Blinkbox is a little different from the other video on demand offerings simply because it’s not a service offered by a household name such as Google or Apple and is not a UK version of an established US video rental service a la Netflix. Given the breadth of films and TV programmes it offers and the number of discounts on offer, it deserves to do well. Last year, it caught the eye of Tesco, which now owns 80 percent of the service, but aside from an option to enter your Clubcard number to accrue loyalty card points, there’s no indication of this. See also LOVEFiLM app review.
You can use Blinkbox online on your PC, Mac or laptop, on an iPad or on an LG or Samsung Smart TV. The app came preinstalled on the Samsung 6000 Series TV we tested, for example. However, you don’t need to invest in a 46in HDTV in order to enjoy Blinkbox; it works just as well as an iPad and has some of the best value titles around. Regular mailings alert you to deals such as 99p downloads and a slew of free-to-air programmes. Another option is to stream for free any DVD movies you own – as long as you bought them at Tesco. Visit Netflix app review.
Inevitably perhaps - and Blinkbox is not the only service to which this applies - there are many lesser known titles making up the numbers in the on-demand archive. Brief synopses and details of what else the actors have appeared in, along with links to these other films, help you decide what to watch.
Blinkbox is saddled with more advertising than we'd like. There are discount deals on the home screen when you log in on your laptop, but video adverts also start playing whenever you're browsing the site looking for a film to rent. When using Blinkbox on our Smart TV, the same advert would play each time we started trying to watch something, while the programme itself didn't always play the sound. We had more joy with Blinkbox on our iPad. Here, the unfussy interface with simply a library of purchased programmes and movie titles allows you to get straight to the entertainment. You can't save items to your iPad or browse the Blinkbox store to choose new films to stream. There are occasional sound issues, but playback on the iPad was decent enough and, given the 99p cost of much of the archive, we thought the service well priced.