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LoveFilm is slowly becoming more well know, gaining recognition from various different sources, taking over the likes of Amazon in the online rental service scheme, having over 900,000 European customers. You get to choose from different packages deals (explained in detail later) including titles from the video game industry as well as the traditional movies in DVD or Blue-ray format.
My Background Experience
I have been aware of the prescence of LoveFilm in the online rental service market since they first appeared a few years back, I was a rather loyal member to Screenselect who then merged in with another company to create what we now have as LoveFilm. I got involved previously with Screenselect as I will shamefully admit wanted to get some easy gamerscore on Xbox 360 games and saw this as a good opportunity to do so. Registering up with them gave me the chance of a free month trial so I obviously went for the best deal available which is to rent unlimited titles having 3 at a time. I enjoyed renting my games online and continued to pay for the service for many of months to come.
Eventually I ceased my account with ScreenSelect as I didn't want to rent games anymore. Time went by and then eventually I heard of how the change was happening in merging Screenselect into LoveFilm which piped up my interest in the service again. I was unfortunately extremely skeptical about the current service. I looked for my Xbox 360 games but they were not to be seen, emailing the Customer Support (very helpful by the way) let me found out that they would eventually be getting around to including games; it just wasn't their first priority. This meant I lost interest and more time went past until talk of the service went around the Internet with a 3 month free trial code being issued. Now getting a service for 3 months for free wasn't an offer I would turn down. I signed up again and spent 3 merry months renting my Xbox 360 titles (which had now been added). My trial recently game to an end and I deactivated my account.
It was essential for LoveFilm to make different packages available when it came to using their service, this is so that their audience is open to everyone, as the potential is there for anyone to benefit from LoveFilm from the movie enthusiasts to the guy that likes to watch the odd film. There are 8 packages available, look at an attatched image I will include with this review to see them and their prices. I will however do a summary of the services.
Unlimited:- There are 3 Unlimited packages available to choose from, the only difference between them is how many titles you get to keep at the same time in your house (1 to 3). You can
keep changing your titles as quickly as you want so it's possible to get through 45 movies a month if you watch the titles the same day you get them and chose the 3 deal package.
LOVEFILM:- These 2 services are the cheapest available, enabling you to pick a certain amount of titles and rent them for as long as you want (or until you deactivate your account). The difference from Unlimited is that you can not send the title back and recieve a new one, once you get it you stick with it.
Combination:- I am unaware of what this exactly is but I assume you are able to combine features of the other 2 services to suit your individual needs.
The website for LoveFilm sticks to a red and white house style, maintaining a colourful eye pleasing view throughout the pages. The content is split up into 3 columns, the left containing navigation menus, the right containing an updated poll and the middle being where the main content is seen. There is a roll on over which enables you to see the latest news and information that LoveFilm want you to be aware about (currently advertising EURO 2008, the big event of the football year). Below that comes the eye catching content where you can see the new releases, what's being shown in the cinemas now and what's coming soon to rent.
Browsing the titles is done by first choosing the Films or Games option and then choosing the specific genre of what you want to rent (examples being Horror for Movies or Xbox 360 followed by Horror for Games). Each genre topic you enter has the same familiar layout of showing what's coming soon and favourite picks at the moment and so on. A useful addition I have now noticed from writing this review is how you can read reviews of the film from the LoveFilm members, similar to what you do here on Ciao. You can of course use the search bar to find the title you wish for, I just did a few practise searches and found it is very accurate in finding what you want.
Database of Titles
LoveFilm now have a database full of DVD's, Blue-ray discs and Video Games ranging from the hit blockbusters to the not quite so known titles. I only have experience with the Xbox 360 games in the video games selection. I can confirm that they now have an excellent range of games in the database, pretty much every Xbox 360 title released can be rented which is extremely impressive. What impresses even more is how the titles always seem to be in stock and ready to rent for you whenever you wish, more about that later though.
Getting the titles you want to rent isn't quite as simple as picking 1 and recieving it the next day, there's a system in place that complicates it slightly in order to deal with the thousands of customers LoveFilm have and keeping products in stock. When adding the title you wish to rent to your list you have to give a priority rating towards it, meaning how badly you wish to recieve it. A radio check list box comes up and you must select from high, medium or low priority. Do this 9 more times will succesfully activate your account and enable you to start recieving your titles. I have found from my experience that you do recieve your highly wanted products the majority of the time, however I would have 100 or so items in my listed queue with only 20 or so of them being high priority, therefore meaning it was easy for them to send what I wanted because of the large list I had. I have had friends tell me they were recieving low priority titles all the time, I wonder to myself if they spent the time creating an effective list beforehand like I did.
I shall also note that there is an egg timer next to new or coming soon titles. If a game or movie is in high priority for lots of people (such as the new GTAIV game was) it will be mentioned that the title is wanted lots from other people so you may have to wait time to recieve the product. I find this acceptable as it can be hard for them to predict the customers desire to want a title at times, so having stock problems if forgiveable.
Recieving Your Titles
After you have successfully created an adequate list of titles for the staff to choose from the titles get sent to you via the post. You can check the status of your titles being sent to you at any time by logging into the website and going to My Rental List. After the titles have been despatched you generally recieve the titles the next working day. I have always been mighty impressed at the speed of this but I have reason to believe it's because the headquarters are located at Peterbrough, near to where I live. I know people who have been upset and angered at having to wait time to recieve their titles, I have fortunately never had these problems.
As usual you will get the odd problem with a disc not working, I have learnt to accept this as a fact because these discs have probably been around numerous households and there's always the one person that mistreats it and lets it get damaged. Thankfully whenever I get "disc read error" errors in my Xbox 360 I give the disc a good wipe and it works.
Sending the titles back is done by placing the disc (or discs) back in the envelope they came in. It's a very cleverly designed way of getting the titles to you and back as they can be resealed. It's freepost by the way so you don't have to pay a thing, just need to walk to your local postbox to post it off when your
Pictures of Lovefilm.com(film)
These are the options your presented with when choosing what package you want to register with.
Other Interesting Features
Account Freezing: LoveFilm have an Account Freezing feature which I never took advantage of but wish I did at times. Basically you are able to freeze your account without having to deactivate it if you wanted to go on a break from renting titles (maybe because your going on holiday for a few weeks). Why is this handy? Well if you deactivate your account like I did will mean you lose all your statistics and past history with the site, meaning you need to re-register again if you wish to join up again. So simply freezing your account is a much simplier and easier process, saving hassle and time.
Trailers: If you are unsure about what you want to watch for your rentals it's possible to go on the profile page of the movie and watch the trailers that LoveFilm provide you to give you a better idea and understanding of whether you would enjoy the film or not. Windows Media Player is used to view the trailer.
Rating: You can give a star rating on the game or film to help other potential customers wanting to see the film decide whether or not it's work renting.
Recommendations: The system is able to make recommended titles for you to watch/play due to which titles you have previously rented and the ratings you give them.
Downloads: I haven't done this myself but I believe it is possible to download titles from the website. It may cost a little bit more but I'm sure downloading interests some people much more than renting via post.
I have come accross numerous silly little problems through my time of using Screenselect and LoveFilm, I have therefore needed help to sort out the situation. LoveFilm first asks you to read the FAQs to see if the answer to your question can be figured out by reading what's already available to view on the website. This is done because I can imagine a high percentage of the emails they would have got would be plain simple ones that waste the support teams time. If however the question is more complex and needs a person to answer your individual question it is possible to email the support team about your query/question or problem.
One time for me when I registered for a free trial I clicked the wrong package which I didn't want, after sending the support team an email explaining what happened and that I didn't realise what package I had selected they upgraded my account for me free of charge, marvelous! The responses are also sent back to you rather speedily, most of the time on the same day you send (if between the traditional 9 to 5 timeframe).
I have really enjoyed using LoveFilm and am glad I am able to rate them 5 stars (it's rare I do that). I highly recommend checking out the service, especially since there is always a 2 week free trial for new customers and a larger one if you find the codes littered around the Internet. If you like renting then this is the place to be, you'll be saving much more money than going to your local Choices or Blockbuster every other day and renting something.
Excellent review, I was a member of Lovefilm last year and was very disappointed with the services (sending out faulty discs, overcharging etc) but they offered me a 3month free trial recently and I as very satisfied with the service!! X