Lovefilm HD streaming arrives at last for PC, Mac and Xbox

Lovefilm Instant, the movie and TV streaming service, is getting upgraded to HD.

Lovefilm Instant, the movie and TV streaming service, is getting upgraded to HD on PC, Mac and the Xbox 360, as well as Samsung and LG Blu-ray players and smart tellies.

The service, previously pooh-poohed for offering a blurry, unattractive stream, will see the biggest quality bump on PC and Mac, where customers will now get a 1080p resolution stream.

If you're watching on an Xbox, Blu-ray player or smart telly, you'll get a 720p stream. Only some titles are currently available in HD -- on its blog Lovefilm explains that flicks like Apocalypse Now and Attack the Block will be streaming in glorious high definiton, as will TV shows including Planet Earth and Lost.

Unfortunately Lovefilm says it doesn't have studio rights to stream HD on the iPad, while PlayStation 3 owners are also left out -- though Sony's console currently streams in higher than standard quality apparently, as do Sony tellies and Blu-ray players. 

Video that's available in HD will be marked with a little HD icon, and playback quality will shift automatically depending on the strength of your Internet connection.

In our epic Lovefilm versus Netflix showdown we noticed that Lovefilm has a tendency to crop movies at the sides, eliminating those annoying black bars but losing valuable footage. I've asked Lovefilm whether this will still be the case, as well as requesting information on sound quality, and I'll let you know if I hear back.

Lovefilm's strength lies in the breadth of its catalogue, so if it can banish the poor quality streaming and iffy presentation, it could prove a better service than new rival Netflix.

How do you watch your TV? On demand, on your laptop or on the move? Let me know your viewing preferences in the comments below, or over on our hi-def Facebook wall.