Attention UK-ians, there’s no need to continue living in ignorance of the joy of hi-def streaming. Video rental service Netflix, fresh from conquering the US, has launched a service for all of us cowering under a bucket on these benighted shores.
Available through Internet-connected televisions, PCs, the Xbox 360, PS3 and even the Wii, Netflix offers immediate access to a catalogue of films and television, some of which play in various flavours of HD quality. A quick scout around the library of titles this morning shows an interesting selection of somewhat older movies on offer, with many newer titles conspicuous by their absence. However, the company has signed deals with broadcasters such as the BBC, Channel 4 and ITV, as well as movie distributors Miramax and Lionsgate, and it seems likely that further contracts will be in the works.
Netflix are currently running a promotion offering new users a one month free trial of the subscription service, with a monthly cost of £5.99 if you’re happy to keep the plan going. Rival service LoveFilm, owned by giant online retailer Amazon, is striking back with similar free trials, and dropping the price of it’s lowest-tier package offering streaming films and TV shows to £4.99 a month.
While we’re not in to hocking any one product over another here at CG towers, it’s encouraging to see more companies entering the emerging web entertainment market. Allowing a single service to tie up the market isn’t good for any consumer, and hopefully increased competition will lead to lower prices and better experiences for all concerned.
The fact that all home consoles now provide access to multiple channels for consuming media should point out that manufacturers are keen to extend the lives of their hardware by turning them from single-use devices into home media hubs. While we’re mostly happy playing games, eliminating more of the clutter in our AV rack certainly appeals to our tidying fetish.
Let us know if you’ve tested the Netflix service, or if you’re sticking with LoveFilm, in the comments.