How To Get The Best Out Of Your LoveFilm Experience…

Monday 12 September, 2011

This blog entry was brought to you by a good friend pointing out that my assisting him with his LoveFilming should be turned into a blog entry.

So here we are!

I am a LoveFilm user. I’ve been a member for over a year, courtesy of my aforementioned good friend, who has been a member for at least two years. Which is why it was quite surprising for me to be giving him pointers and not the other way around.

First of all, you need to be a proper DVD/Game buff to get your moneys worth. As advertised, you can get a basic service for the minimum of ¬£4.99, but that only allows you to get one DVD at a time and a total of two DVDs a month. The further up the price, the service vs money spent evens out. Think of your average price of a Movie or a Boxset, plus P+P, and then compare it to the subscription fee. If you’re looking to get the latest releases but run the risk of your list always being at 10 Titles or less, this service won’t be for you. There is also an issue of Copyright/Renting Laws that I won’t go in to right now.

The service I use is the Full Whack one. I get Unlimited DVDs a month, three discs at a time. I can get through about 9 Discs a week when the service runs smoothly. I will talk about what could happen when the service doesn’t work smoothly a little bit later.

As a film buff and not much of a console gamer, I won’t be talking about the Games side of LoveFilm.

So now we’ve established what account makes the service worth it and the best kind of customer for such a service, lets move on to the service itself.

There is no point filling your list with films you don’t want to see or be sent for the sake of buffing up your title list so that you’re not sent annoying messages telling you that your list is low. That is why you need to be quite the TV/Movie fanatic. Prioritising does work, but it’s not perfect. I’ve only ever been sent “low” priorities twice, but it can and does happen without the influencing circumstances that befell me:

Once was when I had a short list of about 15 Titles and most of them were either “Short Wait” or “Long Wait”, and the second time was when I’d entered a competition. I will talk about Competitions a bit later.

To make sure you can influence the discs LoveFilm send you so much so that you’re mostly in control of what you get, use Lists wisely. Seperate different Genres/Themes/Mediums if need be and then prioritise within those Lists.

For example, I’ve made sure all films are in a Films List, and the ones that I really want to see as soon as possible are Maximum Priority. On the List’s Edit page, I have two disc symbols next to it so that I get two Films every dispatch. I have a specified TV Show list, where I move specific TV shows in to so that I get discs from that TV show and only that TV show so that I can work through the show without getting mixed up with other shows. My remaining Disc symbol stays next to that disc.

There is a Subscription option where you can get five discs at a time, and ten discs total a month. I’m guessing that could work quite similar to my system, if you wanted to get more discs from your lists at a time.

And just for the record, I also have a List made up Documentaries and another one of TV Shows that are waiting “To be organised”. By which I mean, they’re just all there out of the way of the Film List, waiting to be selected for the next show I work through. You can have 10 Lists on the go at a time.

Some good methods of always keeping your Lists above the minimum amount, apart from being a constant film buff, is cataloging. Don’t know what that is? That’s ok, I think I made it up a few years ago.

It’s where you choose an actor and you rent their whole catalogue of films and TV shows they’ve ever been in. That gets you, on average, a good 10 films, and maybe two complete TV Series as well. Even if they’re just in one episode. Obviously if you know you won’t like the film or have already seen it, don’t add it. But it is a great way to expand your viewing horizons, see films or shows you wouldn’t have otherwise seen.

I mentioned this to my good friend and he liked the idea, and then came up with a good idea himself. Get your friend, who may or may not have different tastes to you, to list all the films they hate and add all the ones you haven’t seen yet/don’t know whether you’ll like or not to your list.

Or if you do have similar tastes, ask a friend to list their top rated films and add those instead. Unless you’ve seen them, that is.

When there is a “Long Wait” or “Short Wait” on some Titles, I find it best to rejiggle them so that they’re medium or low priority so that you have a higher choice of getting something Top Priority, instead of them potentially bypassing the next disc and choosing something you didn’t want to see just yet, or had better things to watch right then. As soon as they’re no longer classed as “Short Wait” or “Long Wait”, you can re-prioritise them to their previous position on the list.

Sometimes, things don’t go quite well. Sometimes it’s the Post’s fault; post is sometimes delayed and some discs have been known to “go missing”, but when it’s LoveFilm’s fault, let them know. If there’s a faulty disc, it’s easy to report it and get a replacement. Depending on how your lists are set up and what list your disc is from, you might even get a second Disc along with the replacement. All you have to do is replace the one that doesn’t work.

I’ll be honest, in the year I’ve been using LoveFilm, I’ve had to report a lot of discs as faulty, but their extra discs on replacement and prompt responses of Customer Service make up for it. What you have to remember is a LOT of people use LoveFilm, some discs will be worn from over play and some will be scratched by careless people. The same can go for any rental service.

As I mentioned earlier, LoveFilm sometimes do competitions. Sometimes they’re to win merchandise, or free cinema tickets. The prize more often than not, though, is an Extra Film Credit Token. And most of the time, you get one just for participating.

An Extra Film Credit Token is exactly what it says on the Tin. You get one, you use it, you get an extra Film sent out to you from your list. Usually it’s from your Top Priority, sometimes it can be from your Medium Priority. Once I got one from my low Priority, but I won the token after adding a bunch of films I had no intention of watching to my List, just because it would have got me a Token.

When it comes to those kind of competitions, here’s a sneaky tip. Add them to your main list, put them all on low priority and then once you get your token for it, delete the films you added.

Wait a good two weeks before using one token after another, because adding an extra film can make it go a bit wonky, in a good way, for a few Dispatches. And don’t worry, if a token disc arrives faulty, reporting it won’t lose you the extra film.

And last but not least, the CopyRight/Renting Law Issues I mentioned at the beginning of this entry. There is a problem between Universal Pictures and LoveFilm in the UK, just as there is with Netflix in America. Even if you reserve Universal Movies and they stay in your Reserve list until the day of release, once it’s been released, any and all Universal DVDs will be “Buy Only.” This makes the method of only adding new releases pretty pointless. You’ll get less than your moneys worth if you’re waiting for new releases to come out if they’re made by Universal Pictures.

For more information on that, google it.

I hope I’ve been of help. If you’re not a member and my entry has tempted you to become one, I can get you a month free trial! Feel free to comment here and I can give you the code.