LOVEFiLM Instant – what you need to know

LOVEFiLM Instant is the veteran DVD-by-post rental company’s attempt to tackle the streaming video market. Now owned by Amazon, LOVEFiLM offers thousands of films for a flat monthly fee. But what do you get, how much is it and what do you need to get on board?

What do you need?

You can watch LOVEFiLM on a PC or Mac, of course, but the service is also available on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles (sorry, Wii owners), Smart TVs from Samsung, Sony and LG as well as Blu-ray players and set top boxes from the same manufacturers.

Sadly, there’s no Android support at the moment, for either mobile or tablet. LOVEFiLM is also missing the ability to synchronise viewing between different devices (as you can with Netflix) so you can’t start watching on TV and then switch to a tablet to carry on later.

What do you get?

LOVEFiLM has a library of over 5000 films and TV shows waiting to be watched. Where Netflix skews sightly towards TV, LOVEFiLM (as befits its name) focuses more on feature films. It has the same noticeable lack of brand new films as its rivals but the selection is broad and there seem to be fewer direct-to-DVD filler flicks.

Film and TV choices are organised into well curated collections with titles like ‘Guilty Pleasures’, ‘I haven’t seen that in ages!’ and ‘Family Favourites’, which can help you locate things you might otherwise have missed.

If you have a big HD screen you might be disappointed in LOVEFiLMs decision to only streams movies in standard definition for now. This makes for a smoother, stutter-free viewing experience, but you will definitely notice the difference on all but the smallest screens.

What does it cost?

Like rival service Netflix, LOVEFiLM Instant has a flat fee for monthly access. It is a quid cheaper than its rival though, charging just £4.99 for a month of unlimited viewing.

If you want to make use of LOVEFiLM’s DVD-by-post rentals then pricing is a bit more complicated. E.g. you can get three discs per month and two hours of Instant streaming for £5.99, or pay £7.99 for unlimited streaming plus one disc per month. Other, more complicated, subscription options are available.

You can sign up for a 30 day trial before you commit to anything or, if you get your broadband from TalkTalk, you are entitled to a whole year of free LOVEFiLM instants access with high-end subscriptions.

About author
Stuart Houghton has been writing about technology for over a decade and messing about with it since he was old enough to press buttons. Stu is the former UK Editor of Kotaku.com and specialises in tech writing for several UK publications. He is also part of the IT team for a major UK charity.

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