Netflix vs LoveFilm. With the DVD being nearly consigned to the graveyard, it’s high time for another slightly petty format war for control of the nations telly (and computer. And tablet. And Phone) screens.
Stateside, of course, Netflix has pretty much won, sitting comfortably as a supplement to catch-up services like Hulu. However, they took their sweet time crossing over to the UK, giving the entrenched DVD rental service LoveFilm time to do a deal with Amazon for their streaming tech and launch Lovefilm instant.
Now, with streaming services, there are a few facts of life you have to accept. The studios aren’t going to let a title onto a streaming service until they’ve wrung every last penny from the DVD. Lovefilm provide a PPV service for newer titles – this review mainly encompasses the £5 a month Lovefilm Instant service that competes with Netflix.
Lovefilm Review: Streaming Quality
Lovefilm has a shade under 7000 titles for streaming, all in glorious Standard Definition – it’s not going to be replacing a bluray player, but it is DVD quality. Expect it to take up 2mbps from your broadband connection – most home connections should cope fine, but mobile broadband users might struggle a little bit. (That said, watching video on mobile broadband gets expensive in a hurry)
Lovefilm is DVD quality, and in stereo only. They’re clearly not pitching to folks invested in big screen and a home cinema, who’ll probably want to stick to Blurays (which they still rent). That said, if you’re like most and are happy watching a DVD, you’d be happy with the quality on display here.
Lovefilm Review: Devices
If your device is hooked up to the internet and your TV, it can probably stream Lovefilm. The three major games consoles are supported, as are most setup streaming options. A range of Bluray players also support Lovefilm, as to most Smart TV’s. For folks on the Xbox 360, the dashboard supports Kinect, giving an intuitive remote-free control.
On the mobile side, Android devices are supported, as are iPads, iPods and iPhones. Window’s phone is also supported.
Lovefilm Review: Content
Lovefilm has around 7000 titles in total, most of which are films. They’ve got the hits front and center, such as The Dark Knight & Kick Ass, but their recommendations are also quite good at exposing the lesser known gems they have available. And make no mistake, for those looking for a movie beyond the summer blockbusters, LoveFilms the hands down winner with thousands of classic titles, indie hits and foreign treats.
That said, there is a reasonable amount of TV content to be had. The BBC are well represented, with most of their hits from Dr Who to Red Dwarf to Prime Suspect are present and correct, and ITV have many of their dramas on the service as well, something that Netflix lack. Channel 4’s content is a bit thin, but then they put so much of their content out for free on 4OD that it’s probably not much of a selling point on its own. From across the pond, LoveFilm have ABC signed – meaning you can get trolled by the writers of Lost all over again or binge on Desperate Housewives. It’s not a bad offering, but if your more a TV person than a film buff, Netflix is probably more for you.
Lovefilm Review: Verdict
The tech’s good – It’d be nice to have HD and surround sound, but if you’re the sort of person who’s big on that then you’ll probably be more likely to go for their Bluray rentals. There’s no social integration either, which I refuse to mark the down for because Netflix’s habit of announcing to the world that I’ve just watched S1E03 of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is pretty annoying.
Get 30 days free Lovefilm here.