back to article Have Brits fallen for Netflix, or do they still LoveFilm?

BBC iPlayer turned five at Christmas, and the Corporation reported some pretty impressive usage statistics as it did so. While iPlayer is something of a juggernaut in the IPTV world, it’s only relatively recently made the leap from PC to living room and connected devices such as smart TVs and set-top boxes. Arguably 2012 was …

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Netflix, Lovefilm, Blinkbox

These services are okay, but it's hard to get excited about an offering that serves up thousands of repeats in exchange for a lock-in contract. Broadcast TV seems to be about 80% repeats, often repeating the same material several times a week. Combine that with intelligent PVR ownership and series-link recording, and the public's appetite repeat TV is pretty well catered for.

Blinkbox offers the slightly more interesting possibility of pay-as-you-go.

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Stop

Re: Netflix, Lovefilm, Blinkbox

There isn't a lock in contract, you can cancel it at any time you want.

I've got a Netflix subscription which I share amongst the family (IIRC you can have two concurrent streams at once, keeps the kids quiet, one watches on the Wii U and another on the PS3) and there is enough content on there for me to warrant spending the 6 quid a month. I can cancel at any time, but that 6 quid a month gets me TV shows which I haven't seen (Life on Mars for instance), shows which I have seen but aren't available on iPlayer (Red Dwarf which I'm watching with the kids - okay granted we could watch it on Dave, but we'd have to wait for them to come back on again, on Netflix we can watch them in order) and things in HD that I have DVD box sets for but aren't available on Bluray (24 seasons 1 to 7 for instance). There's also exclusive content like Arrested Development which I'm a big fan of, and a fair few movies to keep the kids entertained, and some movies that I'd not normally get to watch.

If I went down the Blinkbox route for Red Dwarf I'd be paying about £5 to buy a series or £1.99 per episode. That's great but I have DVD box sets that I rarely watch, that £5 per series could just pay for a Netflix or Love Film subscription for a month.

Still YMMV, it's good to have the choice, just wish there was native Linux support (I find Netflix on Wine is a bit pants on my machines) and it would be nice to intergrate the services with XBMC on Linux, but well until that happens I'll just carry on using it on the consoles. Oh and great tip from the others on here about the DNS thing, I signed up for a trial, considering it's only £3 a month, it doesn't break the bank :-)

Rob

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Netflix Great/LoveFilm Not so good

I signed up to Netflix and Love Film before christmas, during that time I use Netflix heavily. Either on my (andriod) phone, PS3, Wii, PC, the missus uses her iPhone as well. The applications always run smoothly, work fine over HSPDA/EDGE. There is the problem where is can forget what you last watched, but it is easy to find the content.

LoveFilm is limited to my PS3 or a PC and has a terrible search mechanisim. I have a LoveFilm instant account. When I perform a search I don't want to see things available on DVD. Whenever we have tried to use it, we search/browse and then find out it is only available by post. The search feature and the fact it is limited to my PS3 is why I am cancelling this month.

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Re: Netflix Great/LoveFilm Not so good

"LoveFilm is limited to my PS3 or a PC"

Pretty sure Lovefilm works on at least as many devices as Netflix. I've used it on my smart TV, Wii and on an iPad as well as the ones you've mentioned.

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Stop

Re: Netflix Great/LoveFilm Not so good

Please point me at the Andriod and iPhone application, all I kind find is an order by post application. I think LoveFilm has been limited to the Fire when it comes to small devices.

The Wii update only appeared in the last few weeks and I haven't had time to try it yet. But if it is like the PS3 LoveFilm application I don't have much hope, even 4oD player is better than LoveFilm on the PS3.

The web expearences are quite different from a UI perspective as well, the search facility is painfull and the web design looks like play.com from 5 years ago.

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Meh

LG TV

Don't have a lot of choice right now, since LG hurled lovefilm at us Netflix is no longer a choice, unless I want to watch it via a smaller screen on my Xbox, as they removed it from the dash to make way for lovefilm.

Lovefilm is ok when you get it going but the LG app is awful on the LW650t, it takes 2 mins to load the app (sometimes more) from the dash and forget trying to browse, better to do that on your pc then jump straight to it on the TV. That said, once it gets going it seems fine, so far no pauses even at peak times.

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Re: LG TV

How old is your TV? Mine's a recent LG and have both LoveFilm and Netflix apps on there.

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Re: LG TV

Bought in the Jan sale in 2012, so guessing 2011. Doesn't show in the premium features menu anymore.

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Happy

Re: LG TV

perhaps it depends upon the actual model. I bought an LG tv (LM620T) back in november last year and it has both apps and both work very well.

I had a trial with both services and have kept LoveFilm , dumped Netflix. It could be my bandwidth but the picture quality for HD content (of which there is much) is as good as the braodcast quality. They also seem to be constantly increasing the number of "collections" available.

So I've no complaints at all about the LG or Lovefilm for that.

On a side note... there have been 3 firmware updates delivered to my TV so they seem to be pretty good in that deptment as well.

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Useless

They all appear to be streaming services.

I'd quite happily pay to watch on my laptop or tablet on the train each day but as they are streaming services they are literally useless to as there is no reliable internet connection.

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Pint

XBMC Binary Addons

I've got Lovefilm, but use it for the discs, not the streaming - I'm not buying a new TV just to support the IPTV service du jour, it's bad enough keeping up with DVB-T/S2 and MHEG standards making my tuners obsolete (my current TV lasted 8 months before The Space and superseded it...). And don't get me started on Lovefilm's support for their own tablet (Kindle Fire HD) but not anything else Android-ey, and that's before I ask whether I want to dangle my 'phone out of side of the television.

No, the answer to Linux/Silverlight/everything streaming to me is to embrace XBMC's new binary add-ons. Netflix, Lovefilm, the Beeb and everyone else can write closed-source addons, including whatever advertising, geolocks, DRM or authentication they need, and provide them to work seamlessly with the rest of XBMC. I can then have the YouView experience but without a(nother) soon-to-be-obsolete box cluttering up the lounge.

Other fine media suites are available and may have similar qualities, before I get battered with Plex, WMC or other brickbats.

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HateLoveFilm

LoveFilm cold called me asking if I wanted to try a subscription. I informed them that I already had one, but would be cancelling it because they had cold called me and I don't do business with companies that use cold calling.

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Re: HateLoveFilm

Hah! About to do the same with TalkTalk.

Weds: I get a "Health Check" call which is in fact a sales call to ask me to get their TV deals. Not the first time, happens every few weeks but picking up the pace recently. As usual I say "If I want more services I'll look on the website".

Thur: Another call from TalkTalk, I refuse to take the call and am told "It was TalkTalk doing a HealthCheck - they will call back tomorrow".

Fri: expecting another call tonight where I'll tell them as a result of their harassment I'm going to cancel.

Basically TalkTalk are losing customers fast so seems they are desperately trying to get their existing base to buy more of their services. Another free Netflix trial just appeared in my inbox too.

LoveFilm can jump off a bridge or pay me back the £10 they scammed out of me during their "free trial".

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FAIL

Re: HateLoveFilm

Clearly it's not a cold call, you are on their database, as you are a customer. ...

#Cretin

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FAIL

"you are on their database, as you are a customer. ..."

True dat, but a company that doesn't separate existing customers from potential new customers is so wilfully incompetent that they don't deserve business.

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I tried Lovefilm but cancelled it because the interface was so awful. Currently on Netflix and sticking with it because the interface and streaming is much better. I hope the selection improves over time. In the meantime I use other sources to watch the stuff which is missing, which I feel is perfectly acceptable.

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Baffling

That people should choose a service based on the interface of the software rather than the content.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Baffling

Why is it baffling? If you can't find what you want or use it in an appropriate manner then it doesn't matter how great the content they have.

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Re: Baffling

Because it is sounds like saying 'It is easy to find that there is nothing I want to watch'

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Meh

Fragmentation

I currently am signed up to LoveFilm, but mainly just use it for the DVDs by post service, which is pretty good for my use case.

I am concerned about the amount of fragmentation that is going on in the streaming market though. So it looks like to me you need LoveFilm for film content, NetFlix for TV content, SKY for the most up-to-date content (plus don't they have exclusivity for one of the movie houses?)

So if you wanted to get a broad brush of everything, it means managing lots of subscriptions, plus I feel that over time it'll get worse before it gets better. I feel that broadcast TV is starting to wobble now and is losing its dominance, but I'm worried about having to sign up for service A for TV series A, service B for TV series B, service C for Film C etc. etc.

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Anonymous Coward

The key questions for many people, then, is: “What can I watch?” and “Is there one service that will give me everything I need?”

As far as that latter goes, the answer still remains a firm ‘no’. Exclusive content deals mean that, in many cases, this is likely to remain that case for the foreseeable future.

This is why I won't sign up. What is needed is someone to kill Sky's domination of the exclusive New content.

Re pricing debate, look at how much the cost of cinema tickets have gone up. Its crazy.

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Cinema tickets are indeed insane but there's often good deals on a Tuesday.

One of my local Odeons has not even bothered with a silly euphemism and just called it "Cheap Tuesday" where tickets are £4

The other nearby Odeon knocks off money for Premier Card holders.

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Anonymous Coward

Indeed if they carry on like this I won't be surprised if the rate of freetards went up.

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Happy

I have Lovefilm ( the one that includes 1 dvd at a time ) and I also have Netflix and I have just cancelled my Sky TV subsription.

I am pondering over buying a Freesat box with recording facility, but since I upgraded my broadband to unlimited fibre optic all the TV I have watched has been either Lovefilm or Netfix.

Also as someone else pointed out there are no adverts and much cheaper than my Sky subscription.

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tried both

found lovefilm slow and frustrating

found netflix quick and easy

went with netflix

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Anonymous Coward

Now TV

I heard from the inside that Now TV has attracted less than 5,000 subscribers. Mind you, with a web site that looks worse than anything I could do (and I'm a coder, not a web designer) this didn't surprise me as much as it might have done...

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Re: Now TV

Hopefully, there may be some figures for NOW TV issued as part of Sky's results, which are due out next week - they weren't willing to share anything in advance of that.

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Holmes

Might be worth noting the numbers you have for the amount of tv series and movies on Netflix is nowhere near that. Are these the totals for the american version or what?

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Bronze badge

No, those are the UK figures - those for the US (obtained via the Netflix API) are 9154 films and 4989 TV seasons. UK figures are from the Oric website - there isn't a UK API at the moment - based on their own research.

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Just cancelled my LoveFilm account because i don't watch as many films as I used to. It always annoyed me that I'd get random discs off a list because I was rarely in the mood to watch what arrived and the streaming selection is so dire it's ridiculous. Their ads trumpeting it are pretty disingenuous at best. In addition, to cancel I had to speak to an incomprehensible person in India who would not deviate from their script:

Me - "I'd like to cancel my account"

Him - "As a valued customer I can reduce your monthly payments.."

Me - "No, I want to CANCEL my account"

Him "Well as a valued customer, you can take a membership holid..."

Me - "NO, I WANT TO CANCEL MY ACCOUNT NOW PLEASE".

That alone makes me pleased to have cancelled.

I tried Netflix but their selection was similarly cack so canceled before the free trial ended (don't think I watched a single thing on it).

Blinkbox is overpriced, no question, but is really the only game in town for me as they seem to have the best selection of stream-able stuff. If they can get their pricing model to something sensible (say 2 quid for a recent release) I'd definitely use it more, but £3.49 a pop for latest releases is pretty stiff. Problem is, they have no genuine competition right now so they can charge what they like. Not sure if Sky Go will make any difference or not seeing as you basically have to have a Sky TV package to get it.

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Meh

Netflix need to do more in the UK

When they initially launched in the UK Netflix had a very poor selection. Compared to what's available in the US it's pathetic and after looking through the 'vast' amount of series and films I didn't even take up the trial. I've looked back now and then over the year to see if it's gotten any better but so far I don't see it. They may say they've doubled the content but it's easy to double such a small number.

LoveFilm..... ugh.... I made the mistake of taking up a trial when Amazon offered a voucher for trying it (thanks for the free headphones Amazon!) and I've been paying for it with "come back to us" things in the post since (no thanks for that Amazon..) The thing that bugged me about LoveFilm is how a lot of content wasn't included in their streaming packages and you had to pay more for (?!) which seemed all too like Sky when it started charging separate fees for Sports, Movies, then Sports on demand followed by movies on demand etc. Pay for access to all these movies*

*Except those others ones which you have to pay for again

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Re: Netflix need to do more in the UK

See my below post. Media hint.

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Pint

Use Netflix..

Run it through a US proxy.. Get everything. Mediahint.com is an easy way to do this for sweet FA.

I don't have a Netflix subscription now, but that's what I'd do if I still did. I'm to attached to the hoarding of the actual files without streaming and without DRM. I'd rather buy a DVD of a single movie for the price of unlimited Netflix in a month. Then of course I rip the crap out of them.

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Pie
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Re: Use Netflix..

That was going to be my tip as well.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Use Netflix..

Unblock US is pretty good too - can choose a country to be "from". Although it is a pay for service.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Re: Use Netflix..

"Unblock US is pretty good too - can choose a country to be "from". Although it is a pay for service"

Sod paying for anything,

Change dns back to your i.s.p `s, Clear cookies and any temp files, reboot router, supply new email address-->works for 2 or 3 rearms of the free 5 day trial.

T:hey dont even check the email address exists, so just stick a disposable, made up one in there.

Apparently changing the wifi card in your laptops mac address or signing up from different devices lets you do this forever, but i just google for free dns servers, there are 100`s out there and its less hassle.

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FAIL

Re: Use Netflix..

You might as well cancel NetFlix and just download everything from Bit-torrent, it's just as illegal....

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Go

Library

I use my local library, there is quite a choice of DVDs, Box sets and foreign language films. Weekly rental is £1.50 for a standard DVD, £2.50 for box sets or Blu Ray, if it is a premier, just released title then they charge £3.50 and 2 day rental. I can search online to see if a particular title is in stock at one of my local libraries.

Last week I read "Let the right one in" by John Linqvist, and watched both the Swedish and American DVDs based on the book.

Check it out, you might be surprised at what is available, and by using your local Library you may be helping to keep it open.

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Re: Library

The wife and I use our local library for movies a lot (as well as audio books) too. Lots of new titles and plenty of inventory considering there are only 398 people who live in the town. It is a really nice library and there is no fee to borrow, just a limit of three digital items checked out at any one time.

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Tried Netflix...cancelled netflix

Netflix - has some odd "cult" movies, rest of it was a real "meh". XBOX app was an awful way to try and find content I wanted to watch.

I guess I kinda like discs and browsing in video stores - the sound and image quality from full-fat BluRay is wonderful. Until they come up with a great way to find content and can provide it in high bit rate..

Content it key though. BlinkBox has got HBO stuff, which makes up for me not having Sky Atlantic. Good for them.

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Well the clincher for me being deaf was that Netflix has subtitles on nearly all of its streamed content, Love has pretty much none.

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i have both, but prefer Netflix because

1. I can watch it on my Andriod phone whilst on the toilet at work.

2. Subtitles. I frequently watch Netflix on the iPad whilst in bed and don't want to risk waking the kids up, having no subtitles on Lovefilm is a pain in the arse.

3. Access to the US / Canadian catalogue via VPN, which is awesome.

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Headmaster

Awesome?

Are you sure? It's only a video library. I would expect a bit more than that before I would be overawed.

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Anonymous Coward

The Internet is not a broadcast medium and therefore as Netflix becomes more successful the greater the problems it will face with content delivery. I understand that the networks will add bandwidth but will they be able to do it economically? Netflix may need to build data delivery centers closer to consumers to alleviate these problems. Building data delivery centers closer to consumers will be quite costly. The service may work quite well at the moment but will it scale?

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WTF?

And VOD is not a problem solved by broadcast... Whether they can afford to scale it, though, is a different issue.

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Bronze badge

"Netflix may need to build data delivery centers closer to consumers to alleviate these problems."

From a recent Reg story, it's clear Netflix *ARE* building out distributed delivery nodes - colocating with ISPs where they can, Akamai-style, peering directly with the rest so users are always served by local nodes rather than stressing a backbone.

I've just finished re-watching 24 day 2 from Netflix. The TV's built-in Netflix app can start playing an HD stream as faster than a DVD player can get in gear (Entanet FTTC, ~ 60 Mbps); even over Three's 3G to an iPad, though, Netflix generally manages to deliver decent streaming quality with about 3 brief streaming glitches out of about 15 hours of streaming.

No idea about Lovefilm, but I'm very impressed indeed with Netflix. Having been cynical about Net video for a long time, I'm stunned by the service they deliver now. I can see why even Sky are moving in that direction now, with 'Anytime+'; with decent bandwidth (i.e. not the over-contended wet string peddled by the likes of TalkTalk and Virgin) it really does work very nicely.

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Anonymous Coward

BT - service that is so last century

ADSLMax exchange + poor copper Loop = That even on a less than 3 mile line Anything downloaded or streamed punishes other users in the house who need access at the same time. British Broadband really Sucks

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Anonymous Coward

Re: BT - service that is so last century

ADSL speeds approx 4 Mb/s within 3-5 miles of exchange. Enough for streaming and downloading other things. Each ADSL line is exlusive for each household. The line is not shared with neighbors.

Virgin Cable - 100 MB - Each Cable line is not exlusive for each household. The line is shared with neighbors. Having said this one can still expect to get over 20 Mb/s.

Mobile Phone Broadband - Approx 3.5 Mb/s which is shared with all users in Phone Cell. On some occasions drops to 1 Mb/s. Only very rarely 512 Kb/s.

The British people have a number of services to meet their requirements.

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