How to watch movies without shelling out a fortune
Rent on Demand
If you subscribe to Sky television, you can watch movies via the company's Box Office digital platform. This has the bonus of being user-friendly and gentle on non-techies. All you do is select Box Office with your Sky remote and pick the movie you want to watch.
The downside is that rental isn't particularly cheap -- it costs €5.75 to watch a movie, almost as much as Netflix is expected to charge for a month's unlimited access. And the choice is limited to new(ish) releases, many of which will already be available on DVD.
However, if ease of use is what you place most store in, and you're already a Sky subscriber, this might be the option for you.
Rent via the Post
Unfortunately, LoveFilm, Europe's biggest rental service, isn't available in the Republic. However, several smaller companies have moved to fill this gap in the market.
The most prominent, Screenclick, lets you rent two DVDs a month for €7.99, though film buffs may prefer to sign up for the platinum service which allows you rent four DVDs at a time for €31.99 (with no monthly limit on the number of rentals).
As soon as you finish a movie you post it back, so theoretically you could watch more than 30 films in a four-week period, resulting in significant savings compared to video library or digital television.
The benefit of all this for absent-minded viewers is that there are no late fees. Also, everything is sent via Freepost so you don't have to worry about stamps.
Rent from Steve Jobs
Users of Apple's iTunes service can rent or buy movies or television programmes. You download rather than stream the content, which, depending on the strength of your connection, means it can take up to 15 minutes before your purchase is available to watch.
There's a decent selection of movies and prices are competitive: the current 'film of the week' is the first Twilight movie, which can be rented for 99c or purchased for €9.99. Because your rental is 'virtual' you obviously don't have to return it anywhere.
Rather, you can watch it at the time of your choosing within 30 days of download (once you start watching you'll have to finish within 48 hours as after that it erases itself from your computer).
Hit the Pavement
The demise of the bricks-and-mortar video store has been predicted so often it may come as a surprise to discover your mainstreet Xtravision still open for business.
Not only must they compete with postal services and iTunes -- there is also the booming market in illegal movie downloading from the internet. The standard price for renting a new release at Xtravsion is €4 a night while older movies cost €2 a night.
In an age when a top-grossing release from last year, can be bought on DVD for around €7.99, this doesn't exactly scream bargain.
However, if technology puts you off and you don't trust the postal system, popping down to your video library is probably the most straightforward option. Keep an eye out for those late fees, though.