Even though iTunes is a child of Apple, you can download this steaming service onto your Windows computer through the Windows app store. You’ll need to create an Apple ID to make purchases. You also have to download the viewing application, which some of our testers didn’t like. Once you’re logged in though, you can see the service’s top movies, which is helpful if you don’t know what you want to watch. With iTunes you can rent or buy titles. Some rental fees are as low as 99 cents, which is a great price, especially given the large library you have to pick from. You have 30 days to start your selection and then 48 hours after that moment to finish it. Or re-watch it as many times as you can. We won’t judge.
Every selection includes a detailed synopsis, trailer, information about the cast and crew, and other recommendations. Just like with Google Play, you can even read Rotten Tomato reviews. We have to say the recommendations were spot on: We selected the comedy “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and saw recommendations for similarly goofy movies including “Wedding Crashers,” “Old School” and “I Love You, Man.” For our tests we downloaded “How to Talk to Girls at Parties” and used a Windows operating system. The movie would only play in full screen mode, which was a little annoying. However, this is the only website we tested that lets you download a purchased movie, which is cool if you’d like to share it with friends and family. Some movies come with iTunes extras, which includes behind the scenes interviews and footage. Our testers gave this service a C+ for ease of use.
When it comes to TV shows, iTunes came ready to compete. You can watch series from TV networks, like “The Bachelorette” on ABC, or shows created by other streaming services, like “Game of Thrones” from HBO. You can buy one episode at a time or entire seasons of a TV series, but some give you the option of a “season pass.” A season pass means you’ll get all current and future episodes of a given season, and when a new episode is released you’ll receive an email letting you know it’s available for download. With a multi-pass, you can buy episodes of a show that don’t air in traditional cable TV seasons and pre-purchased episodes will automatically download as they become available. With most TV shows you can also choose from standard definition or high-def. One of our testers noted they didn’t like that some TV shows default to playing the most current season while others default to starting from the beginning of the first season.
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One thing that stood out about using iTunes was its constant freezing and laggy interface. Perhaps it was because we used Windows operating systems, but compared to a plain old website the iTunes app fell leagues behind. You can, however, set up parental controls to block specific content, like podcasts, radio or music, and restrict movies based on their ratings. There is, of course, an app you can watch all iTunes content through. It also plays music, podcasts and audiobooks, which you can’t get from other streaming apps we used that all focus solely on viewable content. There aren’t any commercials either, so while the interface is a little slow if you’re not using an Apple product, this service would work if you don’t watch a lot of movies and TV.