Picture quality is another big issue, and Netflix has plenty of content that’s billed as being in HD with 5.1 sound. The HD version of Armageddon certainly looks crisper than the standard definition alternative on Lovefilm, but – perhaps due to the use of Dolby Digital Plus – there was no sign of 5.1 audio via the HDMI-ARC connection back to my AV system.
Lovefilm doesn’t yet offer HD, though it says it's hoping to roll it out as more of its customers get decent broadband.
It’s worth noting that neither service looked quite as slick when watching on the Mac as it did on the TV. The opening time vortex on the Doctor Who TV movie via Lovefilm was tremendously blocky. Overall, I’d class Netflix as slightly above DVD quality, if you pick an HD film, and Lovefilm as slightly below. But remember, the content itself will have an impact. A 1976 Johnny Cash concert i’s never going to look as slick as more recent material.
Another consideration, of course, is whether or not you have a device that works with one of the services.
Netflix is available on some Samsung smart TVs, as well as the PlayStation 3, the Xbox 360, the Wii, and media players from Apple, Philips, Roku and Western Digital, plus Android and iOS, and some LG disc players.
Lovefilm is on some Samsung, Sony and Cello TVs, the Sony and Microsoft games consoles, the iPad, a Digital Stream IPTV box, and various other bits of Sony home entertainment kit.
It’s worth noting too that users of Linux and older Apple kit have been left out in the cold recently by Lovefilm’s switch to Microsoft's Silverlight from Adobe Flash. Netflix too uses the Silverlight plugin for PC and Mac viewing, so open source fans will likely have to opt for disc rentals rather than online viewing.
Netflix has HD and Dolby 5.1 options for some content
Making the choice
So, which should you go for? Ultimately, it will probably be the content that’s the decider for many. Of course, you could pick both, and still not be breaking the bank. My personal choice would be Netflix, thanks to the larger number of TV shows available. But for others, the extra content available on disc from Lovefilm will make it much better value. ®
Netflix vs Lovefilm
Some Other Factors.
I currently have both and found these differences...
This week Lovefilm has 2. Netflix the new releases section looks the same as it always has, so presumably no new content since launch day.
Lovefilm has lots of filtering to drill down to what you want. Netflix present about a dozen categories, chosen by them, with about a dozen films in each, again chosen by them.
Lovefilm has forums, e-mail, the works. Netflix is phone only.
Having said all that, if I had to pick one It would be Netflix for the vastly superior streaming quality. Check out Tokyo Gore Police on both services to see how big the difference can be.
Currently a better option than either of them is the local video shop. Or if you want everything an on-line service should be, try The Pirate Bay. These two streaming services are not ready yet.
One last thought.
Could the film industry PLEASE STOP SIGNING EXCLUSIVE DEALS WITH DISTRIBUTION SERVICES. You're limiting your audience for a quick initial profit.
"Could the film industry PLEASE STOP SIGNING EXCLUSIVE DEALS WITH DISTRIBUTION SERVICES. You're limiting your audience for a quick initial profit."
Exactly this. It's clear that the studios have learnt absolutely nothing from the last decade of watching what has happened to the music industry. A service that gives me only half of the content I am interested in is pointless and is the reason I haven't signed up for either Lovefilm or Netflix yet. A service that gives me most (maybe not all - Spotify-ish) is much more enticing.
No monthly charge, full HD dowloads, releases before they are released and best of all,
A free holiday in the USA!
I'm trialling Netflix at the mo
ment, and am really enjoying the offering. However, they really need to add lots of recent movies. Sky have a better selection of 'current' movies on Anytime or on their scheduled tv service.
Where Netflix has the edge is I can stop watching something on the eggsbox and pickup the Android tablet and continue watching there.
I'm surprised Amazon don't have
this offering, shirley they'll need it to deliver movies to the Kindle Fire.
Its just a shame I started experiencing the <<buffering>> issue last night - more on-device content caching please Netflix.
Expect the same from Netflix.
If you are expecting movies that are on in the cinema, expect to be disappointed.
If you are expecting movies that are out on Sky Movies, expect to be disappointed.
If you are expecting movies that are just out on DVD, expect to be disappointed.
Streaming for BOTH services are the movies that companies have already extracted all possible profit from from existing outlets.
If you want recent movies, then LoveFlim movies by post is the only option....