The way we consumer media is currently experiencing a radical overhaul; consumption of traditional media is slowly declining, while online viewing is on the up.
The rises of mobile platforms, online streaming and social sharing means that we now have more freedom of choice than ever at increasingly low rates.
With the recent launch of the hugely successful Netflix this week, theUKpublic now have even more choice.
So, what are your options are what will it cost you?
Since, it’s the newest; we’ll begin with the newly launched Netflix. Although Netflix’s has been going inAmericaandCanadafor a number of years, it’s always been unavailable to us Brits, until now.
Their UK model has dropped the postal service similar to Lovefilm which it employs in the US, so UK users will only be able to stream film and TV shows online through their PC, Laptop gaming console or mobile.
Netflix is currently offering a 30 day free trial, after this has expired, monthly membership is charged at £5.99. For this users have unlimited viewing on films and TV shows. It’s fairly easy to join as it connects via your Facebook account, as such it’ll share your viewing choices with your friends.
The selection on Netflix is relatively poor at the minute. While it has a good back catalogue of older films and a fine selection of older and current TV shows, its selection of new releases isn’t nearly as good.
LoveFilm has been knocking around for a couple of years now, it offers both online streaming like Netflix, but its primary service is postal rentals. Now owned by Amazon, it offers a 2 week free trail to new users; however it’s not difficult to find a 30 day free trail online, either as an Amazon customer of from referrals by friends.
One difference to other services is that it also provides games as part of different membership packages.
LoveFilm offers a number of membership options beginning from £4.99 up to £13.97 per month. The prices determine how many DVD’s you can rent per month and how many are dispatched to you at any one time. Membership also includes online streaming; the amount you can stream is determined by which membership package you have as well. The more expensive tariffs also offer unlimited DVD rentals.
Their packages break down as follows:
- The cheapest package is £4.99, where you are entitled to two rentals per month, but only one at a time. This does not include online streaming or games.
- There are two tariffs for £5.99, one that will allow you two rentals, which includes games, while the second option allows three rentals plus two hours of online streaming, but without games.
- £8.16 entitles you to four rentals per month, in which you will be sent two discs at a time, plus four hours of online streaming.
- £10.20 is the same as before, but includes game rentals in addition
- £9.99 per month will get two discs at one time and unlimited rentals and streaming for the month.
- £13.27 is the most expensive package, and allow 3 discs at one time, with unlimited streaming and rentals.
There also options for games only, both of which are unlimited, priced at £11.22 and £14.99 respectively.
The selection of films and TV shows on LoveFilm is considerably bigger than Netflix
– to which they are always adding. However, they have been established in theUKfor much longer. They also have a varied range of new releases, most of which are available before places like Sky Box Office, especially in its Pay-Per-View option (which costs £3.49 per film).
BlinkBox is also an online streaming service, as opposed to a rental service like LoveFilm. Tesco has recently taken an 80% stake in the company to complement its online DVD rental service to provide customers with a wider range of choice.
BlinkBox has a growing library of 9,000 films and TV shows to view. It does not require a monthly subscription fee to view films, but rather charges on a per view basis, with users being able to watch a film as much as they want within a 24 hour time period. They also provide a selection of free films and TV shows to view once you sign up.
Tesco DVD rentals is actually powered by LoveFilm, but skinned to look like a Tesco brand. As such it provides an identical service to LoveFilm.
Online streaming is also available through iTunes, where you can either buy or rent the movies and view on your various Apple products. The cost on iTunes is £3.49 for new releases and £2.49 for older titles. While buying films costs between £5 and £7.
Additionally, you can also stream films via YouTube legally through YouTubeMovies, which cost £3.49 to watch. Both of these services provide a wide selection of films to choose from in addition to TV shows.
When streaming films and other media, you’ll need to ensure you have a strong enough connection to be able to view with minimal interruption, especially if you’re paying for it. Additionally, you’ll need to make sure you have sufficient Broadband data allowance to stream content without incurring extra data charges.
The days of online streaming in theUKare still relatively early, set top boxes which allow you to stream online content directly to your TV are also available in theUK, from Apple, Boxee and LG among others, but could be an unnecessary purchase at this stage. Many argue that theUK’s current broadband infrastructure is too weak to really enjoy the benefits of this new technology. Although that could change as Virgin begins doubling speeds for their customers over the next year.