Life: MoviePass

What is MoviePass?

MoviePass is a subscription service that allows subscribers to see a movie every 24 hours for a monthly fee. I subscribed for one full year and I saw 67 movies. My monthly subscription price was $35 a month, but I was able to get the first month at the introductory price of $20. I spent a total of $405 or $6.05 a showing.

How does it work?

MoviePass subscription works similar to a Gym membership. After the 30-day contract free introductory period, customers agree an annual contract, that if terminated before the end of the 12-month period an early cancellation fee is charged. Monthly payments are auto debited from the customer’s account set up with MoviePass. A MoviePass Credit Card backed by Discover is provided. The card is only usable when activated via the MoviePass App on your iPhone or Android device.

To activate the card, the subscriber selects a movie via the App; follows the steps on the phone and purchases a ticket from the kiosk or box office using the card. The card is active for only 30 minutes and the App uses the location setting on your iPhone or Android device to determine your location in relation to the movie theater. If a subscriber is too far away from the theater the card will not activate. I found it best to be within 100 yards proximity of the theater and a have decent data signal.
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Additionally, once signed in, the App is tied to the phone for which it installed. A subscriber can’t sign in to the App on another phone with the same account. A subscriber trying to sign into a phone that has recently had the operating system restored or has a new phone must call to customer service to reestablish the account on the phone.
With MoviePass you are able to see a movie every 24 hours. For example if you see a movie at 3:05 in the afternoon subscribers have to wait until 3:05 the next day before being able to activate the card. There is no limit on the number of movies a subscriber can watch, but subscribers are not able, as of this writing, to purchase tickets to 3D Movies. Once activated the card is granted a spending cap. I once attempted activating the card for a regular showing, but could not purchase a 3D ticket due to the spending cap.

The Pros and Cons

Pros:

Theoretically a subscriber could view a movie every day a week or on average 30 a month for a cost of $35 a month. As I mentioned earlier I saw 67 movies over a span of 365 days or one every 5.45 days. Needless to say I got my money’s worth.

The card works anywhere Discover Card is accepted. Because the cost is paid up front; using a kiosk to purchase the ticket can be fast and convenient.

Most subscribers frequent theaters with rewards programs, thus rewards pile up fast. Regal is the large chain in my area and about every fourth or fifth movie I would earn a free popcorn or soda or a movie ticket. On several occasions I used my rewards card, received a free popcorn ticket and used the Regal App to get a discount on the Soda.

Cons:

It is difficult to see a movie every 24 hours. In most cases I would go to the last showing in my area, which was at 9:45pm, but could not get up the next day and see a movie in the afternoon. Half way through my membership MoviePass changed to the 24 hour time limit, which slowed my movie going habits considerably.

I had to restore my iPhone several times over the past year and eventually I was put on the naughty list by MoviePass, which required me to send a screen shot of my IMEI number from my iPhone before I was able to regain access to the MoviePass App. It made me feel like a criminal.

The App has only been updated once in the 12-months of using MoviePass and is poor at determining my actual location. I live close to a city in Idaho called Meridian. However, for months the App thought I was in Meridian, MS. I had to have alternate movie App installed to find movie times and called customer service to activate my card. This was later fixed, but it took several months and I am not sure if it is fixed completely.

The App regularly fails to show the times of movies playing at the largest theater in my area. To this day any time I want to view a movie at the Edwards 22 in Boise, ID I have to call customer service to activate my card. Again MoviePass customer service made me feel like criminal for calling in to get my card activated. “Are you sure there is a regular showing of that movie?” is not what I want to hear 30 minutes before show time.

If you have a theater that takes online reservations, forget about getting a reservation for a good seat. MoviePass requires you to be near that location and you are limited to the time you can purchase.

My Conclusion

At first I thought MoviePass was a great value, but MoviePass changed its terms from a movie a day to a movie every 24 hours, which curtailed my movie going habits. The value I was getting out of MoviePass the past few months was one movie a week, thus I was essentially breaking even and for the most part recent movie releases haven’t been all that stellar.
The App is quite frankly the worst I on my iPhone. Uninstalling the App and reinstalling it, restoring your phone or getting a new phone eventually puts you in the dog house with MoviePass. At one point they threatened to cut off my use, but still charge me because they felt I was not using the service within their terms. I was only basically seeing a movie every six days, but they made me feel like I was seeing six a day and was robbing them of money.

My recommendation:

MoviePass is not worth the commitment. To get value out of MoviePass, like with a gym membership, a subscriber needs frequent movies often. Working five days a week limits my viewing abilities. I typically go to movies on Friday and Saturday, but to get value out the services under the 24-hour prerequisite required a commitment I was not willing to sustain over a long period of time. Finally, despite the number movies to view, the quantity of quality movies are lacking, which results in fewer movies I would actually pay top dollar to see.

Why iPhone Works for Me

I have been thinking lately why I choose the iPhone over an Android Phone. I mean these Android phones are every bit advanced as the iPhone and in the end complete the task originally assigned, accept and receive calls.  So I decided to make one of those lists that compared iOS to Android.

The Lists

The easiest was the applications, but as I began to dig I come with a list of 10 of my most used 3rd party applications:

  • Twitter for iPhone
  • Facebook for iPhone
  • The Weather Channel App
  • Reeder for iPhone
  • Camera+
  • Flixster
  • FCC Test
  • Sol Free
  • Stitcher Radio

Now there are a few more applications, but the 10 above are the most used that I would miss. Of the 10, only 2 were not available in the Android Market Place, but that didn’t seem to be a compelling reason for why I chose the iPhone.

I then looked at items such as cases, Android Phones offered, cellular network and so forth. I still concluded that neither was more important than the next. Granted I learned the T-Mobile data speeds were much faster than that of AT&T on 3G, but again concluded that it was just a matter of time before that was no longer an issue.

The Revelation

Then after reading the 37 Signals article, Ten Apps is All I Need, a great point was made by the author Niall Larkin regarding iPhone.

“It’s my favorite piece of technology and has been for years. Do you know why? Because Apple nailed the basics. Safari, Camera, iPod, Clock, Weather, Photos, Messages, Mail, and Maps are the apps that I use 95% of the time. Those are the ones that made me buy the phone and stick with it.”

I had to agree with this comment, but what separates the iPhone from Android for me is the iPod function. Sure Safari, Mail, Maps, and etc are great, but they don’t function any better than their Android counter parts. The iPod is what makes the iPhone stand out from Android.

It’s an iPod, a Phone and Internet Communicator

Before the iPhone, the iPod was Apple’s dominate product. Let’s face it without iPod the iPhone may never have come to be. I use my iPod App each and every day. I use it when I come to work, I use it at work and I use it coming home from work. On the weekends I have it connected to my iLuv or my stereo.

Though only 8GB in capacity I am able to enjoy my full collection of iTunes while at home via iTunes Home Share and on the 3G network with applications such as the PogoPlug App. The icing on the cake is that it provides me cell phone and access to the Internet.

But Android Can Play Music Too

Android may have a music player, but in my world without access to iTunes it simply is not worth the headache just as having a typical MP3 player is not worth the headache. When I connect my iPhone to my iMac all my music is synced, my pictures can be imported to iPhoto, a backup is made and I am on my way. No mounting of device, no dragging & dropping, and no lost data like with Android. In the immortal words of Steve Jobs “It just works.”

The experience will become even better once iCloud and iOS 5 are launched this fall. With Music Match I will have all my music in the cloud and will be able to retrieve it at any moment, without having to go through the trouble of uploading it to services like Amazon Cloud and Google Music Beta.

In the end the reason I wanted the iPhone in the first place is the same reason I will continue with the device, it is my iPhone, the one device for music, Internet and apps

My Apple Life

In his editor’s note in the March 2010 edition of Macworld, Jason Snell penned a great quote

“ The entire point of Apple’s products is that they are not interchangeable with anybody else’s. Only one company makes Macs, iPhones, and iPods, and that’s Apple.”

That statement was never more truer then after last nights experience I had trying to hack my Apple TV with Boxee. The hack ended up rendering my Apple TV useless, leading me to  a factory restore (hold down the menu button and the minus button at the same time until it reboots). In the past I loved to tinker with computer related equipment and normally the Boxee hack would have proceed, that was until I purchased my first Mac back in 2006.

You see I have swallowed the Apple Kool-Aid and like a cold glass of Grape, with a little extra sugar, its fantastic. I own a iMac, a MacBook, a iPhone, a Apple TV and several iPods. I would eventually love to own an iPad.

The geek in me loves new gadgets and over the last few years my gadgets have centered around Apple. All my Apple devices work with each other without any issues and the software is top notch. I have run 3 versions of OS X as a Mac user. I enjoy the community of MacHeads as they are simply head and shoulders above the rest.

Back In January in an attempt to get back to my tinkering ways, I purchased an HTC Droid Eris. Though I thought it was a great phone for the price it just didn’t fit my Apple lifestyle, and as Jason stated, it just wasn’t “interchangeable” with Apple. Not only that the Android community was not up to the challenge like my fellow MacHeads. So I took the phone back to Verizon Wireless and purchased an iPhone, ending my 12 plus year relationship with Big Red.

As a side note I later came across an article in the March 2010 issue of MacLife that listed the 10 steps in which you could sync your Android phone with a Mac. Yes ten steps to match the one you complete with an iPhone and iTunes. Not this is not the 10 steps upon set up but rather the ten steps each time. Setting up an iPhone takes a few steps at first but after that is is simply one step. Best of all I don’t have to tell the iPhone to mount on my Mac like an Android phone.

When it comes to my Apple products its like what Steve Job’s says “it just works.” Yes they all just work and that is alright by me. Now that may not be for everyone. At times I wish Apple would do a little more, but I don’t complain. Typically search google and find the third party app that will do what I am looking for.

I also love my OS X software that I have purchased over the years, and iTunes had been the go to app for me since I first used it on the Windows side. I still work in a Windows environment during the day and its in an operating system (XP) that is nearly 10 years old. It is safe to say it is an operating system that has gone past its recommended shelf life. Like an old gallon of milk, it needs to be thrown away. After a week at work its nice to come home and work with my Apple gadgets and delve into my Mac Life.

The Mac lifestyle has been good to me and I for one am satisfied living in my Apple Lifestyle.