If you’ve ever been tempted to download a movie illegally, there are some issues you should understand. First, you would be breaking the law, and your ISP can (and in most cases, will) give your personal information to the authorities. You can also be sued by the companies who own the movie. While you might not think it likely, free movies online there are several news stories available on Google of “casual” peer-to-peer downloaders being sued by huge corporations. You’re also taking a big risk when you download movies from people you don’t know. The files are very large, and you wouldn’t notice a small virus file that your virus software doesn’t catch. It’s just not smart.
There are now places where you can legally download movies. You can rent or buy movies that you download directly to your computer. There are even places where you can watch free movies online. Right now, there are only a handful of sites available, but as more movie companies and distributors move toward making their movies available as a means to prevent piracy losses, there will be more sites that allow you to rent or purchase downloadable movies.
Amazon.com has a program called “Amazon Unbox Video Downloads,” that allows you to rent or purchase movies online and download them to your computer. You then play the movie on a special program that you download for free from Amazon. You can also download movies from Amazon directly to your compatible TiVo DVR unit or portable video player. You don’t even have to wait as long as you would to illegally download a movie – you can start watching the movie while it’s still downloading. Purchased videos can be downloaded to more than one computer. You can only burn the movie on a CD or DVD for backup purposes. You won’t be able to play it in a DVD player, and you’ll only be able to watch it on one of your registered computers. Rentals start at $2 and purchases start at about $10. There are specials, coupons, and deals offered on a regular basis from Amazon for getting discounts on downloaded movies.
Movielink.com has a very similar program to Amazon. You download a program called Movielink Manager where you can organize and watch your rentals and purchases. Like Amazon, you can only burn CDs and DVDs to back up your movie. The DVDs will not play in DVD players. Movielink has ongoing specials including “surprise rentals” for $1 and frequent purchase discounts. Movielink will not work on Firefox, Opera, or Netscape browsers. You must use Internet Explorer.
CinemaNow.com also offers rentals and purchases. In addition, CinemaNow offers about 1200 streamed free movies that you can watch online. CinemaNow also offers several movies that, when purchased, CAN be burned to DVD to be played in DVD players.
There are advantages to downloading movies instead of renting or buying DVDs. You don’t have to worry about losing or scratching a rental, late fees, driving to a store, waiting for a DVD to be mailed to you, or getting the wrong movie. You also don’t have to worry about scratching the DVDs you own or trying to get scratched DVDs to play with various sprays and machines. You can backup the movies to be stored elsewhere so they don’t take up space on your computer and they won’t be lost in case of hard drive failure.
If you take advantage of S-Video connectors, you can directly link a lot of PCs or laptops to your television and watch the movies from Amazon, Movielink, and CinemaNow on your TV. There are also products from companies like X10 that let you broadcast from your PC or TV to other televisions in your home complete with remote control capabilities.
When you want to download a movie, it’s worth a few dollars to rent it from one of these sites and legally download the movie. You won’t risk lawsuits, viruses, or the horrible guilt you’ll feel for breaking the law!