Lovefilm Instant Review About This Review
- Great value
- Plenty of decent films
- HD quality
- Lack of surround sound
- Lack of newer movies
- First Published: Jul 6th 2012.
- Revised: Dec 22nd 2012, Mar 4th 2013, Oct 16th 2013.
- Last Updated: Jan 24th 2014.
- I reviewed the Lovefilm Instant service on a Windows laptop, Mac, iPad 2, Sony TV, Sony Blu-ray player, and on a PS3.
Lovefilm Instant Review Summary
Lovefilm Instant Review - Reviewed by UK Film Rental on - Rating: 7/10
"LoveFilm Instant" was re-branded "Amazon Prime Instant Video" in February 2014.
Broadly speaking, Amazon Prime Instant Video is similar to the old LoveFilm Instant streaming service, but parts of this review may be inaccurate in it's current form. More info on the new Instant Video service can be found on Amazon.co.uk:
What is Lovefilm Instant?
Lovefilm Instant is a new way to watch films online. Watch titles instantly on your PC, laptop, Mac, PS3, Xbox 360, iPad, or internet-connected TV or Blu-ray player. Thousands of titles are available as part of your Lovefilm package and at no extra cost.
Here are some of the key features as described by Lovefilm -
- Unlimited access to over 8,000 movies and TV series with many in High Definition
- Watch instantly in high-quality on your PC, TV, Xbox 360, PS3, laptop, iPad & Blu-ray
- Try for free when you start a 30 day free trial, then only £5.99 per month
- No long term contracts, cancel at any time
How does Lovefilm Instant work?
Registering on only takes a few minutes and you can start watching your favourite films within minutes if you follow these 3 steps:
1. Join Lovefilm and Start Free Trial
Visit and click 'Start your 30 day FREE trial now'. You will need a credit or debit card when you sign up for your free trial. *
2. Log in to your Lovefilm account
Visit the Lovefilm website and log in using your email address and password.
3. Enjoy Unlimited Films + TV Series
Use the search box to find a specific film or browse the menus to find something to watch online.
* If you decide to cancel your subscription during the free period, your card will not be charged. If you decide to continue using Lovefilm Instant, you will be billed £5.99 per month after the initial free 30 days.
Is Lovefilm Instant any good?
Here is a summary of the positives and negatives found after using Lovefilm Instant.
Good selection of film and television
I think most people will agree that there is good amount of high-quality content available through Lovefilm Instant. More info: Film Selection
Excellent Full HD streaming quality
Films look stunning in high definition and as of June 4th 2012, there are thousands of films on Lovefilm Instant to stream in full HD.
Intuitive design which is easy to use
The Lovefilm website and Instant apps are well-designed and it's easy to find yourself around the menus and find the film you're looking for.
Stream four films with one account
With your Lovefilm Instant subscription, you can watch up to four different films at the same time. So while you're watching downstairs, the kids can watch upstairs.
Lack of surround sound on some devices
Surround sound isn't supported on the PS3, Xbox 360 or some models of TV's and Blu-ray players. More info: Sound Quality
No Android support yet
It will annoy Android uses that Lovefilm Instant won't work on their new tablet. More info: Compatible Devices
Poor social media integration
You can have the films you watch automatically posted to your Facebook wall when you use Lovefilm Instant on a PC or Mac. I know this won't bother many users, but I think it would be nice to see this extended to other viewing platforms.
No syncing between devices
It would be handy if you could pause a film on one device and resume it on another, but this is only a minor issue.
Is Lovefilm Instant worth it?
After using it for over four months, I think the films available justify the £5.99 monthly subscription, and I would recommend giving it a test drive.
You can read the full review below if that's your sort of thing, or try Lovefilm Instant for yourself with the offer.
Lovefilm Instant Review Films
2,700 Films Instantly
There are around 2,700 feature films included with Lovefilm Instant and new films are being added every week. There are recent Hollywood blockbusters like The Social Network, Taken, and The Dark Knight as well as older classics like Scream, Jackie Brown, and The Talented Mr. Ripley.
You'll also bound to come across a lot of films you probably haven't heard of before; some obscure, undiscovered treasures and some cheap, rubbish films thrown in the mix as well.
Latest releases are not included for free with Lovefilm Instant. Instead, they are available as pay-per-view and can be found under the Box Office section. Over time, most new releases will become available as part of the Instant package, although there is no hard and fast rule for determining when a particular film will be available for free. New PPV titles are priced at £3.49 and drop to £2.49 over time.
Lovefilm Instant for Kids Films
I also found plenty of films to keep the kids entertained with family classics like Mary Poppins, The Chronicles of Narnia, Spy Kids 3 and 101 Dalmations to name a few. Plus there are loads of TV programmes for the little ones including Fireman Sam, Thomas the Tank Engine, Pingu, Barney and Friends, and Bob the Builder.
All Lovefilm Instant Films
The films above are just a snapshot of the huge catalogue of films available through Lovefilm Instant. Here are some links to relevant sections on Lovefilm.com where you can browse the whole movie selection to get a better idea of what is including for free with the Instant package.
Lovefilm Instant Review TV Series
8,000 TV Episodes
With Lovefilm Instant you have over 1,000 TV series at your finger tips. Through their partnership with BBC Worldwide, Lovefilm Instant brings you hundreds of top quality BBC programmes, from popular dramas series like Spooks and Dr. Who, to documentaries like Attenborough's Planet Earth and Human Planet. There's also a lot of US TV series with complete box sets available to stream.
Popular TV Series
- Dexter - Seasons 1-7
- Doctor Who - Series 1-5
- Desperate Housewivies
- Will & Grace - Complete Series
- The Borgias - Complete Series
- Peep Show
- The Office - US + UK
- Waterloo Road - Every Series
- Spooks - All Episodes
Lovefilm Instant Review Monthly Cost
£5.99 / Month
The Lovefilm Instant package is priced at £5.99 per month.
Lovefilm describes the current monthly cost as a "special launch price", although I reckon with the recent UK launch of Netflix, the healthy competition between the two rival services should ensure this price won't rise any time soon. Not to mention Tesco-owned and Sky's new sports and movie streaming service.
For comparison, Sky's is priced at £8.99 per month which has a limited film catalogue, but includes more up to date films.
For what's on offer, I think £5.99 is excellent value for money and it's certainly the cheapest subscription price for an online movie streaming service in the UK at present.
One trip to the cinema will cost £8-£10, so access to 3,000 films at this price is great in comparison.
Lovefilm Instant Review Free Trial
Everyone gets to try Lovefilm Instant free for 30 days with no obligation to continue after the free trial period.
During your free trial period you get full access to the Lovefilm Instant service; there's no limit to the number of films you can watch and you have the choice of thousands of movies from the complete Lovefilm catalogue - just the same as paying customers.
If you decide to continue your Lovefilm Instant subscription, you will be automatically billed £5.99 per month, starting 30 days after you started the free trial.
Billing information is available under 'My Account' when you login if you want to check when your free trial will end.
If you choose to cancel your subscription during the free trial you will not incur any charges. Cancelling is easy and can be done online by logging in and navigating to the 'My Account' section on the Lovefilm website.
Lovefilm Instant Review Devices
You can use Lovefilm Instant on a number of platforms. From laptops and iPads, to Blu-ray players and games consoles, Lovefilm have managed to create a fairly consistent design between devices with a good user-interface.
Lovefilm Instant on a PC / Mac / Tablet
Lovefilm Instant on a PC or Mac
You can use Lovefilm Instant on any PC, laptop or Mac which has at least 2Mbps broadband and Silverlight 4 - a piece of software, similar to Abode Flash player, which Lovefilm uses to stream films to your computer. Most modern computers will already have Silverlight installed, but if it isn't, Lovefilm will prompt you to download it for free from Microsoft.
Lovefilm Instant on iPad
To use Lovefilm Instant on your iPad, all you need to do is download the Lovefilm app from the App Store - it's that simple. Now you can instantly watch films wherever you have an Internet connection - it's great for chilling out during lunch breaks if you can get away with it. Sshhhh I didn't tell you!
Watch Lovefilm Instant on your TV
Most modern Smart-TV's already have the Lovefilm software pre-installed on them by the TV manufacturer. I tested Lovefilm Instant on TV's made by Samsung, Sony, LG, and Cello.
Lovefilm Instant on a Sony TV
Connect your Sony TV to the internet and launch the LOVEfiLM app which can be found on the 'BRAVIA Internet TV' menu. When you first use Lovefilm on your Sony TV you will be shown a special code which you need to enter at http://internet.sony.tv to match your Lovefilm Instant account to your Sony TV. Creating an account with Sony and registering your device is a little bit long-winded, but you only need to do it once.
Lovefilm Instant on a Cello TV
You can now stream films online direct to Cello TV's using the built-in iViewer. Select the Lovefilm icon from the main carousel and log in using your normal credentials.
Lovefilm Instant on an LG TV
Lovefilm Instant will work on any LG Smart TV purchased after November 2011. You'll find the Lovefilm service on the Premium menu on your LG TV. There are a few on-screen steps to follow the first time you access Lovefilm which will match your LG TV with your Lovefilm Instant account. The movie watching experience is pleasant, with well-designed menus and layouts, plus the added benefit of using the magic motion remote control to flick through the film catalogue by dragging and waving the controller like a wand - something unique to LG tellies.
Lovefilm Instant on a Samsung TV
Lovefilm Instant on Games Consoles
There's no better way to watch films than on a big screen, and it's easier than ever to watch Lovefilm Instant on a large TV by streaming movies through your video games console.
Lovefilm Instant on Wii and Wii U
Launch the Lovefilm app. Click the 'Sign in' tile on the Home screen. Log in with your Lovefilm username and password (or your Amazon username and password if you have a Kindle Fire and have linked your Amazon and Lovefilm accounts) and start watching instantly.
Lovefilm Instant on Xbox 360
To be able to use Lovefilm Instant on your Xbox 360 you need to have an Xbox LIVE Gold or Xbox LIVE Gold Family membership as well as a reasonably fast broadband connection. Sign in to Xbox LIVE and navigate to the Apps Marketplace. Download and install the Lovefilm app, launch it in the 'My Apps' tab and sign in to your Lovefilm Instant account. That's it! You can now stream films to your Xbox 360 and browse the Lovefilm catalogue. You can even use voice commands or your Kinect hardware to select your next film which we thought was pretty cool - the children loved it even more!
Lovefilm Instant on Xbox One
Connect to Xbox LIVE and search for Lovefilm under the Store section. Download and install the Lovefilm Instant app on your Xbox One. then login using your Lovefilm/Amazon account.
Lovefilm Instant on PS3
Ensure your PlayStation 3 is connected to the internet and find the Lovefilm icon on the Xross Media Bar under the TV/Video Services menu. Log in to your Lovefilm account using your regular email and password combination. The user interface is slightly different if you are used to using Lovefilm on other devices, but it shouldn't cause to much of a problem.
Lovefilm Instant on PS4
Plug your PlayStation 4 into your TV, and make sure your PS4 is connected to the internet. Go to the TV/Video Services menu on the system menu on your PS4 and select the Amazon | LOVEFiLM logo then login with your Amazon details.
Lovefilm Instant on Blu-ray Players
I would recommend updating the firmware on your Blu-ray player to ensure you are using the latest version of the software. Most systems periodically update automatically, but double checking this will ensure you are using the latest verision of the Lovefilm Instant app.
Lovefilm Instant on Sony Blu-ray Players
Every internet-conencted Sony Blu-ray player sold after May 2010 is pre-loaded with the Lovefilm app - look for the Lovefilm logo under 'Video' on the Xross bar menu system. You will need to log in or create an account on the Sony Entertainment Network to pair your Sony blu-ray player with your Lovefilm account. You only need to do this the first time you use Lovefilm on the blu-ray player - once it is set up you will even be logged in automatically when using Lovefilm on your blu-ray player.
- On the Sony website, click on 'New to My Essentials?' to create a Sony account and register your device using the code displayed on your screen.
- Then click 'Personalise Music and Video Services' and choose the 'Link to Service' button next to the Lovefilm logo.
- On your Sony Blu-ray player, press the 'Home' button and relaunch the Lovefilm service. You will now be automatically logged in.
Lovefilm Instant on Samsung Blu-ray Players
Samsung Blu-ray Players bought after May 2010 will be able to access Lovefilm Instant through the internet@TV page on your Samsung system. When you log in for the first time you will be shown a 5-character code which you will need to enter on the Lovefilm website in order to pair your Lovefilm Instant account with your Samsung device. I found this to be quite straight-forward and once it's set up you will never need to repeat the procedure.
Lovefilm Instant on LG Blu-ray Players
Connect your player to the internet, click on the Premium icon and select the Lovefilm logo. Follow the on-screen instructions to pair your LG device with your Lovefilm Instant account. That's all there is to it!
Other Ways to Watch Lovefilm Instant
In addition to the methods above, Lovefilm Instant will be accessible through a growing number of devices as Lovefilm partners with even more product manufacturers in the future.
Several additional Sony products are compatible with Lovefilm, including Sony Network Media Players and Sony Home Entertainment surround sound systems purchased since May 2010.
There is also a digital set-top box called ONYX which can stream Internet TV services such as Lovefilm and BBC iPlayer. I didn't bother testing the option as these devices don't seem to be very popular yet (if ever?) but I imagine the set up and user user interface is similar to other internet-enabled products.
Lovefilm Instant Review Picture Quality
Update: June 4th 2012 - Lovefilm has announced it will make films available to watch online in High-Definition, including many movies you can watch for free with the Instant package. This will allow users to stream hundreds of films online in near-Blu-ray quality! I have updated this section accordingly.
Films in normal definition look fine on devices with small screens likes iPads and laptops, but when I viewed SD content on my 40" TV, although it was still watchable, the picture looked a bit fuzzy and blurred. I think if you are used to watching movies on DVD, then the difference will be unnoticeable, but if you've already made the switch to Blu-ray and you are accustomed to that level of sharpest and detail, the picture quality of standard definition films will be less than impressive on Lovefilm Instant. Luckily, Lovefilm is continuously converting films to HD and all of the latest releases now are in the HD format by default, so going forward this problem will soon be history.
Lovefilm recommends a minimum connection speed of 2Mbps. As an easy test, if you can watch BBC iPlayer without any problems, you will be fine streaming films with Lovefilm Instant. This is also where the free trial is handy - you can try it for free and check if your broadband speed is good enough before being charged.
Since June, 2012 more content has become available to stream in High Definition. A small icon in the top right of the film poster indicates the film is available in HD, in either 720p or 1080p depending on the device you are using. There are no extra charges for viewing HD content, it is included free with your monthly subscription.
The question now is: How fast does my broadband connection need to be to watch HD movies? The official minimum speed quoted by Lovefilm is 4Mbps for 720p and 12Mbps for the full 1080p resolution. If your internet speed drops, Lovefilm automatically switches to the lower bandwidth version and the film will continue to play in standard definition without any interruption. Broadband speeds are improving all the time. The average UK broadband speed is 7.6Mbps (as of Feb 2012) meaning the majority of UK residents will be able to watch films online in 720p HD quality with their current broadband set-up.
My broadband speed hovers around the 6Mbps mark and I haven't experienced any problems watching films in HD. I have noticed that films buffer when they begin, typically lasting for around 10 seconds, and then stream perfectly right the way through without any pauses or those annoying loading symbols. Films look stunning as well. I watched anything that is available in the UK.
Lovefilm Instant Review Sound Quality
Back to Stereo
The sound quality with content on Lovefilm Instant is the same as if you were watching it on a DVD - if you are using the stereo speakers in your computer or TV that is. On the other hand, if you're used to hearing movies through a surround sound system, you might feel a little under-whelmed. When I first starting using Lovefilm Instant, I spent ages trying to sort out the 'surround sound problem' - I tried playing around with the settings on my TV and at one point I even resorted to fiddling with the HDMI cable and digital optical cable that connects my surround sound to my TV. After searching on the internet definite answer that Lovefilm Instant will not play films with surround sound no matter what you try - at the moment anyway.
In fact, the lack of surround sound is my only major certain with the Lovefilm Instant streaming service, but hopefully, just like the HD content issues, I'm sure Lovefilm will start supporting surround sound sooner rather than later, especially since Netflix has supported this right from the beginning. If you take a look at the forums and Lovefilm blog posts, you'll see lots of people complaining about the lack of surround sound support, so this is clearly an area where Lovefilm know they've got to sort things out pronto.
Lovefilm Instant Review Alternatives
Unlike Lovefilm Instant, does not operate a monthly subscription based model. Instead you pay per film, typically around £3.49 (£4.49 for HD titles).
Prices are higher than Lovefilm Instant, but Blinkbox offers the latest movies. Older titles are cheaper, typically priced at 99p.
Blinkbox offer new customers a free £5 blinkbox credit when they make a deposit of £1. Prices start from just 99p.
Now TV is a movie streaming subscription service from Sky. For £8.99 they offer unlimited film and TV streaming direct to your computer and Now TV box.
With the higher monthly cost comes a selection of newer titles than Lovefilm Instant, such as Iron Man 3, Wreck-It-Ralph, and Lincoln.
Now TV are currently offering new customers a 30 day free trial.
Lovefilm Instant Review Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to the most common questions people ask about Lovefilm Instant.
Do I need a fast broadband speed to watch films with Lovefilm Instant?
The lowest speed supported is 2Mbps for streaming video with Lovefilm Instant.
Is Lovefilm Instant easy to use?
The Lovefilm website and Lovefilm Instant apps are very well-designed. Most people find the user-interface intuitive and after a few minutes of playing around with the menus it is easy to remember where things are and how to use the search feature to browse the film catalogue. Similarly, although the experience varies slightly by device, the overall design and layout is consistent so once you have mastered one you pretty much sorted.
Can you watch Lovefilm Instant abroad?
Unfortunately, you cannot use Lovefilm Instant outside the UK. This restriction is due to licensing agreements with the film studios and content owners - you'll have to get your film fix some other way while you're on holiday or working abroad!
Does Lovefilm Instant have any parental controls?
If you have young children using Lovefilm Instant you may want to place restrictions on the sort of content they are able to access. Lovefilm Instant has an easy way to set up a PIN number for age restricted content.
Do you need any special equipment to use Lovefilm Instant?
No additional hardware is required.
How long is the Lovefilm Instant free trial?
New customers can try Lovefilm Instant for free for 30 days when they join online. This offer is only valid for new subscribers and only one per household. Full terms and condition for the free trial are available on the Lovefilm website.
Can you get Lovefilm Instant on Android devices?
Unfortunately, Lovefilm Instant isn't available to watch on Android tablets or Android phones. Here is a complete list of compatible devices.
How long does Lovefilm Instant take to activate?
When you sign up for a free trial your account is active immediately and you can start watching films online straight away. When you pair a device to your Lovefilm account, you will be able to access the Lovefilm Instant service instantly. Remember to relaunch the Lovefilm Instant app if you activate your TV or Blu-ray player online.
Why is Lovefilm Instant so slow?
The loading and buffering speed is largely due to your internet connection. The lowest speed supported by Lovefilm Instant is 2Mbps. Broadband speeds above this threshold will support on demand video streaming.
Why is Lovefilm Instant not working?
There are several reasons why Lovefilm Instant doesn't work.
Lovefilm Instant vs Netflix?
A very popular question at the moment: Should I choose Lovefilm Instant or Netflix?
Are there any Lovefilm Instant voucher codes or other special deals?
Lovefilm have not issued any promotional codes for Lovefilm Instant. Everyone can try it for free without a discount code or voucher.
Can I download films to my computer with Lovefilm Instant?
With Lovefilm Instant you can only stream films to your device, you cannot download a copy to watch. This saves you time and hard drive space.
Can I download films to my computer with Lovefilm Instant?
With Lovefilm Instant you can only stream films to your device, you cannot download a copy to watch.
Can you get Lovefilm Instant on Nintendo Wii?
Unfortunately, Lovefilm Instant isn't available to watch through the Nintendo Wii. Here is a complete list of compatible devices.
Lovefilm Instant Review Visitor Comments
Thanks for reading my review of Lovefilm Instant! Leave your thoughts below, especially if you are a current Lovefilm Instant subscriber. Ask a question if there's something you're not sure about or let me know if you have spotted a mistake. You can also email me at [email protected]
Lovefilm Instant Review Related Links
Still not found what you're looking for in this Lovefilm Instant review?
- Free DVD Rental - Find the cheapest way to rent films by post.
- Free Movies Online - The latest movies to watch online for free.
- UK Film Rental - Find films to rent plus reviews and free trials.
- Lovefilm Free Trial - Start your free trial with Lovefilm.com.
- Free TV Series Online - Stream TV episodes online.