Cord-Cutting: À La Carte

If you're not a TV junkie, you may just want to rent or buy the occasional film or season of your favorite show. Instead of a monthly subscription, you could opt for one of these services, all of which have their own strengths.
Updated August 2016

Amazon Instant Video

The company is aggressively pushing its Prime product (and for good reason), but isn't forgetting about folks who just want to buy the occasional movie or TV episode.

Pros

  • Cloud storage of your files
  • Episodes are available the day after they air
  • Season passes are available
  • Choice between standard and HD quality on many shows
  • Ability to download media for offline viewing

Cons

  • There is no native way to cast videos to Chromecast

Google Play

Although it's mainly for Android device owners (shocker), there are iOS apps that make the service more universally appealing.

Pros

  • Purchases are stored in a digital locker for further use
  • Episodes typically available the day after they air
  • Season passes are available
  • Choice between standard and HD quality on many shows

Cons

  • Not compatible with Amazon Fire TV
  • A more limited selection compared to some competitors

iTunes

iTunes was the first service that saw value in letting us purchase current series and movies for legal download, and as such might be considered a founding father of cord-cutting technologies. Its business model hasn't changed in the last decade, but why mess with what works?

Pros

  • Cloud storage of your files
  • Episodes are available the day after they air
  • Season passes are available
  • Ability to download media for offline viewing
  • Seamless syncing with Apple devices

Cons

  • Content is locked within the Apple ecosystem

Vudu

With its notable focus on delivering BluRay-like visuals over its proprietary P2P network, Vudu hosts thousands of titles from major movie and television studios in addition to independent, musical, and international content.

Pros

  • 30-day rental period with a 24-hour viewing window
  • Ability to choose between standard, high, and HDX definition
  • Some titles are available for streaming the day of their DVD release

Cons

  • Smaller catalog than comparable services