Firstly I would like to point out the obvious: downloading movies is illegal and I do not endorse it. What I put to you today is that buying a movie always gives you an inferior experience to pirating it.
If I was to download a film I could sit back and simply watch it. I could press play and it would start immediately. Unlike when they are portrayed by adverts in DVDs, pirated movies are top quality 1080p copies and offer a great viewing experience.
When I buy a DVD I have to get up and find the thing, then I put it in the TV and I have to watch a few trailers, then the menu finally arrives and I have to get up again to press play (ok i should have a remote but still). Then I have to watch adverts telling me not to pirate a film because it's the same as stealing a car. If I was sold a car and the salesman made me sit through an advert telling me not to steal cars I would cancel the deal and make damn sure someone else got the commission.
All in all the experience with pirated movies is far superior. I hope one day a legal service will allow me to purchase movies online and download them. I have tried every service I can find. If anyone has better suggestions please share.
iTunes - Tied to Mac - can't move them around easily. Limited content.
Netflix / Lovefilm / other streaming service - Limited content. Must be connected to internet. Can't download and watch later on a plane. Terrible quality - in fact the adverts saying 'would you steal a car' that you get on DVDs showing a terrible pirated movie could well have been filmed from my Netflix account.
Finally, to buy a DVD, download on iTunes, or stream, you need to wait for months after the film was screened in the cinema. In the UK the DVD is often released months after in the US. There is a long period after a film was in the cinema during which it is not possible to buy the film through any legal means, but perfect copies are available for free all over the web.
As I said at the start of this post, I'm not endorsing pirating films, but with all the above why on earth wouldn't you?
Given the experience above I would like to make a plea: To all those in the movies industry, wake up! If you can provide at least an equal experience to pirating many many more would pay for content. If you continue like this you are incentivising people to pirate movies. Wake up!