The days of Blockbuster and high street DVD rentals are fast coming to a close, with many online services popping up and offering TV and film streaming in their place. We take a look at the services on offer, and tell you about each one.
What is Now TV?
Now TV is the new kid on the block, offering movies from Sky Movies. It only offers films at the moment, but there may be more content to follow in the future. It’s currently available on Mac, PC, Android and Apple devices, as well as the Xbox 360 and Roku. There is also a Playstation 3 app in development. You can either pay a monthly fee (£14.99 per month), or pay for films as you go.
Read our full guide to Netflix, Lovefilm, and other online film services
Best value – Netflix, LoveFilm or Now TV?
While Now TV is trying to compete with Netflix and LoveFilm, it isn’t trying to do it on price. The subscription version of Now TV (£14.99) costs three times as much as LoveFilm Instant – the streaming only package costing £4.99 a month – where Netflix costs £5.99 a month.
But deciding which offers the best value is difficult. Part of the reason Now TV is so much more expensive is that Sky holds more rights to latest film releases, and it claims it’ll add five new films every week that aren’t available on any other service. It is, in other words, putting a price on what it sees as a superior library.
All three services offer a month’s free trial.
Winner: For now, this is a tie. Now TV is by far the most expensive, but value is in the eye of the beholder and depends on the quality on offer. We’ll call this a tie until we can examine Now TV’s library fully.
Ways to Watch – Now TV vs Netflix vs Lovefilm
After a slow start, Now TV is now available on quite a range of platforms, although it’s still behind Netflix and Lovefilm for sheer number of ways to watch. Unlike the other two streaming services, it’s not currently possible to stream Now TV directly through your Smart TV.
Netflix, on the other hand, is compatible with TVs and Blu-ray players from Samsung, Sony, Panasonic and LG as well as iPhone, iPad and some Android tablets and smartphones. It is also available through an app on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii games consoles.
LoveFilm doesn’t have quite the same choice of devices, but it is available on Sony, Samsung and LG TVs, as well as the iPad, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii and Wii U.
Winner: Netlix wins here. It’s available in lots of different ways, and its apps are easy to use.
Which has the best content? – Now TV, Netflix or Lovefilm?
This is where Now TV comes into its own, offering access to all the Sky Movies channels as well as premium titles at the same time as they appear on DVD and a full 12 months before they will be available on Netflix or Lovefilm.
At the moment Now TV only has films – whereas Netflix and LoveFilm offer TV shows as well – but later this year Sky will also add its sport and entertainment content to the service, giving customers a huge amount of choice. Whether it comes at an extra price remains to be seen, but it seems likely.
Unfortunately, unless you are accessing the service through the Xbox 360 or a Roku device, you won’t be able to watch films in HD.
Netflix and LoveFilm, however, do offer HD streaming where they have HD content available, although the choice of movies, particularly recent releases, is a lot less than Now TV.
Winner: Now TV for all the latest movies, although the quality isn’t as good as its rivals, yet.
The best film streaming service?
The best film streaming service depends on what you’re after, and what device you’re going to use to access the content. We’ve listed all the details of the main three services below.
But all have 30 day trials, so you can give them a try and share your comments below.
- Online film rentals – our guide to watching films through the internet
- Online TV guide – guide to services such as BBC iPlayer and ITV Player
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