Lovefilm, an ‘on again, off again’ relationship

So after getting a voucher for 6 months of Lovefilm for £10, I hooked up with lovefilm again, even though it’s not the best set-up for our household – ie, we can’t watch it on the family big tv. But it’s an up and down relationship.

Constantly seeing the buffering video is not what you want when you’re sat down trying to watch a film on a saturday night, so much so that sometimes we have given up. One title we wanted to watch took nearly three hours, that’s okay if the film is three hours, but it only had a running time of one hour forty!

The TV title selection is quite good, whole series are on there, I’ve started watching Life on Mars and am thoroughly enjoying it, probably wouldn’t have got to see it otherwise.

Another TV series that really caught my eye though was, Red Dwarf, I practically spent all of my twenties watching Listy Rimsey and Kryten and the Cat on their travels with the mad sex change Holly computer misguiding them all the way. So I was delighted to find all 8 series included in the package I was on. (Lovefilm Instant)

I couldn’t wait to get started and like any faithful follower started at the very beginning. Stoppping and starting when watching on my laptop was a lovely experience, as titles recently watched just sit in the top right hand and you click to get going in the same place you left off. Trying to replicate this on the iPad
was much trickier, for a start typing red dwarf into the search area brings back no results… With no recently watched area to go into the only consistent way of finding the series was to type in Chris Barrie into the search and then clicking on the watch now tab from the actors homepage. At least when I found the episode I wanted if I had started watching it elsewhere I could continue.

Being off my feet for a while enabled me to get up to series 6, and then when I try to continue from half way through Gunmen of the Apocalypse – a true classic – I get an error message ‘this content is no longer available’. Odd. I think must be a server problem, I’ll try again another day, but no, not there, so I click on the feedback button to contact them about the problem and get a email back requesting that I follow the link to see the episode I’m looking for….

Unfortunately the link is a just a general search term for red dwarf and at this point I realise that there are only 30 episodes available… that’s only 5 series of 6 episodes. What happened to series 6, 7 and 8?
This time when I contact them about the missing episode they say
” The agreements we have in place with our supplier’s means that our licence only allows us to show certain TV series for a fixed period of time.
This period can vary from title to title, and we try to make it as clear as possible on each TV series webpage how many days there are left to view before that series expires”

OK I says in my emailed reply, where is this information on the page, because I have looked on at least a dozen pages of TV or film, and can see no end date for this title…

Next reply from Lovefilm,
“Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused.
I would like to inform you that the title following Series 6 in (sic) now available for our LOVEFiLM Instant service.”


Well after all that I thoroughly enjoyed finishing watching my episode, but what a total palaver.
If Lovefilm have only a limited time to show titles, they need to tell us about it!
Lovefilm have a quite a lot of stuff to sort out before we can all be converted to streaming movies like this at home.

On the iPad the buffering is a constant source of irritation, and unlike Youtube where you can just wait until the whole video has loaded, the streaming service just stops and starts constantly, I would never have the patience to try and watch a film on the iPad.

This is the biggest down for lovefilm, and although occasionally Netflix would stop I never had the constant appearance of the rotating buffer logo…

When will the facility to predownload a whole film come into play, I would much rather guarantee to be able to watch a film, because at the minute it’s a switch-off.