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LoveFilm review

John Archer

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LoveFilm
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Summary

Our Score:

7

Pros

  • Huge collection of films and TV shows
  • Good value
  • Wide platform availability

Cons

  • Picture quality very variable, even with HD
  • Only stereo audio
  • Aspect ratios not always correct

Key Features

  • More than 7,000 titles
  • Wide availability
  • Box Office section for latest titles
  • HD versions of some titles
  • Stereo sound
  • Manufacturer: LoveFilm
  • Review Price: £4.99

Although we’ve had a look at the LoveFilm ‘Instant’ movie streaming service before, a lot has happened to the platform since then. Most of it good.

For starters, in May it finally and crucially introduced HD streaming. Also in recent times it finalised a raft of pretty major (and in some cases exclusive) content deals with the likes of Miramax, Universal and Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros., Sony Pictures, Disney, eOne and Studio Canal, underlining what was already a pretty clear content advantage over its biggest rival, Netflix.

See our Netflix Vs Lovefilm head to head

Then in July the latest subscription figures suggested that LoveFilm was winning the war with Netflix, with Lovefilm hitting a two million-plus user base (up 56 per cent in a year) by March versus 1.2 million users on Netflix.

What this all means, of course, is that the time is right to have another look at the new, improved LoveFilm Instant. And the Amazon-owned service gets off to a good start courtesy of its extremely wide availability.

LoveFilm

Basically you can get it pretty much anywhere, be it a Mac or PC; iPad; the Xbox 360; the PS3; Smart TVs from Samsung, Sony and LG and many ‘Smart’ Blu-ray players. The Nintendo Wii is out in the cold at present, but its non-HD output doesn't make it the best movie partner anyway.

Platform inconsistencies

There are some inconsistencies across these platforms, though, such as that while full 1080 HD is available through PCs and Macs, you only get 720p through the Xbox, Blu-ray players and Samsung/LG Smart TVs. The most notable problem, though, is the curious lack of HD support on the PS3. This is a potentially serious shortcoming for people who mostly use the PS3 as their online portal.

LoveFilm has stated that the lack of HD on the PS3 is only a temporary glitch, but hasn’t yet put a date on when the issue will be fixed.

You also don’t get HD on the iPad, due to LoveFilm not currently having the rights to stream HD via Apple’s device. But this is as we would expect, and isn’t a major problem in our opinion given the relatively small size of the iPad’s screen.

Pricing

Turning next to LoveFilm’s pricing, it initially looks very attractive indeed at just £4.99 a month. This is a quid a month less than Netflix’s service. However, while Netflix’s price lets you access all the content at its disposal, you do need to be aware that this £4.99 sum does not give you access to everything in LoveFilm’s lockers. For Lovefilm also features a (offline for "maintenance" at the time of writing) Box Office section into which it puts the newest releases.

LoveFilm

Before anyone gets too annoyed by this, though, it’s only by carrying such a Box Office section that LoveFilm Instant can get hold of the latest releases, thanks to the separate release windows that exist for such content. Netflix doesn’t offer any of these latest ‘early window’ releases, hence it doesn’t have anything you need to pay extra for.

Strong content package

If you don’t like the idea of paying extra for anything, though, then you should be able to take serious comfort from the fact that the main Lovefilm package included for £4.99 now carries a massive 7,575 TV and film titles (3,948 TV episodes, and 3627 films). As you would expect from this, you can always find something interesting, good or both to watch without having to splash the cash on Box Office stuff.

We opted to test LoveFilm on an Xbox 360, an Apple Mac, and an iPad, in the hope that the new HD available on the first two of these platforms would truly transform the previously depressingly old-fashioned experience associated with watching LoveFilm Instant.

ElectricSheep

August 8, 2012, 9:25 pm

Cons: No Android streaming app. Game over.

Beamerman

August 9, 2012, 12:25 am

The quality of the player is really terrible. Very low quality pixellated playback to the point where not worth watching. Netflix performs infinitely better.

Saltank

August 9, 2012, 4:24 pm

I have a very slow 4Mbit DSL connection, and Netflix can stream HD. LoveFilm can't.
No surround sound is also a big let down. I will stick to blu rays on LoveFilm, for now.

Krog2b6

August 10, 2012, 7:46 pm

I have a cable 10Mb connection and use Lovefilm via my 360.
I've never experienced any connection problems with the service and although initially the HD service was not consistent, it has certainly stabilised now.
No surround sound is something that I don't really miss for a streaming service and although I have not tried Netfilx I would not hesitate to recommend Lovefilms service.

Maxik

August 12, 2012, 9:07 pm

Having recently switched from an "up to 8 MB/s" ADSL service to BT's Infinity (up to 50MB/s) service I was expecting all those Lovefilm streaming issues to go away.
They didn't! I still get the same picture freezes, pixelations and juddering as I used to.
Strangely enough when I switch from SD to Lovefilm's HD feeds my issues don't get any worse and it seems to me that it's not a bandwidth issue causing the problem, more a buffering issue where Lovefilm isn't sending the signal out consistently on time.
BBC iPlayer works great though. The extra bandwidth really makes a difference on the BBC's HD streams.

(For the techies among you - My speedtest results show I was getting a 3.4MB/s speed from my old "up to 8 MB/s" service and now get a solid 22MB/s from the BT Infinity service.)

Mick60

November 5, 2012, 5:50 pm

Got LOVEFILM instant as a package through Talktalk - its total rubbish.

I have a good download speed and my internet TV has a wired connection. I can connect to the internet to use any other programs but not Lovefilm.
I registered in mid October and dispite sending several emails, Lovefilm have not responded (5 Nov). I have even telephoned them but got cut off by their customer assistant half way through a conversation (I think on purpose).
I'm not wasteing anymore of my time on this as its total rubbish and doesn't work.
Just opens the film then buffers and does't download.
Same as above no problems with iplayer. I have a 9MB service.

Sammii Jayne Thomas

January 2, 2013, 1:54 pm

Dreadful films, Netflix is definitely better. I cancelled my account online and got a email through today saying I had an outstanding payment? So I phoned up spke to some rude idiotic bas*ard who didn't even understand basic English! Who cancelled my account for me. Even when I mad it really clear I wanted my account a cancelled he asked me to re do my card details for them to take the 4.99 out my account! Dreadful service , dreadful company I deffirently won't be recommending this company ever!

Boodangler

January 2, 2013, 3:57 pm

The content in general is pretty poor. There are some decent films that most will have seen before. Unfortunately Lovefilm have a tendency to make their numbers of movies look appealing by cramming in at least 50-60% B movies in most category's. I cancelled after my free trial when there was nothing else to watch. Netflix is no better and Now Tv is just shocking.

WittZi

January 5, 2013, 1:33 pm

I'm having to use this as my smart TV (LG) doesn't have a NetFlix App which is really annoying. Still, nothing ventured nothing gained.

Rachel

April 30, 2013, 1:50 pm

Lovefilm is very, very poor. Awful customer service, take money from your account even though you have cancelled and then wont refund your money. Range of films for Instant is rubbish. Netflix is so much better. I would never use Lovefilm again. Ever.

sammi

August 22, 2013, 3:40 am

I mainly stream Lovefilm through my Xbox. I don't get too many problems, I just hate the interface and there isn't much of a selection.
A lot of the movies are very old and there are no up to date tv shows or new releases. A few newish films crop up now and then, but not enough to justify me paying every month.
Also there is a "more like this" section when you select a film title, it seems that the same selection of movies crops up no matter what film I pick, making it pointless.
After trying both Lovefilm and Netfilx I recommend sticking to Netflix.

Cidr

September 5, 2013, 8:57 pm

Huge collection of films and TV shows; Good value; 7 out of 10???? Do you need someone to hold your hand when you go to the cinema? Have you ever watched a movie that has a rating of more than 7 out of 10 from IMDB? I'm sorry, but the movies on Lovefilm are awful with a bad selection and terrible value. I'm in the Hate Lovefilm category.

jodie

October 1, 2013, 12:56 pm

ilovefilm have the worst customer service support i have ever seen, 3 times i have called up to cancel my account and on all those accounts they failed to do so. Thankfully i changed my debit card that they cant take any money out of my account.

Angus

November 11, 2013, 12:06 pm

Lovefilm. OK but not great. Customer service not great. One guy even argued with me from the Canbury Park Road Help centre. Anyway after losing my rag I canceled and joined Netflix. The video quality and video range instantly justified my choice.
Good bye lovefilm

martin

February 17, 2014, 12:30 pm

I liked Lovefilm in the good old days when dvds were delivered to your door...but times change. I want to stream the top films now, watch what i want when i want. If Lovefilm let me stream 8 of the latest DVD releases a month for a reasonable charge Id subscribe again...but they dont or cant. Either way they lost my custom. I subscribe to Netflix now for general viewing and Blinkbox for the latest releases.

clodia

March 16, 2014, 10:09 pm

Just told Lovefilm where to stuff their videos, etc. Things were great till they changed the rules and said you had to join Amazon Prime as well at an extra cost of nearly fifty quid. Not only that, they were charging my husband the fifty quid as well. Outrageous.

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