June 20, 2012

New Sky EPG and HD comes to LoveFilm

A couple of news items about other platforms:
Firstly, Sky is rejigging its EPG in a (futile) attempt to compete with TiVo. Not coming until the end of the year (and even then it won't be on all boxes). More details at http://crave.cnet.co.uk/televisions/sky-gets-new-look-planner-and-tv-guide-50008175/
Meanwhile, LoveFilm has finally added HD to its (frankly pretty poor quality) UK streaming service. This news from Crave;
If you're watching on an Xbox, Blu-ray player or smart telly, you'll get a 720p stream. Only some titles are currently available in HD -- on its blog Lovefilm explains that flicks like Apocalypse Now and Attack the Block* will be streaming in glorious high definiton, as will TV shows including Planet Earth and Lost.

Unfortunately Lovefilm says it doesn't have studio rights to stream HD on the iPad, while PlayStation 3 owners are also left out -- though Sony's console currently streams in higher than standard quality apparently, as do Sony tellies and Blu-ray players.
I would personally recommend Apple TV over Netflix or LoveFilm from a picture quality perspective, but it's not anywhere near as cheap.
* Incidentally, Attack the Block is on 4HD this Sunday evening - a fine Brit flick from Mr Joe Cornish!


Phil Baxter said...

LoveFilm Instant used to be spectacularly bad, but as soon as they heard Netflix was coming they went on a shopping spree and bought up a plethora of steaming rights. They've even got streaming rights to Universal films now, despite losing the rights to Universal content on physical discs years ago.

We're now 6 months or so into the life of Netflix UK, and while the Netflix catalogue is still abysmal, the LoveFilm Instant catalogue is now somewhat passable. It's better, in my experience, than Netflix US. (which has been going downhill for a while) You could equate Netflix UK to having free reign on the unsold stock in a DVD bargain bin in a charity shop, while LoveFilm is more like the final clearance section in Tesco.

Another real problem with LoveFilm Instant is their Xbox app, which lacks some pretty basic functionality (such as a last played list, a queue, and recommendations), and worse, has terribly washed out black levels. All the early Xbox Metro apps had dreadful black levels, but one by one they've been updated with a Microsoft fix. LoveFilm is still awaiting an update, which makes watching anything on the Xbox from them a pretty miserable experience - more so in 720p.

Their 1080p stuff looks pretty decent on a PC, and should do too on the PS3 too when it finally arrives. The PS3, incidentally, has no restriction on third party providers streaming 1080p, unlike the Xbox, which is capped at 720p for everything except Microsoft's own Zune video store. (which is full 1080p) Yes Microsoft really do cripple their own platform just to make Zune content look better.

Kevin Lloyd said...

I'd say Love Film has moved up a notch to being the weekly offers from Waitrose. A combination of a fast postal blu-ray service with a very extensive catalogue; an increasingly good selection of instant watch; the advent of HD streaming and the availability of some films to stream whilst on release in cinemas makes their offer pretty good and one that seems likely to become better still.

Gooner_Adam said...

I really don't think s*y will be able to match Virgin with the same quality as TiVo.

On another note, I really hope Virgin can take the fight to BT with their broadband esp with al those boasting about their TBB ping monitors. I'm currently testing the R36 firmware on the superhub and have seen greater efficiency in the network connection with lower latency.