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Netflix Launches UK Streaming Service

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Netflix begins operations in the UK as Lovefilm cuts prices

Netflix, the American film and television streaming service, has launched in the UK and Ireland, initiating a price war with rival LoveFilm.

From today, customers will be able to start a free one month trial of the service, which is capable of streaming to a range of PCs, smartphones, tablets and game consoles.

Tough competition

Netflix promises a range of global and Hollywood films as well as the best of American TV along with British favourites. From launch, programmes from the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, CBS, NBC Universal and Twentieth Century Fox will be available, along with content from a host of other providers.

Some of this content will be in high definition, while integration with Facebook means that you will be able to post what you are watching to your timeline, while also keeping track of what your friends are viewing.

Compatible devices include Mac and Windows computers, Android and iOS devices, LG Blu-Ray players, Samsung Smart TVs and Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 game consoles.

Netflix currently has 20 million streaming members in 47 countries and territories, but will have to compete against LoveFilm in the UK. The Amazon-owned company, which also rents out physical copies of DVDs and video games, responded to the launch by offering a streaming-only package which boasts an introductory price of £4.99.

“We are starting 2012 in the best possible way: by giving consumers in the UK and Ireland an amazing entertainment experience,” said Reed Hastings, co-founder and CEO of Netflix. “Now, you can enjoy as many great films and TV programmes as you want, when you want, where you want, for one low monthly price with no contracts or commitments.”

Other rivals include Apple’s iTunes store which also offers movies and TV shows for download, as well as the BBC’s iPlayer, which is free in the UK.