Saturday, 29 June 2013

Have Rakuten Just Won the Netflix/LoveFilm War?

Everyone in the UK knows It's that great website that used to be so cheap due to its Jersey-based store meaning no tax on all its goods.

A couple of years ago they were bought by the Rakuten group, a Japanese e-commerce conglomerate that's one of the largest in the world. Since then, tax changes have meant Play is no longer as cheap as it used to be but it's still a pretty good alternative to Amazon or eBay.
And it's just gotten a whole lot better.

In what I can only guess is an answer to Amazon's LoveFilm service, they have made (a previously Spanish-based VOD service, also purchased recently by the group) available in the UK for only £2.99 a month (as a special offer).

So what is it? Well, it's a VOD service, so nothing new there. can learn what titles are available on the service via the store much like you can with Amazon and LoveFilm, so that's Netflix out of the game.

AND...You can also rent movies (at an extra price, of course)

AND...You can also buy movies and they are stored via the cloud, so goodbye to you Mr Amazon.

So what's the significance of this? A cloud-based storage system for movies that you can watch anywhere at any time (with internet). No more scratched discs. No more restrictions for movies from the Apple Store. It's all digital and it works everywhere.

So for the price of a (very cheap) single film a month, you get a VOD service with a decent catalogue, a premium rental service and an unlimited cloud storage unit for movies bought via that account.

The catch? Well there isn't really one unless you consider that few of the movies are actually available in HD and prices for buying are not cheap in the slightest. That being said, the service has just launched so all this could be set to change.

The first month is free, and if you act now you only pay £2.99 a month (half price).
It's not a bad investment, even if you are already subscribed to one of the others, and for that price you can always trial it for three months to see if it's worthwhile.

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