s totally free to walk out the door with lots of DVDs just for using your free library card.
Some libraries even have honor system-type scanners where you check it out yourself and don’t stand in any lines. Instead of returning the movies the next day or in 3 days, libraries often let you check out your movies for a week or more at a time. You can then renew them a couple more times by calling in or renewing online. Many libraries have high limits on how many you can check out at a time, for instance up to 20 DVDs.
Libraries in larger cities are often all networked and allow you to reserve anything you want online. For instance, near Portland, Oregon, users may login to the library network for Washington County and search and reserve DVDs online, and they will then send the DVDs to your nearest library and give you a call when it comes in. Some people with disabilities may even have them delivered to their door. In other cases, if you’re looking for a more obscure DVD title, you can simply request it and they may special order it for you (all for free).
Libraries are faster than Netflix, often include tens of thousands of DVDs to choose from (including new releases), are convenient (if you live near a library), and free. Why even take time to burn DVDs for your own home use? Your tax dollars already paid for your local library to stock all of these DVDs for you to use. Just pretend you’re part owner of it (which you are) and check them out whenever you need and return when you’re done. Easy.