LOVEFiLM is perhaps the most recognisable name here – it’s existed as a films-by-post service for more than five years. There’s now a streaming service too, delivered to certain models of TV and Blu-ray player from Sony, Samsung LG and Cello, plus to Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 games consoles, Apple iPad or to a PC or laptop screen. See also Netflix app review.
It costs £4.99 per month for the streaming service, with a 30-day trial period so you can find out whether LOVEFiLM is for you. If you prefer, you can choose a mix and match streaming and DVDs by post service for £7.99. This buys you unlimited streaming rights and allows you to have a single DVD or Blu-ray disc out at any stage; there’s a further option to add games to the mix too or to have multiple discs at once.
There’s some sense in choosing the combined DVD by post and LOVEFiLM Instant option since not all are are available for streaming. Even so, we were told there was a choice of more than 6610 viewing options for our LOVEFiLM Instant streaming deal. There are 1000 additional titles available on LOVEFiLM Box Office: but this is an additional pay-per-view service. Headline titles such as brand-new blockbusters are often posted-out DVDs though. Finding your way around is complicated by the way LOVEFiLM serves up curated lists. When we tested the service, we counted over 140 TV titles, from series of Thunderbirds and Morph to The Mighty Boosh and Life On Mars. You can reserve titles listed in the What's Hot section if you have a DVD and streaming subscription. Trailers for all are provided.
LOVEFiLM prides itself on offering exclusives for some titles, making them available to its customers ahead of competitors. All of the exclusive deals are available to LOVEFiLM Instant customers and the firm has deals with Studio Canal, eOne, Warner Bros. and Sony.
Using the service is as straightforward as can be: click a film title to start watching on your iPad or laptop screen. There are no ads, and streaming is smooth and stutter-free. We were delighted by the flawless playback of films with ranging action scenes such as the lengthy panning shots in Source Code. If you watch a title, it shows up in your account menu the next time to log in, but there's no corny questionnaire about your preferred viewing options.