The market for subscription based on-demand films and TV shows in the UK just got a lot more competitive. Netflix has now launched offering a subscription based service for £5.99 per month.
There is a one month free trial if you sign up and link the service to your Facebook account, billing will start automatically at the end of the months trial. The service appears very similar to the US based service, with similar quality of video, with HD content running at around 5 Mbps, SD content is a similar quality to the existing Lovefilm service at under 2 Mbps. The PC player allows you to switch between HD/SD during playback. The PC based service uses Silverlight for video playback. A 90 minute film at 5 Mbps uses 3.4 GB of download allowance.
Content is the king and at launch in the UK, media from the following companies is available on the service All3Media, the BBC, CBS, Channel 4's 4oD, Disney UK & Ireland, ITV, Lionsgate UK, MGM, Miramax, Momentum Pictures, NBCUniversal, Paramount, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox and Viacom International Media Networks.
Up until now online video rentals have cost around £3 to £4 for a 48 hour rental, the price of Netflix at the equivalent of just two rentals makes for a very compelling offer, and the HD quality while not at Blu-Ray levels exceeds that of many other subscription based services, and may even provide competition to Sky, where adding HD to a satellite package costs £10 per month extra, plus the price of any movie packages.