No Online Movie Service Stands Apart: All Showcasing Same Content

While this isn't the first time that DirecTV has promoted that customers can get some movies from them faster as opposed to Netflix, over the weekend DirecTV started running a new series of commercials taking aim at Netflix's 28-day window. I can't link to the video as I can't find it online, but in the commercial, DirecTV highlights the Russel Crowe Robin Hood movie on the screen and tells Netflix customers that with DirecTV, they don't have to wait to get 30 days to get new movies.

While DirecTV's commercial is accurate, I found it funny that they used the Russel Crowe Robin Hood movie as an example. For all the talk of online movie platforms, streaming devices and 28-day windows, nearly ever online movie service on the market has the exact same content. On the Xbox 360, one of the featured movies in the Zune Video channel is Robin Hood. And when you launch iTunes and select movies, it's Robin Hood they highlight. PS3, Ronin Hood. Amazon Video On Demand, Robin Hood. Even firing up an old VUDU device, Robin Hood comes up number two. CinemaNow, Robin Hood. That's six different online movie services all promoting and highlighting the exact same content.

For all the talk of how different these services are suppose to be, I find that when it comes to the content available for streaming, nearly all of them are identical. Sure, there are some services that have a deeper catalog of content, or more content in HD, but I don't know of any online movie service today that has an "exclusive" for movies and most TV shows.

I currently stream movies using platforms including Netflix, Zune Video, PlayStation Network, Blockbuster, iTunes, CinemaNow and VUDU across devices like Roku, Xbox, PS3, Apple TV, TiVo, Sony Netbox, WD TV Live Plus and others and frankly, there are not that many differences between them. The devices look different but the platforms and most importantly the content, are all nearly identical.

Right now, no one service really stands apart in the online movie space and until one of them starts buying exclusive rights to content, I don't see that changing anytime soon.