Here in Sweden we used to have a service called Brafilm, which, like Netflix, would send DVDs to your home. You could subscribe to having one, two, or three DVDs at home at the same time.
This was great, as Netflix customers also noticed, before Netflix started offering streaming video.
Eventually the Swedish company got bought by a British counterpart called Lovefilm, which in turn was bought by Amazon. This boded well, with hopes that some of the video downloading and streaming features from Amazon would show up here.
That hasn’t happened. The Swedish Lovefilm has added a handful of streaming titles, but just a few. Until this week there wasn’t one I wanted to see. But now they are offering “The Artist”. Unfortunately when I tried to watch it on my iPad, all I got were error messages in the browser, pointing out that the iPad lacks Flash. There is a Swedish Lovefilm iPad app, but it is useless. It looks like you can search for films and add them to your mailing list, but that’s about it.
I wrote to Lovefilm and asked about this, and was told “The streaming function unfortunately doesn’t work in the iPad for exactly the reason you write, the iPad lacks Flash. You can stream our films either on a computer or on your TV from a computer”.
But I don’t want to be told what I already know. I wanted to hear something like “we’re working on improving the app”. It’s not as if this is a technical problem. The British Lovefilm iPad app includes streaming. How hard can it be to port this code to the Swedish app?
The reason this is important is because I can watch stuff from the iPad on my TV, either via Airplay to our Apple TV, or by directly plugging the iPad into an hdmi port. I’m not about to carry my desktop computer downstairs to the TV to plug it in. (And who wants to watch a TV program or a movie sitting at a desk in front of a computer?)
If Lovefilm doesn’t fix this soon, they will be out of business. Netflix has announced it is launching in Scandinavia by the end of the year. And there’s already a Netflix app on our Apple TV screen, just waiting to have an account hooked up to it.