Netflix vs LoveFilm vs Apple TV vs Now TV

It's the digital age and physical media had been replaced by internet 'cloud' services but can be a confusing world of options, prices and requirements. It was always going to be more complicated than putting a disc bought from a shop in and pressing play. Here we explain the difference between Netflix, LoveFilm, Now TV and Apple TV.

There are an increasing number of streaming services out there vying for your money so we've taken the top ones (and the Apple TV) and explained exactly what each one is and how they work, one by one. Then you'll find a section on which is best for price, content and compatible devices.

Netflix

You've probably heard of Netflix but if you haven't it's an internet streaming service which you can access on a vast range of devices. You simply sign up and pay a monthly subscription to gain unlimited streaming of the Netflix library of films and TV series.

Aside from the cost, the only requirements are a compatible device and a good enough broadband connection.  

See also: Netflix vs LoveFilm Instant comparison review: What's the best streaming service?

LoveFilm

LoveFilm is Amazon's service which still offers discs via post but we're talking about streaming here which is known as LoveFilm Instant. It works in an identical way to Netflix in that you pay a monthly fee for unlimited streaming of the catalogue of films and TV shows. You still need a compatible device and a good broadband connection.

Now TV

Slightly more complex is Now TV from Sky. In simple terms it's a way of getting Sky content without a contract. Now TV is split up into different packages – Sky Movies, Sky Sports and Sky Entertainment. You can choose which ones out of the three you want to watch.

Sky Movies has more than 800 films on offer with up to four new premieres added every week. Sky Sports gives access to all six Sky Sports channels while Entertainment allows you to watch 10 channels – live and on-demand. They are: Sky 1, Sky Living, Sky Atlantic, Sky Arts 1, Fox, Comedy Central, Gold, Discovery Channel, MTV and Disney.

The Movies and Entertainment packages both require a monthly payment while Sky Sports requires a one-off payment which gives you a Day Pass (24 hours of access).

Once again, you need a device which supports Now TV (such as a Sky Now TV Box) and a broadband connection. You can register up to four devices and stream on up to two simultaneously.

Apple TV

Apple TV is the odd-ball here because it's a device rather than a service. It's a media streamer which plugs into your TV and allows you access internet streaming services including Netflix, YouTube Vimeo and of course your iTunes library.

Furthermore, a feature called AirPlay allows you to wirelessly stream content from other Apple products such as iPhones and iPads. This works with most content and apps but some is blocked.   

Best for price

Netflix and LoveFilm both cost £5.99 per month so it's tie here, although the former has better content (see next section) so represents superior value for money. Now TV costs a lot more but that's the price you pay for Sky content.

Now TV film and entertainment packages total £13.98 per month (£8.99 and £4.99 respectively) and Sky Sports is £9.99 a pop for 24 hours access.

Best for content

If you want sheer amount of content, then Netflix is the winner here with the most amount of films and TV series. It's also got a better quality library than LoveFilm in our opinion. However, if it's latest releases you're after then Now TV is the place to be. It is also the only service out of these three to offer sport and TV channels.

Best for compatible devices

Here's a tablet of what device you can access the services on. Since the Apple TV is a device itself, we've left it out of the table but it does feature in it. We've left out PC and Mac because all are available on computers via a web browser.

Which is best depends on what devices you own, but it's Netflix which is accessible from the largest range of devices. The firms will continue to add devices as time goes on.

 

Netflix

LoveFilm

Now TV

Smart TV

Sony, Samsung, LG, Philips, Panasonic

Sony, Samsung, LG

LG

Games Console

Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, Wii U

Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, Wii U

PS3, Xbox 360

Tablet

Android, iPad, Windows

iPad, Kindle Fire

iPad

Smartphone

Android, iPhone, Windows Phone

-

iPhone, selected Android

Blu-ray player

Sony, Samsung, LG, Philips, Panasonic

Sony, Samsung, LG

-

Home cinema system

LG

Sony

-

Set-top box

Virgin Media TiVo

Sony

-

Media streamer

Apple TV, Philips, Roku, Western Digital

-

Roku, Now TV Box

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