Rent Movies on Your iPad to Make a Boring Flight More Entertaining

iPad iTunes movie rentalI just spent the weekend in Vegas at a training conference called Millionaire Boot Camp (I’ll let you know when I become a millionaire). Getting to las Vegas and back from Indianapolis can make for a lengthy, and sometimes boring, flight (or two). That’s why I like to use my iPad as my own personal, traveling movie theater. It’s simple to do but requires a bit of advanced planning.

For starters, you have to know what movies you want to watch before you leave. And by before, I mean before you even get to the airport. Here’s why. In my experience I have found that the Wi-Fi in my house is a zillion times faster than any public Wi-Fi hotspot, including the airport. And yes, I spent years and years in research and trials to deduce this zillion:1 ratio.

So the first step is to launch the iTunes app directly on my iPad and then touch the icon for Movies. Usually at this point I see about 2 or 3 movies I want to see under the New Releases section but this is mainly due to the fact that I rarely see PG-13 or R-rated movies any more since I’m usually with my kids when I see a movie in the theater.

The next step is to select the movie to see if it is available for rental (most are). Because the iPad is technically capable of outputting its display to an external high definition display, the default price option for renting is the high definition version for $4.99. But I watch the movies directly on my iPad and standard definition is plenty fine so I touch the Standard Def. option to drop the rental price to $3.99.

Download now, watch later

At this point, I’m ready to “rent” the movie. In digital terms, this means the movie will be downloaded directly to my iPad (no streaming). Once on my iPad, I can choose to watch it any time in the next 30 days. But here’s the tricky part. Once you start watching it, you only have 24 hours to complete it. At the end of this rental period, the movie is automatically deleted from your iPad.

Now I could on and on about how stupid this policy is and why I should have longer than 24 hours to finish a movie but I won’t. That’s not the purpose of this blog post.

When your rented movie is finished downloading, you can find it in the Videos app on your iPad. Just make sure to switch tabs from Movies to Rentals so you can see the movie you just rented.

I use this technique to rent 2 or 3 movies before I leave for the airport. Then once in the air at an altitude high enough to allow portable electronic devices, I whip out my iPad, pop in my earbuds and enjoy my own personal, traveling movie theater.

Just make sure you don’t start a movie you won’t be able to finish in the next 24 hours!