In an odd step backwards, Lovefilm Instant is ditching Doctor Who and more than 60 other TV programmes.
Lovefilm Instant allows you to stream movies and TV shows from the Lovefilm catalogue, for £5 per month. While every film and show can be sent to you on DVD, only selected films and TV can be watched instantly -- but it seems we can't expect that programmes available to stream at any one time will always be on offer.
The nifty streaming guide Oric spotted that no less than 63 TV shows are disappearing from Lovefilm's streaming service. Oric is designed to take the headache out of watching a TV show online. Instead of separately visiting 4oD, iTunes, iPlayer et al to find something to watch, just track your favourite show on Oric and it'll tell you where you can stream or buy episodes and see much they cost. And you can mark that you've seen an episode. Genius!
It's that kind of simplicity we need in the world of online films and TV. After the arrival of Netflix in the UK, I thought it would encourage Lovefilm, Blinkbox and every similar service to raise their game in terms of quality and variety, but it seems competition for licensing deals has only managed to fragment the market -- leaving the consumer having to go back and forth between services to find stuff to watch.
Auf wiedersehen, Auf Wiedersehen Pet
So what are the programmes that are being taken off Lovefilm Instant? Sure, there are some shows of a certain vintage, like The Saint, Stingray, Porridge, Auf Wiedersehen Pet and The Darling Buds of May. But we're also talking about recent hits like Gavin and Stacey, Lost and Outnumbered.
And that's not to mention solid-gold classics such as Blackadder, Fawlty Towers, Red Dwarf and Planet Earth.
The first wave of programmes -- mostly ITV shows like Cracker, Cold Feet and assorted Gerry Anderson shows -- disappear today. The rest go over the new year, with The Royle Family and Wallander hanging around until February.
Lovefilm says it's replacing the expiring shows with new additions, including Sons of Anarchy (amazing), Downton Abbey (posh) and Scrubs (been on E4 all day every day for the last 10 years).
Where do you watch TV online? Should services offer as many shows as they can, or just the latest? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.