This post is from the new blog I’m contributing to, Five Hombres
About a year ago on my previous blog I wrote about how I’d discovered the wonders of LOVEFiLM. I was rather self indulgent (obviously) and how these grand plans and calculations for how I was goign to game the system and get the best value for my money. I won’t go into the exact details but lets’ just say each month my exploitation of my LOVEFiLM account had diminishing returns.
Anyway, it’s a new year and we have a new streaming service in the UK, Netflix has arrived!
It’s like LOVEFiLM, you pay your “modest” monthly fee and you can stream as many movies as you want onto your media device of choice. Netflix is a juggernaut from the US with a lot of experience and brand awareness over there, so how does it think it can take on LOVEFiLM? With superior technology.
See, as convenient as LOVEFiLM is, it only streams in standard definition and in stereo. A year ago I didn’t mind this, the only comparable product which offered a High Definition stream was Xbox Live’s Zune Marketplace, but that cost like a fiver a movie and you could only watch it like twice or something, it was timed and basically not quite as good as renting a Blu-Ray but better if you’re an impulsive person with no patience. But this is not last year, this is 2012,I want HD streaming with 5.1 Dolby Digital and I want a monthly fee with unlimited views. Netflix says “Hello”.
Depending on your internet connection, Netflix will stream content up to HD in Dolby Digital 5.1. It will stream it. For less than two drinks in a London pub.For a month. It’s a no brainer, right?
Well no, and this is where the “unfair competition” of the title comes into it.
LOVEFiLM and Netflix have different catalogues, with the former securing a lot of high tier exclusives over the latter. This is a bit of pain for a consumer, as it means to get access to all movies (and TV, don’t forget TV shows that they now stream) you HAVE to subscribe to both. Frankly i’d rather have a monopoly than have to subscribe to two services just because of exclusive bollocks.
But here’s the kicker, only Netflix offers HD. So far LOVEFiLM’s old technology rubbish is only in SD still, and is holding the likes of The Dark Knight and The Hangover hostage in it’s legacy screen format prison. It’s not a fair competition, one service is purely and simply superior to the other, but due to exclusive deals with content holders, a competition has been created where everyone wins except the consumer.
Up your game LOVEFiLM, or stop punishing consumers in your attempt to keep market share from a rival with superior tech.