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Avoid expensive services like Sky Store and iTunes and stream new film releases for as little as £3.50… or even for free!

The very first article I wrote when I set up the blog was about how sad I was to see Blockbuster Video shut down. I still miss it! But since broadband speeds have increased it’s – more often than not – a perfectly good experience to stream a movie straight to your TV.

I do this a couple of times a month, usually to catch up on new releases I missed at the cinema. And I rarely pay anything at all. Yep, that’s right. Zero.

And even if I do have to shell out some cash, I’ll never pay more than £3.50, some £2 less than some of the most popular streaming services charge.

And if you don’t want to stream, there are a few options to get your hands on a DVD or Blu-Ray disc too. So here are my tricks to let you save cash when you rent a film.

1. Ditch Sky Store and iTunes

If you’re a Sky Customer then you probably just go to the Sky Store app on your Sky Box and rent films there. Same with iTunes. Well stop.

It costs £5.50 for a one-time rental with both – and that’s just for Standard Definition (SD) quality. A total rip off!! Instead you can pay just £3.50 at the following streaming services:

Again this price is for SD films. Renting HD or 4K rentals will cost you an extra quid – that’s still cheaper than doing this via Sky and Apple.

How to watch new movies on your TV

It’s really easy to watch these on your telly. Some smart TVs, such as those from LG or Samsung, will have the apps built in. Otherwise you’ll need to buy a streaming stick, which can be as cheap as £20 to £25. Here’s my guide to making your TV “smart”, including devices such as Amazon’s Fire Stick and Google’s Chromecast.

2. Rent films and TV by post for as little as £2.59 a film

Though Lovefilm was closed in 2017, there’s still an option to have films (and TV shows) sent via the post. And it’s cheap. You can get a film for £2.59 sent to your door with Cinema Paradiso (named after the Oscar-winning Italian movie). And it could be even cheaper if you watch four or more new releases each month.

The service offers a 14-day free trial. After that there are three levels of monthly packages, which you can cancel or switch between at any time – as long as you don’t have any discs still at home. The options are:

  • £5.18 p/month for two discs a month, but only one disc at a time
  • £9.98 p/month for unlimited discs a month, but just one disc at a time
  • £12.98 for unlimited films a month and two discs at once.

> Sign up to Cinema Paradiso

3. Tricks for even cheaper or free film rentals

Even better than both of these is to get an even bigger discount, and better than that is to pay nothing! Here’s how to get these further savings.

Free Rakuten movie rentals

You can nab a free movie when you first sign up, plus Three customers with the Wuntu app can usually get a code every fortnight or so. There’s also a free rental at the start of each month for Times subscribers.

You can also get cashback from Topcashback each time you rent, worth about 60p per film – even on the free movies! There used to be a free rental for first-time users too though that seems to have disappeared for now.

Free Amazon Instant Video film rentals

If you have Amazon Prime, it’s worth seeing if there’s a “no-rush” option at delivery. If there is, usually on baskets over £20, then you can get credit in exchange for a standard delivery instead of next day. That credit is usually for use on digital purchases, which includes movie rentals!

So after a few orders you’ll have enough to rent a movie for free, or you can often combine them with regular promotions for Prime members where the latest releases are just £1.99.

Free Chili Cinema movie rentals

The first time you sign up you will get a free rental.

Discounted Google Play film rentals

Every now and then special promotions appear in the Google Play store. These are often for £1.49 rentals, but sometimes you’ll nab a free one. You’ll find them in the banners, just as in the picture below.


Look for discounts like this one in the banners on Google Play

Wait so it’s included in your Netflix, NOW TV or Amazon Prime subscriptions

If you’re already paying for a streaming service then eventually the films will arrive on one of these. Annoyingly it’s tough to tell which one. Personally I’d avoid NOW TV’s Sky Cinema pass unless there’s a deal going on as the tricks above can make it cheaper to watch the films rather than shell out £10 a month.

4. Rent films from the library

Finally you can pop to your local library and there is often a collection of films to pick from. Unlike borrowing books you will have to pay, but it should only be a few quid.

Most libraries will also let you order films held at different libraries, and you can also reserve discs to make sure you get it next. Once you’ve joined up, also check out if you can access digital loans on e-books and magazines.

Best TV streaming: Amazon Prime vs Netflix vs Now TV

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