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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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't have a Tv Licence... Love Netflix

    Netflix, cheaper than a TV Licence, and I can watch what I want when I want (so long as they have it). Ok more content would be nice, and a facility to remove "suggestions" im not interested in or tried and don't like. Works on all my devices (TV, Phone, Tablet, Console, Computer) what is there not to like?

    Oh Lovefilm, I would consider you but your insistance on putting them loud / annoying adverts on my Xbox dash was reason enough for me never to support your company.

    anonymous because I dont want the TV licence people thinking I watch broadcast tv..

    1. Toxteth O'Gravy
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Don't have a Tv Licence... Love Netflix

      >> anonymous because I dont want the TV licence people thinking I watch broadcast tv.

      Ahem. Still supposed to have one, but I won't tell.

      1. mr_jrt
        FAIL

        Re: Don't have a Tv Licence... Love Netflix

        No you don't, unless Netflix streams live stuff now...

        1. Andrew Moore Silver badge

          Re: Don't have a Tv Licence... Love Netflix

          I thought you needed to have a license as long as you owned equipment that was capable of receiving a TV signal (TV, DVR etc). As long as you are playing Netflix on a PC, or phone, or tablet, you should be okay.

          1. dz-015

            Re: Don't have a Tv Licence... Love Netflix

            "I thought you needed to have a license as long as you owned equipment that was capable of receiving a TV signal"

            Well why don't you check your facts instead of making assumptions then spreading rumours which are wrong. Idiot.

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            3. Scrumble
              Gimp

              @ dz-015

              "Well why don't you check your facts instead of making assumptions then spreading rumours which are wrong. Idiot"

              Jeebus christ man, calm down. You'd think he'd posted rumours about your leather clad donkey fetish, not gotten his facts slightly wrong about the TV licence system. Idiot

              1. dz-015

                Re: @ dz-015

                "Jeebus christ man, calm down. You'd think he'd posted rumours about your leather clad donkey fetish, not gotten his facts slightly wrong about the TV licence system. Idiot"

                Every single time there's an article on here about TV-related stuff there's inevitably a discussion about TV licensing leading to some idiot trying to tell people that they need to have a TV licence if they have equipment which is capable of receiving live broadcast TV. I've seen it so many times, and not only is this rumour incredibly misleading and annoying because it potentially disempowers people, but it's also generally irritating to see people posting nonsense because they haven't checked their facts first. Posting nonsense due to not checking facts qualifies you as an idiot. Getting annoyed at people posting nonsense due to not checking their facts is not idiotic. So you're the idiot for calling me an idiot, because I'm not one.

                1. sabba
                  Mushroom

                  Re: @ dz-015

                  @dz-015 - I am afraid I am with the other guy: you're an idiot and an incredibly rude one at that.

                2. sabba
                  Paris Hilton

                  Re: @ dz-015

                  And from the BBC licensing site:

                  "You need to be covered by a valid TV Licence if you watch or record TV as it's being broadcast. This includes the use of devices such as a computer, laptop, mobile phone or DVD/video recorder."

                  With regards to owning a device that can receive a TV signal, you simply need to prove that you are not using it to receive said live transmissions. For example, its being in a cupboard with the plug removed is sufficient. If you have a TV but only use it for watching DVDs you'd still be liable for a fine since you'd not be able to prove that you hadn't watched TV transmissions as well (unless of course you'd had the receiver removed).

          2. S4qFBxkFFg
            Go

            Re: Don't have a Tv Licence... Love Netflix

            The equipment owned doesn't matter, as long as you don't record or watch TV as it's being broadcast, it's legal.

            Not that they can check unless you (or police with a warrant) invite them in...

            1. Rob

              Re: Don't have a Tv Licence... Love Netflix

              The TV detector van has a chap in the back with a parabolic microphone and the TV Licence database, that's how they find out, the warrant and police can come later once they have their evidence, but that's unlikely as I think they go for a civil prosecution rather than criminal(?).

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Don't have a Tv Licence... Love Netflix

                No it doesn't. More false rumours spread by Capita. They rely entirely on the address database, letters with dubiously legal content and their door to door salesmen. They work on obtaining a verbal admission and the resident signing their piece of paper. On the extremely rare occasions when a warrant is obtained, it's not a police warrant, it's obtained by Capita under the current nonsensical law. If the police attend, it's solely to prevent a 'breach of the peace' and they will not enter the premises themselves.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Don't have a Tv Licence... Love Netflix

                  PS That was in reply to the person talking about detector vans and parabolic mikes, btw.

                  And police attendance is most probably because most licence refusal is currently in poorer areas where the additional cost of the BBC tax is of significance to the household.

                  1. NomNomNom

                    Re: Don't have a Tv Licence... Love Netflix

                    I believe that if you watch TV on a PC but rotate counter-clockwise while reading the bible backwards you don't need a tv license

            2. StooMonster

              Re: Don't have a Tv Licence... Love Netflix

              Yep, I have friends and family who gave up on the TV license and just use streaming stuff over the internet on their living room TVs and DVD box-sets from LoveFilm.

              They checked and are perfectly fine.

          3. jonfr
            Pirate

            Re: Don't have a Tv Licence... Love Netflix

            In Denmark and Swede you need to pay tv licence if you have smartphone, computer connected to the internet or television that is also connected to the internet. Same applies if you have a radio.

      2. Tachikoma

        Re: Don't have a Tv Licence... Love Netflix

        I have had an "exemption licence" for over 2 years now, like the OP I don't watch TV, so called them up, told them the only thing plugged into my TV is power and HDMI for the PS3. They sent a guy over, I let him in, showed him the TV/PS3 on one side of the room and the aerial/satellite leads nicely zip tied on the other side of the room. The guy went away happy and I have never seen/heard from them again.

        1. 1Rafayal

          Re: Don't have a Tv Licence... Love Netflix

          The rules on whether you need a TV license or not are here: http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/check-if-you-need-one/topics/what-if-a-tv-licence-is-not-needed-top12/

          I must admit, I thought you needed one even if you just watch iPlayer, turns out you dont - you only need a license if you watch or record live TV.

          1. JetSetJim Silver badge

            Re: Don't have a Tv Licence... Love Netflix

            > you only need a license if you watch or record live TV.

            add "on any device" to cover watching the live iPlayer feed - that also needs a license

    2. S4qFBxkFFg

      Re: Don't have a Tv Licence... Love Netflix

      "anonymous because I dont want the TV licence people thinking I watch broadcast tv"

      I wouldn't worry about it; they appear to have an unofficial policy of assuming everyone watches broadcast TV, legally or otherwise. It's not a problem though - I had someone at the door earlier this week asking nicely about it and he went away after I stated twice that I don't need one.

      On topic, we tried Lovefilm but stopped when the trial ran out due to various annoyances (no streaming on laptop/desktop due to Linux being the main one).

      I'd like to see a comparison between Netflix, Lovefilm, etc. and the various sites that use the less-common TLDs - until the legit outfits start offering a better range, they're going to find it hard to compete with free.

    3. CCCP
      Megaphone

      Re: Don't have a Tv Licence... Love Netflix

      It'd be interesting to see what proportion of the UK have speed issues watching streamed content. I don't mean average BB speeds as they are useless, rather, the pause/yawn/spinny thing rate at peak watching hours. I suspect the % suffering would be "a lot".

      Also, the streaming numbers will be boosted by the free bundles. We got £50 on Blinkbox free with the Sammy telly. Did we use it? Yes. Would we pay £3.50 per film for pause/yawn/spinny thing? No way. Incidentally, this is why iPlayer is such a success. It's free anyway. Well, not free, but you've paid for it already.

    4. mickey mouse the fith

      Re: Don't have a Tv Licence... Love Netflix

      "Ok more content would be nice"

      Use the dns hack to stream from the american service.

      Just google "use us netflix in uk" and try the different servers until you find one that works.

      I have been using this on my ps3 ever since i subscribed and realised how shit the choice on the uk one was.

      Every now and again you have to reboot the ps3 to kick it in again (usually when the film starts) and sometimes the servers suss out what your doing and block you, but in that case just go online and find another set.

      Apparently, netflix gives you a global account and serves content based on location, and even better, they really dont care if you fake your location.

      The U.S one has so much more content. More full series, more up to date films and strangely, more bbc and british produced content.

      I.p restrictions suck, the yanks get 10 times as much content for the same price.

      1. Magnus_Pym

        Re: Don't have a Tv Licence... Love Netflix

        "Use the dns hack to stream from the American service."

        Nooooo. Don't we have enough American content on TV as it is.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't have a Tv Licence... Love Netflix

      uTorrent. Because you don't need to pay....

  2. Bill the Sys Admin

    Netflix.....Nah

    "(so long as they have it)"

    This is key. Because after my free month i canceled because they never do! Netflix is so limited, films are lacking massively. TV Shows are ok, but the UK Netflix is very poor. You could VPN if you are so inclined but it doesnt change much, its still limited.

    And then there is the quality of the streaming. Poor doesn't even describe it.

    1. Ed 11

      Re: Netflix.....Nah

      Are you sure the quality of the streaming isn't more a factor of your lack of bandwidth? Streaming quality is absolutely exemplary on our setup.

      1. Bill the Sys Admin

        Re: Netflix.....Nah

        For me too enjoy watching a movie it needs to be 720p or 1080. Full screen with netflix is blurry and horrible. My connection is quick. Nothing to do with that. Just in my opinion doesn’t provide the quality i desire. Even if they did the selection is pretty poor.

    2. mickey mouse the fith

      Re: Netflix.....Nah

      No need to vpn, just use any of the 100`s of free dns servers to fake the location. Quality of streaming i get from the American netflix on my 12mb connection is way better than freeview.

  3. Longrod_von_Hugendong
    Thumb Up

    We have both...

    You are spot on Netflix bette for TV, and love film for films and DVD's for TV programs that neither have.

    In total we spend £16-ish to have the best of both worlds. The way I look at it - to have both is the same price as a basic sky subscription, without having to deal with 30mins of ads for every hour of TV. My wife likes the soaps and thats the only time the TV is on for broadcasted TV.

    We are really happy, but then again our broadband connection is pretty stable, fast and unlimited*.

    * blah blah blah its not really blah blah blah - dont care because i don't torrent stuff i watch.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Exclusivity stops me subscribing

    We have to get to a point where 'TV' distribution is like DVD, book, or even music wholesaling - that, except for a few short-term exclusives, all content is available from all systems. That avoids consumers having to join multiple services, or content being removed from a service. If exclusives do occur it should be very clear how long it will be exclusive, that time should be a couple of months at most, and that material can only be exclusive immediately after first release, not go back into exclusivity at a later date.

    I'd also like to see permanent downloads at a fair price, again from all systems that want to offer that service. I no longer have space to store physical DVD boxes. Ultraviolet may be fine, but it is not universal.

    If the content makers do not do this, they only have themselves to blame for piracy, since the only criterion for peer-to-peer distribution is that someone cared enough to record the original broadcast or to rip the DVD, recompress it, seed it, and upload a link somewhere so it can be found. (Continued distribution, for catch-up, requires that other users care to continue seeding long after the initial burst of excitement has passed - it can be very difficult to go back and watch the first seasons of a less-popular programme if you stumble upon something late in its life.) Having tried recompressing material recorded on my PVR, for a personal longer-term archive, it's not trivial but you can get reasonable results through a rote process.

  5. Dakuan

    The thing that grinds my gears about Love Film its the websites ghastly UI. It's better than it used to be when every episode of a series got displayed individually and you had to scroll through pages of doctor who episodes to find anything. But it ought not to be beyond them to display a TV Show as one item, rather than each season.

    1. Marvin the Martian

      "display a TV Show as one item"

      I definitely think each season should be one item. You mention Dr. Who --- each season totally different actors, just same branding and backstory.

      And it used to be a total mess, with all episodes of all seasons randomly ordered if you searched by series name; nor a link to 'next episode' anywhere in sight. Now it works perfectly fine.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Aye the Lovefilm website used to be brutal

      but is much improved, and they added a watch list! This is essential for me. I like to cue things up when I'm bored, and then when I actually want to watch tv in the evening I don't have to go searching. Does netflix have a watchlist yet?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Loveflim disks by post is the killer

    As much as watching instant stuff is nice and all, movies are to be enjoyed in Blu-Ray bitrates, not rubbish streamed bitrates.

    LoveFlim is the ONLY service to offer the best of both worlds. I had a NetFlix trial, just to get the free fiver from Quidco, but Loveflim is where it's at. (in the UK at least),.

    1. Annihilator
      Meh

      Re: Loveflim disks by post is the killer

      Lovefilm was painful to use for about 3 years when they had their Universal dispute, and zero mention of it on their website.

      I've had issues with Lovefilm in the past, they consistently lower their prices on plans and don't apply it to existing customers, which is an insane way to keep customers happy.

    2. Captain Underpants

      Re: Loveflim disks by post is the killer

      If you want stuff by post, then yes.

      If you don't, then it's not a killer feature, it's a waste of space. (For instance, I've no interest in disks by post because of the delay involved - I want streaming or not at all, and do not have or want a Full-HD-capable TV, so Blu-ray via post is not compelling for me).

      That said, I think it's good that someone's offering the option - a wider range of services benefits all of us.

    3. blade-runner
      Unhappy

      Re: Loveflim disks by post is the killer

      rant/

      I was looking at various websites for movie streaming over christmas (currently get Blue Ray transcodes from a dwindling choice on newsgroups).

      The problem I have found with all of them is the crap selection and poor to average picture quality.

      I have worked in TV and Postproduction for most of my career and have seen the amazing leaps in quality from PAL SD to 4K digital.

      It's depressing that we are going backwards these days to almost VHS quality in the home, and even more depressing that people seem happy with this.

      4K cinema projectors are commonplace in movie theatres in the UK now, and the highest quality material you can buy domestically is 1080p Blue Ray.

      Amazingly streaming or downloading movies seems to be mostly stuck at SD 720, with high compression.

      And the choice compared to the toal number of movies available on disc is pathetic.

      What is the point in ever increasing production quality by the movie, tv show makers and display manufacturers if we are all watching thumbnail sized compressed crap...

      /rant

    4. mr-tom
      Meh

      Re: Loveflim disks by post is the killer

      I loved Love Film initially, but then over a six month period, it seemed every other disc they sent me was filthy and / or scratched. I watched little bits of so many things that in the end I gave up on them and decided to wait for iptv. Now Netflix is here, even though the range isn't great, I simply never, ever run into quality issues, and that's on a positively medieval Internet connection,

  7. Eponymous Cowherd

    Netflix vs LoveFilm vs Blinkbox?

    I subscribe to LoveFilm and Netflix VOD services. Personally I find:-

    • Content: LoveFilm is the clear winner. Far more stuff I want to watch than on NetFlix.
    • Picture / sound quality: Not much to choose, both very good (and superior to iPlayer).
    • Reliability: Both pretty good. NetFlix suffers slightly fewer buffering issues.
    • Device support: NetFlix is the clear winner. Lack of Android support is a big issue with LoveFilm
    BlinkBox? Pay per view and each view is way overpriced for me. I have an STB with Blinkbox, but It'll have to be a lot cheaper before I consider signing up.

    1. Rob

      Re: Netflix vs LoveFilm vs Blinkbox?

      In regards to the Android support for LoveFilm, do they have an app for it on their Fire Tablets? I would have thought someone could export the apk and then sideload it on another depending on what the App requires.

    2. Matthew 3

      Re: Netflix vs LoveFilm vs Blinkbox?

      Lovefilm don't seem to have the James Bond films. Are they on Netflix or has Sky got exclusive rights for them all?

  8. James 51 Silver badge

    Both netflix and lovefilm require silverlight so no linux watching (moonlight lacks the required DRM module). Neither streams natively to playbook either (if Amazon can create the app for the kindle fire to do it they can recompile it for the playbook too).

    1. Bill the Sys Admin
      WTF?

      So very annoying, why do they not use HTML5 or does that not support DRM?

  9. IHateWearingATie

    Might be time to try Netflix / Lovefilm again

    Tried them both at the beginning of last year on a free trial and the selection available was terrible, so I went back to watching whatever popped up on Sky (£21 a month for just the entertainment package)

    However, may have another look soon and see if the Sky subscription is still needed...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, nothing legal is getting close to ThePirateBay yet.

    That's a shame because I'd happily pay for that kind of service. Just about any film ever made available to play on any device.

    Sadly the fixation with exclusive deals and DRM is killing the movie industry.

    1. Kay Burley ate my hamster

      Re: So, nothing legal is getting close to ThePirateBay yet.

      CORRECT! TPB has the best service of the three.

      The exclusive deals are the problem, some stuff will be on one and the rest on the other. The chasing of more money rather than more audience appears to be the motivation.

      Love Film is lacking in stream-able content whenever you find something good it's only available on DVD. I prefer Netflix as it doesn't get my hopes up only to crush them by saying I have to 1, pay more and 2, wait for a DVD to get lost in the post.

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      1. Prof Denzil Dexter
        Thumb Up

        Re: So, nothing legal is getting close to ThePirateBay yet.

        excellent. love the description for the queen!!

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