Pan-European online video service LOVEFiLM Instant has finally pulled itself level with competitors in the picture quality stakes by offering a number of its titles in high-definition.
The HD functionality is available from today in the UK and Germany, and allows subscribers to stream top quality films and TV series on-demand and for no extra charge in HDTV resolutions up to 1080p.
LOVEFiLM members in the UK, using PC or Mac, will enjoy content in full 1080p high definition, while members using their Xbox 360 or Samsung and LG connected HDTVs will enjoy 720p resolution. In Germany, HD content will be available initially on PC and Mac in full 1080p high-definition.
Films and TV series available in HD will automatically stream with the improved quality where an Internet connection can support it. For 720p streaming, members will require a minimum Internet connection of 4 Mbps, while those with connections of 12 Mbps or higher will enjoy full 1080p where possible.
The catalogue of HD films available to LOVEFiLM members will expand over the coming weeks and months. In the UK, titles will include teen sensation The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, family favourite Gnomeo and Juliet and British comedy Four Lions.
Top US TV dramas including LOST and Ghost Whisperer will also be available alongside a whole host of British titles, including the BBC’s popular documentaries Human Planet and David Attenborough’s critically acclaimed Planet Earth.
The Amazon-owned online video service has made great progress in the past year by undercutting new competitor Netflix on price and signing new distribution deals (such as the one signed yesterday with NBCUniversal – more details here).
However, a perceived weakness of the service has been picture quality, with many users feeling this to be sub-par compared to rival offerings, and to standard-definition broadcast TV in many instances.
The addition of HD streaming will be welcome to most users but not all – PlayStation 3 owners will remain unaffected, as the company continues working to bring full HD streaming to the device.
LOVEFiLM currently has over 2 million members in the UK, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. The service was acquired by Amazon in February 2011, and provides access to over 70,000 titles available across Blu-ray, DVDs, video games and instant streaming.