Now TV vs Netflix vs Lovefilm – which film streaming service is best?

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


Netflix is compatible with the widest range of products

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.

Now TV

Now TV has access to all Sky Movies content

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.











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17 replies

  1. A Sony smart TV bought before about May this year is obsolete as far as Netflix is concerned – they have no plans to upgrade the firmware. Another reason to steer clear of Sony.

  2. Panasonic are just as usless with their TVs bought last year. I’ve had like 1 firmware upgrade since I bought it, and I still don’t have the netflix offering. To be honest, we’re better off using a ps3 or xbox for this stuff.

  3. Sorry, but your information on Cancellation is incorrect. Lovefilm Instant also enables 100% of its customers to cancel online

  4. I tried Netflix’s 30 day free trial.

    Pros: Ease of joining and leaving (cancelling really is easy compared to Lovefilm and its retention teams), range of devices supported (we used Wii and laptop), quality of streaming (although we have good quality Virgin broadband), ease of navigation, range of back-to-back TV series, no real hassles to rejoin.

    Cons: Got through pretty much all we wanted to see within the free month, hardly any films and no recent film releases, lack of transparency on number of films in catalogue, a bit too pushy about accessing your Facebook account (just say no and keep doing so).

    1. I think your expectations of a streaming movie service is a little harsh – no “recent” movies are going to appear instantly on Netflix or even Now TV. Studios will make their money through the rental system such as iTunes, Blinkbox and Now TV Pay & Go (although given there’s no HD and limited device support right now, why anybody want that is beyond me).

      So if you were paying Now TV £15 a month and expected John Carter to suddenly appear as part of your subscription – you’ve got another thing coming. You’d have to fork out the £15 and then pay the £3.49 to rent it. Netflix = £6 and then £3.49. JC may well end up on Now TV first, but there will still be a lengthy window before it’s made available as part of that pass.

  5. I’d imagine once Ofcom and the Competition Commission start to break up BSkyB stranglehold on exclusivity on newer (note: *newer*, not “latest” – newer = subscription, latest = rental) titles things may to even up between the different providers.

    Quite frankly, I’d stick with Netflix, LOVEFilM and iTunes. Netflix and LOVEFiLM for back catalogue (both are very reasonable and not to be sniffed at – and in particular, Netflix has a decent amount of TV content – plus you can use a Netflix subscription anywhere in the world) and then use iTunes or Blinkbox for renting the latest movies.

    Now TV perhaps will only really come into it’s own when it makes content available from Sky Atlantic. Providing that’s priced reasonably, I’d probably consider it (and by that time, they’d have fixed all the many numerous technical and marketing/PR problems that currently plague the service – including films that suddenly stop, Mac playback issues (I couldn’t playback ANYTHING and after 4 days I cancelled).

  6. NetFlix is not overtaking Cable TV. It was just a matter of time. Although the selection on Canada’s Netflix is very lackluster, it is just that much more convenient.

  7. Just got now tv 2nd night that its crashed and are unable to watch anything,the one movie we did watch kept sticking through the movie. Going back to basics DVD the way forward until the technology catches up.

  8. How are Sky still being allowed to monopolise the newer films and TV shows. ?athey have been doing it for a few years now on their TV channels by buying out exclusive rites to the likes of The Simpsons for FOUR YEARS before channel 4 can get them. Then the pyush it in o tour our faces by advertising it on pick TV on free view. How is this fair for people who are not loaded and can’t afford their extortionate subscription fees.

  9. Netflix vs Love Film

    We found love film streaming to be “glitchy” & had a lot of break down errors but were good for series selection and there dvd rentals where reallt useful.

    Netflix was good for streaming good selection of films and tv series..


  10. Just subscribed to now tv. Films are more up to date than Netflix but the entertainment package is pointless. It can only be described as ‘semi on demand’ for example if you want to watch American horror story then you will only find the current and previous episode – eh, why not build the collection? Take note of the limitations – no Samsung tv app, no subtitles, no HD, no live channels on xbox. This service is overpriced, under featured and I won’t be paying for it again.

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