Speaking of which, Movies Anywhere allows you to stream movies right from their website and app, and they offer comparable bitrates to iTunes—though I found not all of my movies necessarily offered Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos through Movies Anywhere, even when they did through iTunes. It’s a good secondary option, however.
Amazon Prime, Google Play, and other services tend to have lower quality, though they’ll still look decent enough in a pinch, or if you’re renting a movie that doesn’t require the utmost in picture quality.
App Availability: Check Your Streaming Box and Smart TV
Of course, video and audio quality mean nothing if a given app isn’t available on your platform of choice. Thankfully, this isn’t as much of an issue as it used to be, especially since Apple started offering their app across non-Apple platforms. You’ll find the Apple TV app on Amazon’s Fire devices, Google TV, Roku boxes, PlayStation and Xbox consoles, and plenty of smart TVs from the biggest manufacturers. You can see the full list of supported devices here.
The same goes for Movies Anywhere, which is available on the Apple TV, Amazon Fire devices, Roku boxes, Google TV, and many smart TVs. Movies Anywhere does not, however, appear to be available on Xbox or PlayStation game consoles—see their list of supported devices.
Other apps are pretty widely available, though may lag in support for certain devices—Vudu is only just now coming to Amazon Fire TV, and Microsoft’s movies app is not available on non-Microsoft platforms (though it is compatible with Movies Anywhere). Google also has a history of, uh, having beef with certain streaming box manufacturers, what with the long-running feud it had with Amazon and its current struggle with Roku—though for now, your Google-purchased movies should be available in the YouTube app on just about any device.
If you’re using Apple and Movies Anywhere, these availability holes shouldn’t matter too much, since you can always buy a movie on Google Play or Microsoft Movies & TV and watch it through any Movies Anywhere–compatible service. Just make sure, again, that you aren’t using that strategy to buy a movie that won’t transfer over—you’ll want to buy those on the platform you actually use to watch. The same goes for any rentals or TV shows, which you’ll have to watch on the service in question.
Prices, Deals, and Freebies: Rack up Credit on Amazon, Google, and Others
You may think it’d be best to just stick to one digital storefront for all your movies—after all, if Apple TV is available on all your streaming boxes, why buy anywhere else? The answer, of course, is deals.
All streaming services have sales and deals here and there, from sales on superhero movies to weekly specials that rotate regularly. But each service also has its own perks as well. Microsoft, for example, recently offered the first seasons of Dragon Ball Super and One Piece to Game Pass subscribers, and Apple is currently giving lots of Apple TV+ subscribers $5 credits thanks to the extension of their free trials.
Google is more flexible with its deals, occasionally offering coupons or Google Play credits through its Chromebook Perks page, the Benefits tab of the Google One app, the Offers tab in the Google Home app, and in the Google Play Store itself. You can also rack up Google Play credits pretty easily with the Google Opinion Rewards app on Android, which I’ve used for plenty of purchases in the past—even though I rarely watch movies on Google Play itself. (Thanks, Movies Anywhere!)