Netflix promised us a UK launch for early 2012, and they’ve certainly delivered. The popular TV and movie streaming service launched here on our shores mere hours ago, with users being able to sign up and start streaming straight away.
Your first month of streaming is free, and after that you’ll be paying £5.99 a month for unlimited consumption of entertainment, a breath of fresh air considering Lovefilm’s various pricing brackets. You can stream to your computer, iPhone, or Android device, as well as the PS3. The Xbox 360 and Wii look to be supported very shortly with their own apps. In terms of content partners, right now Netflix have partnered with Sony, Disney, Paramount, Lionsgate, 20th Century Fox, the BBC, along with a few others – a list that’s surely bound to grow as time goes on.
We loaded up the Netflix app on our iPhones and spent some time streaming various movies and TV shows without any issues. Everything loaded within a couple of seconds, and seeking was also extremely quick. The rate adaptive nature of the stream also means you’ll be getting the best picture quality possible, bandwidth permitting. We turned off WiFi and found much to our surprise that streaming over 3G is supported too, although it’ll eat into your data allowance extremely quickly.
The sticking point right now is content. Considering the service only just launched, there’s a healthy selection of catalogue titles and TV shows, but there’s a severe lack of recent movies, as well as big name titles. We couldn’t find any popular movies from earlier in 2011, and looking for blockbusters like Iron Man or Transformers yielded no results. You also won’t be able to watch any content from Warner Brothers, since Netflix have no deal with them. Searching for “Superman”, for example, will net you the documentary about America’s school system instead of the Man of Steel.
Even with launch agreements in place, it seems the studios don’t want all their crown jewels available just yet, hopefully something that will change in the near future. Getting the other studios on board wouldn’t hurt either.
The iOS and Android apps are available to download right now. Check out our hands-on video below. Happy streaming!