Games consoles have moved well beyond being just games consoles, the Sony PS3 has now gained a LoveFilm application that allows LoveFilm subscribers to watch a large part of their film catalogue instantly over their broadband connection.
The application is available as an icon on the PS3 video menu, which downloads a small (2MB) application that once you sign in with your LoveFilm account details will let you browse their catalogue, select films for delivery, or watch it instantly on the PS3.
This is not the first film service on the PS3, but since viewing is included as part of a new or existing dvd/blu-ray rental service, it is substantially different to the main PS3 video store where rentals cost £2.50 to £4.50 per play.
In terms of how good the service is, do not expect Blu-ray quality, it is more inline with the quality of Freeview, but does look a little better than the equivalent film played over the existing PC based LoveFilm streaming service. Bit rate calcuted from playing a 2 hour long movie was 1560Kbps (Kilo bits per second) giving a total usage figure of 1.4GB (GigaBytes), so those on slower or congested broadband services may not have much success. In this respect the download rather than streamed model used by Sony's own video store is better for those on slower connections.
The arrival of a film service with a large catalogue and at a fixed monthly fee is something that has been missing from the market. The cheapest package that allows streaming to the PS3 is £5.99 which gives 2 disc rentals per month, and 2 hours online streaming, £7.99 gets you 4 discs per month and four hours of streaming, unlimited viewing starts at £9.99 per month.