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How to Search for Online Movies

June 8, 2009
Watching Online Movies gets Easier

Watching Online Movies gets Easier

Remember when you used to get to Grandma’s house without the use of a GPS?  How about the days when a meal used to take more than 30 seconds in the microwave?  Oh!  And remember how we used to have to drive to a … STORE to rent a new movie?

Those days are gone.

It was only a few years ago that watching a movie online meant you had to deal with sub-standard quality, player jumps and freezes, and terrible selection.  No more!  Now companies like Netflix and Amazon have joined the party and made a significant jump in movies that are available for instant viewing.  In fact, a large number of movies are actually available online as soon as they’re available on DVD (or Blu-ray).

Quality has gone up significantly as well.  Now movies are available in quality that rivals DVD or better in some cases.  Given the advancements in technologies like H.264 and VC-1, videos can now achieve higher quality at lower data rates.  Where DVD once used MPEG-2, now video streams are often using the higher-quality codecs that you’ll also find in Blu-ray Disc recordings.

The problem, however, is that different movies are available from different sources.  This ain’t your grandma’s Hollywood Video.  Obtaining rights to publish movies online is still undergoing some growing pains.  Videos are often available from some studios, but not others.  In the end, you won’t find all available movies from any one provider.

Enter DVDCorral.

I started getting frustrated browsing different sites looking for a movie to watch on any given night.  We decided to solve the problem by adding all those movies into the DVDCorral database.  Now you can search through just the available online movies using one simple interface.  Currently we support Netflix and Amazon, but we’re looking to add others in the future.  We’re working hard to keep our title lists up-to-date and make sure DVDCorral remains the best place online to search for online movies.

Our search interface currently allows you to search by several different parameters.  On the left side, you will see several text boxes (which will change slightly depending on which set of movies you are searching).  In “Enter keywords…” you may enter a partial title of a movie to search for.  Once you’ve finished searching by keyword, you can always clear it to search through all movies again (and hit <Enter> or click Search to begin search again).

Filter Online Movies

Filter Online Movies

To limit your search to a particular genre, click “All genres” and select a genre from the drop-down.  On some databases, you may also limit your search by rating.  This is the MPAA Rating in the case of movies.  Just leave it set to “All ratings” if you don’t want to limit to a particular rating, say PG-13, for example.

Finally, on the right side you will see a sort option.  Here you can sort movies by Popularity (based on # of collections on, Title (of the movie), Genre (primary Genre, sorted alphabetically), Members’ Rating (Voted rating on and Rating (for Netflix, the Netflix Users’ Rating).

Click on any movie in the list to view a quick pop-up of the details.  If you’d like more information, you can follow one of the links in the pop-up or click the movie image itself.  Note that on Amazon Video on Demand titles, when you click the Buy or Rent price, it will actually take you to Amazon to view the preview first.  So, click away, the prices are just for informational purposes so you know what the movies will cost when you later choose to Rent or Buy it.

As always, we’re proud to offer you what we think is a great new feature — but we’re also sure we haven’t thought of everything.  We love to hear your feedback, e-mail us with feature suggestions and comments at  Someone will always read your e-mail, check out your ideas, and respond whenever possible.  We’re fortunate to have such a great user-base.  Thanks for helping make the best place online to search for online movies!

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