Newest Review: ... watch tv and films and so I didn't want to use my laptop to watch films. As such, I never used the streaming facility and after about 2 mon... more
The Better choice for those streaming on Consoles
Member Name: rialrees
Advantages: Great UI, Simple price plan, Great recommendation system, Better quality titles
Disadvantages: Comparatively limited choice, Occasionally fuzzy film quality
Netflix has been around in America since 1997, and has gone from strength to strength, gaining a huge following and a reputation for providing choice, recommendations and convenience. It's only been available in the UK since the beginning of 2012, and so there are still lots of us who haven't discovered it. Yet.
I've been a member of Netflix's direct competitor, Lovefilm, for about a year now. Lovefilm is much more well-established in the UK, having a lot more choice available on their library at present, and a wide variety of payment packages to choose from.
After signing up for a Netfllix account a few weeks ago, I have now decided to cancel my Lovefilm subscription. On balance, Netflix wins for my preferences.
Library: The Netflix library is, understandably, still expanding in the UK. It will take time for them to get the authorization and rights to stream a wider variety of titles, but I'm sure that this will happen sooner rather than later. At present, the choice is already varied and wide - There are plenty of television shows (from both the US and UK) which I missed the first time round, and Netflix will give a great opportunity to catch up on. As for movies, again there is a substantial amount to choose from, from well known classics to a few newer titles. In comparison to Lovefilm's numbers, the two don't really compare. Lovefilm has a much greater volume of titles to choose from. However, for my own personal taste, the quality of titles on Netflix in general is far superior.
If you're an incredible film buff, or you haven't missed a single episode of Lost or Scrubs since it's started, you may find yourself searching desperately for something you actually haven't seen yet, but hopefully this will change.
Account: Netflix operate on a very simple premise - everyone pays the same, everyone gets the same. They currently only offer a streaming service in the UK, so if you don't like sitting at the computer to watch a movie, or can't watch Netflix through other means (hooking your laptop up to your TV or accessing through your games console) then you might want to bear this in mind!
Accounts are currently offered on a one month free trial, with a £5.99 monthly charge thereafter, for which you can watch anything in their library - as many titles as you can handle. This is a very fair price, so long as you make use of the service!
Accessibility: This is where Netflix are, in my opinion, already leaps and bounds ahead of their competitor, Lovefilm. Both services offer streaming online, as well as through gaming consoles such as the PS3. However, the quality of the applications differ immensely. I watched both mostly through my PS3, as it meant I could watch on my television screen and in relative comfort. This is where the largest difference is hugely apparent.
The Lovefilm PS3 application currently offers a limited choice of their online streaming titles, most of which comprises of the oldest films. There are a few interesting titles available to stream, but when friends would come over and suggest we watch a movie, we often found ourselves searching for far too long, before settling on something that none of us were particularly excited about. The User Interface is slow and dull, and you have to go through an insane amount of fuss just to search for a movie you might want to see, before discovering that it's probably only available for home rental.
Additionally, the fact that loading times are rather slow (about three-four minutes to load the full application, with an added four-five minutes buffering your video), and pausing the show mid-stream turns into somewhat of a nightmare, when you discover that not only has it paused, it's also decided to start fast-forward scanning to an hour from where you last hit the X button.
Netflix is the flip side of the coin. As far as I am aware, EVERY title which is available to view on their website is also available to stream on my PS3, or an app on my smartphone. Both applications are intuitive to use, easy to search, responsive, and don't take long to buffer the video. Pausing is easy, responsive and immediate. Controls are simple, fast and do all they need to do.
Added bonuses include the fact that if you quit back out of the video, and return, netflix will automatically resume your stream from a few seconds before you last quit out, so that you don't have to search through for the relevant scene yourself. It does so with very little lag or buffering time. It also features a stream of videos watched by your facebook friends (a very nifty feature which I never thought I'd find useful - in fact, I'm finding it's the best source of new videos for me to watch!)
Video quality can be a little fuzzy at times, especially for the older titles, but this is a very minor downside in relation to its ease of use.
Overall: I'm absolutely thrilled with the service provided by Netflix so far, and have no doubt that I will stick with them for the foreseeable future. I can't wait to see how the company grows and expands their service in the UK, and I hope that many others will join up too!
Summary: By far the superior choice if you're planning to stream via console or smartphone