Netflix vs Lovefilm Instant: Study suggests you need both

Statistics reveal the staggeringly low number of films and TV shows available on both online streaming services.

Struggling to decide whether Netflix or Lovefilm Instant is a more comprehensive streaming service? A new number-crunching study suggests you need to splash out for both, as almost every film or TV show available for streaming in the UK is exclusive to one or the other, but not both.

Statistics from Oric, a site we've previously covered that lists where you can legally watch TV shows online, shows that Lovefilm Instant offers a total of 3,284 movies, 3,015 of which are Lovefilm exclusives. Netflix, on the other hand, has a total of 1,668 films in its roster, 1,399 of which can't be found on Lovefilm.

Of films that came out in 2012, not a single one can be found on both services. And of the 187 movies released in 2011 that are present on both Lovefilm and Netflix, only one film (Hong Kong chop-socker Shaolin) can be found on both. The bottom line -- if you want anything even approaching a comprehensive movie and TV selection, you need to subscribe to both services.

On the TV front, only Netflix has popular shows such as Arrested Development, Breaking Bad and Dexter, while only Lovefilm gets 30 Rock, Battlestar Galactica and The Tudors. Lovefilm is lacking in The Thick of It, but curiously does lay claim to the special episodes.

Netflix has 412 TV shows in total, 322 of which can't be found on Lovefilm. Conversely, Lovefilm has 300 TV shows, 210 of which don't feature on the rival services.

But which one should I choose?

Deciding which service is better is a near-impossible task, as raw numbers of available films and TV shows don't indicate the quality of what's available (Nude Nuns with Big Guns is one of the few films available on both services, for example). Netflix deserves a bit of credit for featuring 41 films that were released last year, however, compared to Lovefilm Instant's more meagre 18.

It's fair to say, then, that Netflix is more up to date, while Lovefilm is more comprehensive. Netflix costs £5.99 per month, whereas Lovefilm Instant costs £4.99.

It's dismaying, however, to see how far we are in the UK from a service that's approaching something all-encompassing (unless you splash out for a pricey Sky subscription). I'm sure I'm not the only Brit who hates flicking from Netflix to iPlayer to the Xbox trying to find my favourite shows.

It's also worth noting that in the UK we're privy to far fewer titles than the US enjoys -- Netflix has a total of 1,668 movies in the UK for example, compared to 9,153 available flicks in the US.

Do you prefer Netflix or Lovefilm? Would you pay for both to get access to more movies and TV shows? Stream your sentiments into the comments below, or our fully comprehensive Facebook wall.

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