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Sky Go vs Lovefilm vs Netflix: Which is best and do I have to upgrade my …

Tara Evans

Last updated at 5:57 PM on 17th February 2012

The internet TV revolution may finally be arriving. From just £5 a month you can now watch as many TV shows and films as you like in the comfort of your own home.

But what do the big players offer and will you have to upgrade your broadband?

Tara Evans takes a look at the trio that are heavily promoting their new services to you.

Tuned in: Lovefilm, Netflix and Sky Go all give internet users the chance to watch TV and films when they want - but it comes at a cost.

Tuned in: Lovefilm, Netflix and Sky Go all give internet users the chance to watch TV and films when they want – but it comes at a cost.

this year Lovefilm had the home rental delivery market pretty much to
itself, posting 250,000 DVDs every day to its 2 million plus

But then in early January, American film giant Netflix jumped into the home entertainment ring by launching a streaming service offering shows such as Shameless and Inbetweeners. 

And earlier this month Sky announced that
it would be launching a pay-per-view service for non-subscribers via the internet,
taking on the likes of Lovefilm and Netflix.

Netflix is offering customers a one month free trial and after this time it costs £5.99 a month.

Lovefilm launched streaming in May 2009 for its DVD-by-post customers, but this was launched as a standalone service costing £4.99 a month in December last year. 

Sky Go was launched last year for Sky customers and allows existing customers to access a range of movies, sports and entertainment channels through PCs, laptops, X-boxes, smartphones and tablets. And in January, Sky announced that it would launch an internet TV offering for non-Sky customers this year, via a PC, laptop, tablet, smartphone, games console or internet connected TV.

The service is free for Sky customers, but anyone who wants to watch Sky content can pay from £15 a month to access a number of its channels and on demand content.

We take a look at what each of the services offer: 


Its streaming service Lovefilm Instant costs £4.99 a month for unlimited steaming. It also has a hybrid service (offering both streaming and DVD by post) for just £5.99 a month. An additional service offers both unlimited streaming and DVD rental for £7.99 a month.

Its catalogue has over 5,800 on-demand films and shows and 70,000 DVDs and blu-rays.

Lovefilm first launched a streaming service in May 2009 as part of its monthly subscription cost, while the standalone – £4.99 unlimited streaming – service was first launched in December last year.

Last year it launched Lovefilm Box Office, which has over 1,000 titles and growing, which are available at an extra pay-per-view cost.

Lovefilm content can be streamed via internet Sony, Samsung and LG TVs, PS3, iPad and Xbox.

It also has content deals with BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and ABC for on demand content.


Founded in 1997 the US firm boasts more than 23 million streaming members globally.

You can watch the service via most PCs, games consoles, phones and Macs.  

Netflix says that customers have ‘access to tens of thousands of hours of Hollywood and international film features, full seasons of new and classic TV programmes, global documentaries, independent cinema.’

The entertainment website is also integrated with social media website Facebook. This means that customers can connect their Netflix account to their Facebook account to share what they’re watching.

Sky Go

With a Sky Go monthly ticket a non-Sky subscriber can get TV from Sky online or on the move without an annual contract or dish.

The service is available on PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad and, from later this month on Android Smartphone.

It costs from £15 a month to £40 a month – depending on the level of package.

You can get access to 39 live channels – including all five Sky Sports, four Sky Movies and Sky Atlantic. There is also hundreds of TV shows and movies on demand.

Will you need to upgrade your broadband package?

Having a subscription to the best TV
and film entertainment streaming website is just dandy, but if you don’t
have an adequate broadband download limit then you could be stung with a
large bill. 

A decent broadband connection should be capable of enabling you to watch the services, but it pays to check out the recommended requirements before signing up.

As Dominic Baliszewski, of comparison
website, explains: ‘It is vital to keep an eye
on your download limits when indulging in on demand entertainment
services like Sky Go, iPlayer or Netflix.

‘Many broadband packages come with a download limit of 10GB, 20GB or 40GB, but this drops dramatically to 1GB on an iPhone.

‘On Netflix, streaming TV shows or
movies to your computer will use up approximately 1GB per hour, rising
to 2.3GB per hour if you stream in HD. On Sky Go, one episode of The Wire
will eat up 550MB of data, whilst The King’s Speech, lasting 113 mins,
will set you back 1103 MB – it all adds up.’

You can avoid this by getting an
internet package with a bigger download limit. You can search for a deal using This is Money’s broadband finder.

Here’s what other readers have said. Why not add your thoughts,
or debate this issue live on our message boards.

The comments below have not been moderated.

Had LOVEFiLM for about a year now and has been the best investment of my life. If you’re big on your films and games I’d highly recommend it. The amount I’d have paid if I bought everything I’ve rented or streamed could easily have topped £1000 by now but I get whatever I want for less than £20 a month.

I am loving Netflix right now. The selection still has a way to go but the fact you’re getting a huge full hd catalog for the price your paying is certainly worth it.
Also Netflix has the best integration, five of my devices in my home support it, including on my iphone!

I was going to sign up to Netflix but saw that I had to sign up through Facebook. I deactivated my account months ago… I dont even think this would be worth going back on there again!

Jonno, Croydon, UK, 18/2/2012 14:42
i am pretty sure that you only need a licence if you view programs as they are being shown therefore if you are watching last night eatenders on iplayer you do not need a licence

If you have any equipment that can view live BBC content, including smartphone, tablet or PC with a broadband account, you still need a licence. Even if you don’t physically own a TV. The TV License website’s been updated to take into account newer, hi-tech devices. They can easily find out if you’ve got a broadband account! They’ll not be outdone for this free benefit scam.

If you’re only using your TV to view DVDs, downloads or streaming (i.e. BBC Iplayer or Netflix) you DO NOT NEED A LICENCE,
– NOT VERY IMPRESSED, UK, 18/2/2012 00:45
If you use BBC Iplayer you do need a licence.

I signed up to Netflix and initially thought it looked very good, and the quality of the movie streams good, but choice is definitely limited, certainly in the UK don’t know if it’s different elsewhere – now tending to go round and round in circles looking for movies and may have to cancel.

@ Filthbag, Coral Springs Fl, 18/2/2012 06:56
Stop trying to be such a smart ass. You got your percentages wrong, it’s actually 0.33% of people globally, not 0.0035%, as you said. Also, if you take into account that only just over 30% of people in the world actually use the internet, it’s more like 1% of internet users stream from Netflix. That’s not bad.

I have had lovefilm and netflix and netflix is better for watch now by far. The menu is better, you have better films available to watch. Love film is only good for the dvds
– sarah, birmingham, 18/2/2012 10:18—————TOTALLY AGREE…I am currently trailing both of these services and I generally watch Netflix for ease of use.

look my darlings if you have unlimited broadband your allowance is about 100 gigabites so in a way your restricted and may be charged once over that usage limit. this isnt singapore or good old usa this is rip off britain who meters internet usage! and the sheeple people fall for it time and time again.
– veritas, essex

I am NOT your “darling” you patronising oaf – and just because you have selected an ISP that rations internet usage, don’t assume that everyone is as lazy as you. Some of us have the intelligence to shop around.

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

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