Review: Netflix vs. Lovefilm streaming

Lovefilm has been around in the UK for years, originally a DVD rental by post service which has since expanded it’s service to offer game rental and steaming films. Netflix which is very well established in the US has recently been launched in the UK, offering a streaming only service, but with a wider choice of TV shows as well as movies. Both services are offering free one month trials to entice new customers.

The monthly subscription fee for Netflix is £5.99, and the comparable subscription from LoveFilm (streaming only) is £4.99 (introductory offer). Arguably LoveFilm has the widest selection on Films available to rent, however relatively few are currently available to stream over the internet, usually its the older releases that are made available to stream but the new releases remain DVD/Blu-ray rental only. Obviously this creates an added incentive for subscribers to upgrade to a bigger package, but probably also has something to do with licensing and cost.

Netflix has a greater selection of TV shows to stream and has created partnerships with BBC, ITV and Channel 4 to keep ahead of the competition in the TV show streaming arena.

Netflix also utilizes adaptive streaming which makes it more effective on lower bandwidth connections. If you have a connection that can sustain full 1080p HD quality video and the movie of choice supports it then this is what you will get, if on the other hand your connection struggles to sustain the bandwidth required to sustain full 1080p it automatically scales down to a bitrate your connection will sustain without undue buffering or disruption.

Breakdown:

+ Netflix has the better selection of TV shows
+ Netflix has better quality / higher resolution video content (1080p)
+ Netflix streaming is more suitable on lower bandwidth connections due to adaptive streaming
+ Netflix has more films available to stream
+ Netflix is compatible with more devices than it’s rival (PS3, XBOX 360, WII, Popcorn Hour, PC, Tablet, Smart TV’s, AppleTV, WDTV and many more)

+ Lovefilm has a better selection of Movies to rent
+ Lovefilm has newer movie releases available to steam, although not all are included in the basic package
+ Lovefilm also has a game library for XBOX, PS3 and WII
+ Lovefilm has different subscription packages to suit different tastes

Conclusion

While i do appreciate the simple interface and reliable streaming both services offer neither have a UK streaming catalog wide enough to warrant my continued subscription. Unfortunately neither service had the scope to keep me entertained even in the short term, in fact i struggled to find a decent film i hadn’t already seen. I found many i hadn’t seen just none that i felt were worth watching. Both services had a lot of ‘filler’ films, by which i mean poorly rated, straight to DVD Hollywood flops!  Personal taste i know and that won’t be the same for everyone.

I think the idea is fantastic, being able to stream a wide selection of blockbuster films on demand with no waiting and from the comfort of your own living room. Unfortunately both services still need time to build up their online collection with quality titles customers will want to watch. My recommendation to perspective customers would be to take the free trial for a month and if there are still plenty of films remaining which appeal to you consider maintaining your subscription. I think most people will prefer to wait perhaps 6 months or a year to give time for the catalogs to grow.

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