Paying the price
If you’re using a set-top box, or a games console, the selection changes again.
But what of the content? Most of the services are based around major movies, though Netflix, Lovefilm and BlinkBox all have a selection of TV content too. There are also some notable niche options like FetchTV’s live Hellenic TV, concerts and music, and indie movies packages, which provide all-you-can eat streaming of sections of their content. BT Vision similarly has themed categories in addition to its pay per view content.
BlinkBox appears on the web and on some smart TVs
While catch-up services are available for free, most of the others – though see below – expect you to buy or rent content. iTunes, for instance, allows both rental and purchase of films, but doesn’t have TV rentals in the UK.
AceTrax and BlinkBox both have some items to rent and some to buy. Annoyingly, sometimes you can only buy when you might want to rent. The Danish series The Killing is for sale on BlinkBox for instance, at £17.99 for series 1 and £14.99 for series 2, but you can’t simply rent it.
If you’re a ‘box set’ type of person, prices can vary quite a lot, and Netflix has a lot of material available to stream. Series 1 of Spooks is available on Netflix; you can also buy it for £7.99 on iTunes, or £9.99 on BlinkBox.
iTunes has plenty of classic Doctor Who, at around £4.99 a story, with the new series coming in at £20 for the lot. BlinkBox has series 4 at £1.89 per episode, while Netflix has seasons 1 to 4.
iTunes' music may be DRM-free, but its video content isn't - but there's a lot to buy
The more criminally inclined will find shows like Morse at £4.99 and Prime Suspect at £2.99 per series on iTunes, or on Netflix. Film prices vary too; the Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo with English audio isn’t available on Netflix, but it is available with Lovefilm’s streaming service. You can rent it from AceTrax for £2.49 or buy it for £8.99, rent from BlinkBox for £2.99 or buy for £6.99, while iTunes offers it to rent at £2.49 in SD and £3.49 in HD and buying prices of £9.99 or £13.99, respectively.
Also worth noting is that some new material appears on sites like iTunes very quickly. You can buy the recent series of Sherlock on iTunes for £10.99 in HD. At the time of writing, however, you could also watch it on iPlayer completely free, though only for a short time.
iTunes has SD, HD; buy and rental options
Check too how buying works. iTunes provides downloads, tied to your Apple Store account. BlinkBox and Acetrax allow you to watch online from your digital library, or you can download to a single PC. If such a service disappears and you’ve not already downloaded your purchases, you may well lose them altogether.
Next page: Low rent
It's also still too pricey
When they're asking £2 - £3 an episode, you might as well subscribe to the full package with either of the incumbents - it'll work out cheaper. In an average week the TV is maybe on here for 5-6 hours a day between us, so let's be really generous and say 5 one hour episodes (most are shorter) at £2. Or, around £280 a month to replace TV with IPTV.
Knock it down to 1/5th of that and we're talking. Of course the ISPs will then put their prices up to cover the increased bandwidth use... so you can't win.
Youview sounds good. Neflix and lovefilm are a joke unless you like movies over 5 years old (and *somebody* tell Netflix that 'Chitty Chitty bang bang' is not scifi!). Blinkbox has so many adverts it's basically unwatchable (When the adverts are so intrusive you can't follow the story any more, what's the point?) .
I'm also looking at Raspberry Pi to help (waiting for a plex client) to improve the WAF on my existing setup (since new TVs are totally out of the question in the current economic climate) enough so I can tell VM where to shove it. When that's gone there's money waiting for an IPTV provider that doesn't suck, when one appears.
It just gets worse
Our village has poor broadband, 1/2 MB is pretty good going, and there are no plans to improve it even though we are less than 4 miles from a major town. There must be many places where they'll get left behind. The current thinking is that 90% of the population will get a decent speed, but that still means 6,000,000 without.
We don't have gas either, but are only 1/4 mile from the main supply to Leeds and beyond.
Still, we have two pubs!
Until blinkbox goes away taking your "purchases" with it. Frankly, purchases tied to accounts is simply not sustainable. Pretty soon you're going to have 5 different accounts all with different purchases that you never owned in the first place.
I'd rather get a dvd, at least I won't have to worry about not being able to watch it a few years down the line and can still rip to non DRM'd up the pooper files that do, really, play everywhere.
Just like Hulu
Why the hell the BBC simply doesn't let non-UK residents pay a "licence fee" to watch beats the heck out of me.
Oh yes....artificial barriers to free trade.
Content, Accessibility and Price.
Not enough content and too slow. Not universally available and easy to access. Too expensive for run once streams.