Thursday, 27 February 2014

Goodbye LOVEFiLM, hello Amazon

Thursday, 27 February 2014

LOVEFiLM became Amazon Prime Instant Video yesterday, and my account was transferred automatically. I can't really complain, as Amazon's website is more intuitive and navigable than LOVEFiLM's ever was. My monthly subscription charge also hasn't changed, but I have access to even more content and can choose to rent films and TV shows (as you can through iTunes), which Amazon's closest UK rival Netflix doesn't offer... yet? It's already obvious Amazon have more recent films than Netflix, that's for sure.

Amazon's PR team also made the clever decision to announce they're reviving axed BBC period crime drama Ripper Street. Amazon will fund a third series to premiere on their platform first, before a BBC TV broadcast. Amazon haven't revealed if they're going to release every episode at once (as Netflix famously do with their original content), but I predict and hope they won't. It would make sense to differentiate themselves with Netflix in when they delivery content, and Amazon may be surprised by the response from subscribers who actually feel burdened by Netflix's 'everything-now' model. Don't binge it, savour it!

It's early days, but so far I'm impressed and happy with the Amazonian change. It'll be interesting to see how Netflix respond to this development, because Amazon's a similarly huge company with the money and infrastructure to (potentially) beat them at their own game.

I just hope the streaming apps improve now they're Amazon-branded, although I notice the iPad app still isn't streaming in high-def (and consequently looks like shit on my iPad's retina display). On the positive side, I streamed Rise of the Planet of the Apes through my smart LG TV app and it was great. It looked better than through my PC/monitor, actually. Although not a patch on Blu-ray, with inferior sound, which is why I'm still signed to 'LOVEFiLM by Post' for unlimited disc rentals.

If Amazon can equal or surpass Netflix's renowned audio-visual quality, while making buffering a thing of the past, I'm struggling to think of a reason anyone in the UK would choose Netflix over them now... unless you're particularly fond of House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. (Although both will be available to buy/rent through Amazon on disc, if you're patient.)

It's a shame Amazon doesn't have a snappier name for its service (Prime Instant Video is so stiff), as Netflix just sounds like the cool service you want. And, let's face it, most people will just choose whatever sounds better, or they hear mentioned more often by people, and is advertised as cheaper.

What do you think? Are you a Netflixer or an Amazoner? Or do you spare yourself the headache by subscribing to both? Or maybe neither, as you use one of the many alternative options in the UK? Let me know!