Purchasing video downloads - HD vs. SD

tmcmeekin

DTVUSA Member
#1
On sites like Amazon that offer streaming/downloads where you pay per individual movie or TV episode, they often offer both SD and HD video. To rent or buy the HD version usually costs a bit more.

For example, the second Hunger Games costs about $4 to rent, but $5 for HD, or $15 to purchase, but $20 for HD (on Amazon). Meanwhile, for the new Veronica Mars movie, both rentals are the same price ($6.99), but if you want to purchase it, you pay a $5 premium for HD. And with most TV shows I've seen, it is usually $1 more per episode for HD.

When you watch these videos, do you splurge on the HD version, or do you save money by getting the SD version? Or does it depend if you're renting/buying, what the program is, or what devices you're watching on?
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#2
Renting in HD just doesn't seem like a good option for me. Even if the cost were the same, I think I would have some problems with HD since I don't have the worlds fastest internet. Nothing like paying for a video rental and not being able to enjoy it!

If I'm going to spend $20 on a video, I'll run down and BUY it, or wait and rent it on Redbox for $1.50. And sometimes I can buy BR/DVD/Digital combo packs for the same price or a dollar or 2 more. One for home, one for the road, and one in the cloud!
 

tmcmeekin

DTVUSA Member
#3
Renting in HD just doesn't seem like a good option for me. Even if the cost were the same, I think I would have some problems with HD since I don't have the worlds fastest internet. Nothing like paying for a video rental and not being able to enjoy it!

If I'm going to spend $20 on a video, I'll run down and BUY it, or wait and rent it on Redbox for $1.50. And sometimes I can buy BR/DVD/Digital combo packs for the same price or a dollar or 2 more. One for home, one for the road, and one in the cloud!
The combo packs are a good idea, I almost forgot about them! (Can you tell I don't actually "buy" movies that much but usually just Netflix them? haha) Although for some things (like Veronica Mars) the advantage to streaming is that it is available long before the discs are. If there were a way to get a download instantly with a pre-order, that would be the best of both worlds. (Amazon does this with some music CDs already, the MP3 version is automatically added to your account, but it seems like with movies, the code for the digital download is only sent in the package?)
 

FWAmie

DTVUSA Member
#4
On sites like Amazon that offer streaming/downloads where you pay per individual movie or TV episode, they often offer both SD and HD video. To rent or buy the HD version usually costs a bit more.

For example, the second Hunger Games costs about $4 to rent, but $5 for HD, or $15 to purchase, but $20 for HD (on Amazon). Meanwhile, for the new Veronica Mars movie, both rentals are the same price ($6.99), but if you want to purchase it, you pay a $5 premium for HD. And with most TV shows I've seen, it is usually $1 more per episode for HD.

When you watch these videos, do you splurge on the HD version, or do you save money by getting the SD version? Or does it depend if you're renting/buying, what the program is, or what devices you're watching on?
I know this answer really has nothing to do with Buying/Renting on amazon or netflix. But if we want to splurge on something, we normally just buy it. But if we buy a movie its blu-ray and most of the time we don't buy movies just because we only seem to watch it once and basically never watch it again. I have noticed we do that, but not really sure why. then again I really don't read books I have already read, just for the fact that if I see the cover, I can basically tell you the book from start to finish. So maybe it works the same way with movies. (Not really a movie person, meaning I don't really remember movies that well) But a book that isn't even a problem. LOL
 

Aaron62

Contributor
Staff member
#5
On sites like Amazon that offer streaming/downloads where you pay per individual movie or TV episode, they often offer both SD and HD video. To rent or buy the HD version usually costs a bit more.

For example, the second Hunger Games costs about $4 to rent, but $5 for HD, or $15 to purchase, but $20 for HD (on Amazon). Meanwhile, for the new Veronica Mars movie, both rentals are the same price ($6.99), but if you want to purchase it, you pay a $5 premium for HD. And with most TV shows I've seen, it is usually $1 more per episode for HD.

When you watch these videos, do you splurge on the HD version, or do you save money by getting the SD version? Or does it depend if you're renting/buying, what the program is, or what devices you're watching on?
This is such a good question. My girlfriend and I have been watching episodes of Soprano's (my second time watching this show) from season 1.

We've tried renting both SD and HD on our 55" LED HDTV through Amazon Prime, and although I wish I could say there isn't much difference; there really is a huge difference on our size of HDTV. The difference between SD and HD for the Soprano's for season 1 is $19.99 and $29.99 for the latter. Huge difference in cost. We're going to buy used Blu-ray discs for the other seasons when we need to because it's just too much money to be spending for "renting".
 
#6
Yeah, we've definitely become HD snobs over the past year +. We used to never rent or buy the HD version of anything...now, even our teenager complains about getting the SD version!
 
#7
For me HD seems a bit of a waste. Maybe its because we have to be so careful with our money. But it is hard enough to get the money to rent or buy something at regular cost. The extra needed for HD seems a bit of a waste to me. This is also why we do not have a HD or Blue Ray player.
 

Lily13

DTVUSA Member
#8
If I buy a single film or movie, I go with HD. If I have to buy a whole series, I know the HD dollars will add to a few extra episodes' worth... So I buy in SD usually :)
 
#9
If I buy a single film or movie, I go with HD. If I have to buy a whole series, I know the HD dollars will add to a few extra episodes' worth... So I buy in SD usually :)
Can I ask what you see as the advantage of HD? I know it has better audio and video quality but is it really worth 5-10 extra bucks to have?
 
#10
For me, it depends on what device I intend to watch it on. If it's something I know I'll be watching on my Kindle Fire, I go with SD because I've tried both on the kindle and can't tell a noticeable quality difference and HD takes much longer to download. If I'm watching on my Kindle, odds are I'm traveling anyway. If it's something I'm watching on my TV, however, I generally always go with HD because on that size screen, the difference is substantial and worth the price to me.
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#12
It's not always a simple choice. When buying, and if the price is right, we go BR.

When renting @ Redbox, Blu Ray if its for the whole family or just the adults. DVD if its something only the kids want to see (they're 3 and 8) unless it's only available on Blu ray. 30 cents extra for BR is no big deal. The main reason I bought a BR player vs DVD was so I could rent the BR or DVD at Redbox.

Renting online is always SD for us. Bandwidth is a big consideration, and we also have problems with Amazon online / prime with buffering and dropping sound, resulting in us having to back out and resume play. Besides, it is almost always a dollar or two more for HD online. Now, all that said we rarely rent online. It's very rare there is a movie available online that isn't at Redbox, or I can wait a week or two more for it to be at Redbox, and there's 8 Redbox machines within 1 mile.

And now, can someone please explain why it costs $1.20 @ Redbox to rent a physical DVD ($1.50 on BR), and it's $3.99 - $5.99 to rent online?
 
#13
And now, can someone please explain why it costs $1.20 @ Redbox to rent a physical DVD ($1.50 on BR), and it's $3.99 - $5.99 to rent online?
Is it maybe because they are paying for the streaming services? And arent there different liscensing laws when dealing with digital sharing and so forth? They may have fees and such they have to cover when doing the online stuff.
 

tmcmeekin

DTVUSA Member
#14
Is it maybe because they are paying for the streaming services? And arent there different liscensing laws when dealing with digital sharing and so forth? They may have fees and such they have to cover when doing the online stuff.
That would be my guess as well - different licensing fees. Redbox can buy a disc and rent it as many times as they want, whereas streaming services have to pay based on how many views.

Then you also have to take into consideration their other costs. Having a kiosk might be cheaper long-term than maintaining servers, paying for bandwidth, or paying off the other telecom companies to avoid throttling...?

Then again, the companies may also figure that people are willing to pay a premium to have it "right now" and so they charge as much as they can, just because they're greedy.
 

FWAmie

DTVUSA Member
#15
That would be my guess as well - different licensing fees. Redbox can buy a disc and rent it as many times as they want, whereas streaming services have to pay based on how many views.

Then you also have to take into consideration their other costs. Having a kiosk might be cheaper long-term than maintaining servers, paying for bandwidth, or paying off the other telecom companies to avoid throttling...?

Then again, the companies may also figure that people are willing to pay a premium to have it "right now" and so they charge as much as they can, just because they're greedy.
I have to agree with all that, but I am going to say its mostly cause they are greedy.... But that is how things seem to be now days.
 
M

mamahas6

Guest
#16
streaming cost difference

the online rentals are usually for 2-3 days vs 1. I haven't tried renting via stream yet...but I'm about to try it out. I like Redbox...until a DVD gets lost or we forget to return it...and then I own a very expensive disc that usually doesn't have any extra features. lol. (and this only seems to happen with movies we didn't like...of course)
so I guess my point is you don't have to worry about a disc being returned late.
but...on the downside...you have to be connected to the internet to watch a streamed movie...
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#18
Depends. If it's for small screen or casual viewing, then SD. For blockbusters and movies with great visuals, HD. But I don't "rent" a lot of streaming movies, either.
 
Top