Earlier this year, the popular US-based video streaming provider Netflix, landed in the UK. The Netflix brand, despite only having been available stateside until 2012, was already well recognised globally, and its arrival is long overdue. Netflix, to those who do not know, offers streaming of video material – mostly films, but with a selection of television thrown in – direct to your computer, for a monthly fee. For the flat rate of £5.99 a month, you can stream unlimited video content, not just to your computer but also your Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii or PlayStation 3. On the face of it, this seems like the future.
Netflix’s main rival is Lovefilm (see our rundown of the online DVD and Blu-ray rental services), the online DVD rental-by-mail service provider, with thrown in streaming subscription service. Lovefilm had a fourteen month head start in the UK streaming market, launching their first Lovefilm players in November 2010. So if you’ve not paid attention to the online streaming market so far, which company is worth your money?
There are nearly 10,000 titles in the Netflix collection and fewer than 6,500 in the Lovefilm collection, both of these include TV shows as well as films. It is important to note that over 1,000 of Lovefilm’s collection is pay-per-view and so you have to pay per episode/film, on top of your subscription. Both offer a varied selection of content that will suit different people – Netflix with a greater selection of UK television for example.
Both are easy to use on your computer, and boast very simple interfaces for the consoles and tablets that they both cater for. Netflix’s simplistic design looks like it was designed for TV usage, unlike Lovefilm which looks a lot nicer on your monitor.
Overall, both services are still underdeveloped in terms of content and this is the main thing that holds them back. Netflix’s arrival will hopefully put an end to this, however, as competition will surely shift each team up a gear, to grab a more diverse and fuller range than the other. Make use of the month’s trial and see how it works out for you.