Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Lovefilm and Netflix continue to buy content to stream

Lovefilm have continued their pre-Netflix content buying spree by completing an exclusive, second window deal with Sony Pictures Television.

This comes after Netflix completed their latest content deal with BBC WorldWide.

Monday, 5 December 2011

TechRadar compares UK streaming and VOD services

TechRadar have a great article online, comparing several streaming and VOD services from the likes of BBC iPlayer, YouTube, BT Vision, Sky and Virgin.

More streaming services coming to Xbox 360 from tomorrow

Tomorrow sees the latest software update for the Xbox 360 being released, and along with the new Metro user interface and Kinect Integration, comes the first in several UK streaming services for that console.

The ability to stream content from Lovefilm will be first, followed by access to 4oD, Demand 5, Blinkbox and Crackle. BBC iPlayer should follow next year as an app. Hopefully ITV Player will show up in due course.

More details can be located here.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Lovefilm dumps Flash and switches to Sliverlight for streaming

From next year, Lovefilm are switching from Flash to Sliverlight for their streaming service. Why? Because the Movie Studios demanded it:

We’ve been asked to make this change by the Studios who provide us with the films in the first place, because they’re insisting – understandably – that we use robust security to protect their films from piracy, and they see the Silverlight software as more secure than Flash.

Simply put: without meeting their requirements, we’d suddenly have next-to-no films to stream online.
While this news won't be greeted with applause by everyone (especially users Linux/UNIX systems, who are not happy with Lovefilm right now), there is one plus: The possiblity of quality improvements for Lovefilm's streams:
Silverlight contains a technology called Smooth Streaming, which automatically adjusts the quality of the video stream to the best level for your internet connection. This reduces buffering for customers on a low broadband speed, but then improves the streaming quality when broadband speed increases.


Friday, 25 November 2011

US Shows now available to stream on Sony's PlayStation Network

Got a Playstation 3? And £1.50? Then you can stream a US TV show this evening, as reported by Gizmodo. Add another quid and you can watch that content in High-Def. Available content on the PlayStation Network includes 24, Arrested Development, South Park and Two and a Half Men, but Gizmodo reports that all not seasons of those shows are available.

I have to say, those prices are a bit high, but if you're willing to pay and have Sony hardware near your telly, the choice is yours. Maybe a tenner a month for an 'all you can watch' package would be better, but then, I don't run Sony (for better or worse).

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Lovefilm and Filmflex preparing for the Netflix threat

I think its safe to say that the gloves have come off in the battle for UK Streaming Services domination.

First, Lovefilm have brought Google keyword search terms for "Netflix", following on from their deal with Warner Brothers, as the Amazon-owned business prepares for the arrival of Netflix to the UK.

As for Filmflex (who supply movies for Virgin Media's VoD service), they've done a deal to supply movies for HMVs new movie site and they have a message for Netflix: "Bring it On!"

Monday, 21 November 2011

Netflix buys; Lovefilm responds

Netflix is coming to the UK, and they've been on a content buying spree before their launch next year.

First, they signed an exclusive deal with MGM to stream first run feature films. That was followed by another deal with Lionsgate. A hat-trick of deals was completed by Miramax signing up for the Netflix bandwagon.

Lovefilm's response? An exclusive streaming deal with Warner Brothers. Let's hope they can deliver that content in HD.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Welcome!

Welcome!

These are exciting times for people who wish to stream films and programmes into their homes.

Virgin Media's cable network enabled them to become the UK's leading provider of VOD content, and their TiVo box has the potential to provide even more content via a dedicated broadband connection.

BT Vision can lay claim to the title of the UK's fastest growing pay-TV service, and they also offer a substantial amount of VOD content for a low cost. Meanwhile, the content kings known as Sky have rolled out their Anytime VOD service, not only to those Satellite customers who can get it, but also to owners of portal devices.

Waiting in the wings is the often delayed YouView, promising PVR functionality with Freeview HD and support for streaming services.

But its not all about services offered by Pay-TV (or even free-TV) platforms. Far from it.

Lovefilm have been offering a movie streaming service for ages now, alongside their DVD rental service. Lovefilm, now backed by the might of Amazon, will face fierce competition soon from the long-awaited UK arrival of Netflix, who have been on a content buying spree before their launch in 2012. Meanwhile, the Google-backed YouTube recently started offering movies to stream.

Did I mention those fabulous games consoles? They just don't play games you know! Both Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3 allow you to stream content as well, with the 360 getting a major update soon which will add additional content from the likes of YouTube, Channel 4 and Five.

There's also the elephant in the room known Apple TV. Add the impending arrival of Roku to the UK and it all adds up to all out, streaming warfare which will hopefully provide UK consumers with plenty of choice. Did I mention the increasing number of Internet-connected TVs and Blu Ray players from the likes of LG, Sony and Samsung?

On this blog, I'll be posting the odd news story about these streaming services and the platforms their on. I'll probably be focusing more on the services since I don't own or subscribe to all the platforms.