Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Nintendo DS Games

My friend got his first Nintendo DS game from LoveFilm the other day. What's a little strange is that they send them exactly the same as discs (as seen below).

Other than that, nothing much to talk about. DVDs are coming in thick and fast. I'm following the Eureka Seven series, and their pledge that the volumes are sent out in order is true so far. Just got the TV series "Jam" as well (not recommended to be honest).

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Unpacking a DVD

As promised, here is a detailed unpacking of a generic Lovefilm DVD.

Here is the standard envelope as you receive it.

And the back:

The white bit at the bottom has what seems to be a serial number, but also "Picked by XXXXXX" which lists the name of who packed it (it's not a machine as I thought). I've had several by a guy called Dominic it would seem.

Next you tear along the edge where it says "OPEN HERE" and you end up with something similar to this.

The "Rate it or Slate it" thing is promoting their title rating thing their website has (I mentioned this on earlier posts). The other DVD I got today had a promotion for getting 30 days free if I recommend another person to Lovefilm, as well as an advertisement for emusic, as seen in this next image.

Now here's something important.

On the envelope, you can tick a "Faulty" box in the event of a problem with the disc (only put the faulty disc in when sending). However, as you may remember from my faulty disc post a little while back, when reporting a problem on the website (as the envelope recommends doing first) it doesn't say whether you should tick the box as well as reporting on the website, or whether it's one or another.

Now then, on with unpacking. When you take off the Lovefilm promotion, you can take out the DVD in the sleeve which, in this DVD's case, had a label on describing what's on the disc (though my other DVD, Eureka Seven Volume 2, did not have a label).

On the back of the sleeve is a message asking people to look after the discs which is a good thing as the last thing you need is a broken disc, and it says in the terms and conditions that if you break or lose a disc, you will pay £10 per DVD, £17.50 per Blu-ray or HD DVD disc and £25 per game (correct as of 24th March 2009 in their T&Cs).
It also recommends giving the DVDs a wipe with a cloth in case it doesn't play. It also mentions a special material called "Tyvek" that the sleeve is lined with "to better protect your disc".

Also, as I've explained before, it asks for the disc to be returned in the right wallet.

While this DOES matter when there's a label on the sleeve, I don't quite see why it would matter when there isn't one.

That's all there is to it really. When returning the disc, you simply peel off the film over the glue, and then fold over the remaining part.

And now for my usual confusion with hoe many discs can be returned in an envelope.

Standard Lovefilm Envelope:

Spare Envelope (received with my previous lot):

And that's it. I'm off to watch Look Around You and Eureka Seven.

See ya!!!

Monday, 23 March 2009

E-Mail Followup

Here's the first e-mail I got back off Lovefilm concerning the e-mail I sent in the previous post.

Dear Peter,

Thank you for your e-mail.

I was pleased to read that you are happy with the service that you are receiving from us. We always like to hear such positive feedback from our customers.

I have just contacted our Catalogue department and asked them if they would be able to group together the 4 volumes of 'The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya' series. Once I hear back from them I shall contact you again.

I can confirm that our Web team are currently working to improve the search facility on our website. I have therefore passed your suggestion onto them for their consideration.

I do hope that you shall continue to enjoy the service that we provide and if we can be of any further assistance then please do contact us again.

Kind regards,


Well, apart from the fact that the guy helping me is ALSO CALLED PETER, it's awesome that they sent a response so quickly. Not only that, but it looks like they actually read the e-mails people send them (unlike Microsoft, but that's a whole other story). However, it seems they mis-understood when I went on about the 4 volumes of Haruhi. I was merely using it as an example as I already have that series on DVD. However, as he promised, he e-mailed me back later on. Here's the message:

Dear Peter,

Further to my previous e-mail, I can confirm that I have been advised by our Catalogue team that when the different volumes of the title 'The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya' are added to a rental list then our system is set up so that they shall be sent to you in the correct sequence one after the other. We do list each volume separately as we have found that in the past customers have not wished to be sent the entire volume series but only certain volumes so our Catalogue team do not intend to group then together on the one page.

If we can be of any further assistance in this or any other matter then please do contact us again.

Kind regards,


So that's awesome as I can add all the "Eureka Seven" volumes to my list without fear of them being sent in the wrong order! Incidentally, volume 2 is one of the next two dvds being sent (the other being "Look Around You - Series 2").

In all, I'm feeling very happy with Lovefilm at the moment. That's enough rambling for today I think. Ja-ne!

Sunday, 22 March 2009

An E-Mail to Lovefilm

I just finished sending an e-mail to Lovefilm about a couple of things. Here it is for your viewing plesiere.

Dear Sir/Madam,

First of all, thanks for providing such a great service. I never expected that it would be so easy to use the Lovefilm service, but I was proven wrong.

I would like to make a couple of suggestions you could possibly implement on the website.

First of all, I am a big fan of Japanese anime. The various series' in this genre are released in multiple volumes (for example, a 14 episode series like "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya" is released in 4 separate volumes). When searching for a series, the volumes are usually listed separately as normal DVDs. However, what I am suggesting is that series' like the above are grouped together like multi-disc titles so that users can rent the volumes in order with one click instead of renting each individual volume separately when they finish the previous one. This would also clean up search results as there would only be one listing for a series instead of several.
My other idea is concerning the search feature on the site. Currently, the search facility of the website only searches titles, actors and directors. An idea I had would be to have the publishers of the titles searchable. Again, this would benefit anime fans such as myself, as it would allow me to browse publishers catalogues to find new titles for me to rent. This would be better than simply browsing an "anime" section as some titles I've noticed are put under "world cinema" and not "anime" (and the other way around) as well as some publishers only dealing in types of anime I'm not overly fond of.
But it's not just anime fans this would benefit. There are other publishers out there who only deal in certain types of film.

I apologise for the ominous wall of text, but I hope you consider my ideas.

Thank you for your time.

So what do you think? I'm not sure if they'll take me seriously from mentioning anime a lot, but it's worth a shot. Who knows, they might actually implement it!

All 4 discs have been sent back, I will find out which two I'm getting next tomorrow probably and, if the post is good, I'll get them on Tuesday. I'll probably see you then. If I remember, I'll post step-by-step "how to open Lovefilm envelopes" guide!

See you then!

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Today's Deliveries

I was kinda expecting my delivery yesterday, but they arrived today. All four discs.

Remember how I mentioned that my friend got two discs in one envelope, well I got two envelopes with two discs in each, though with a little bit extra...

Inside one of the envelopes was one of these. On the back it reads "Spare return envelope, you may return up to 3 discs in the same envelope".

So that was rather nice of them to give me an extra envelope. Though I usually return them one at a time as I finish with them to ensure I get titles asap, since I have a few extra this time, I'll probably put a few in the same envelope.

Now then, I got my first blu-ray from Lovefilm today. Apart from the fact that the disc is really really shiny, it has a little "blu-ray" logo on the sleeve it came in which is odd, but fair enough. Probably to differentiate the discs at the distribution plant.

Once again, im completely stumped as to what the difference between the envelopes is. The small spare envelope says up to 3 discs, but the larger lovefilm envelopes say 2 unless they have advertising (like the Street Fighter envelope) then it says varies.

Anyways, everything seems ok. I'll go back to enjoying my 4 discs XD

Sunday, 15 March 2009

A conversation with a previous Lovefilm customer and my thoughts on a few things

Yesterday, I went to a restaurant with some friends (including Martin who introduced me to the service). I mentioned to Martin my first problem (see previous post) and Mark, across the table, went "oooooh how long have you been with them?" From his response, I had a feeling he hadn't had much fun with them. I asked him what his experiences were with them, and here's the summary of them:

1) Delivery times are really slow and sometimes don't turn up, so you have to report as missing.
2) Scratched discs is a very common occurrence.
3) They left lovefilm and went with Amazon.co.uk rentals and loved them......until Lovefilm bought them.

Personally, I haven't had much issue with them except for one scratched disc which they instantly dealt with and gave me compensation for it (an extra rental ^_^). But then again, it's only been ten days since I signed up, so I can't really draw comparisons.

On looking back at their response to the scratched disc, they have the same policy as Blockbuster stores. I got myself a Blockbuster account quite a while back as renting a whole series boxset of Charmed for £5 a week seemed like a good deal. But, quite often, there would be at least one disc which was scratched a lot and would skip quite a bit on playing. For the first two times, they just thanked me for telling them and put the offending discs in their scratch removing machine. But after that, their policy must have changed as, when I came in after that to let them know, I always got a free rental out of it.

Looking back on it now, I feel kinda bad for always going in with scratched discs and getting free rentals, but I still borrowed films from them and they were usually alright, so they still got lots of my money XD

One thing I liked about Blockbuster over Lovefilm is that you got the original box for the rental. With Lovefilm, all you get is a plastic sleeve (sometimes with a label on with a picture of the box and a little about the title). I don't know about other people, but having the actual box feels more satisfying. Also, it feels like you're less likely to lose the disc if it's in a box. I'm sure I'll lose one of those sleeves one day >_<

Then again, one thing with Lovefilm is that you can select the specific disc from boxsets you want to rent. This is especially good if you buy the one disc version of a film, and then find that there's a two disc version, you can borrow the special features disc on its own. THAT is a really good idea I think.

Saturday, 14 March 2009


You may recall that I had to send a disc back to Lovefilm due to it being faulty. As compensation, they added an extra rental in the style of a film extra. I also sent back Snuff Box. In addition, a few days ago, I requested a Film Extra. Bring all this together and what do you get?


I wasn't expecting that! I must say that LoveFilm are certainly very high up in my books. Their customer service is great and I've had no issues with them whatsoever! We shall see if this remains when I become a paying member in a month or so...

Friday, 13 March 2009


I received another disc today (their postage is really fast) and I encountered my very first problem: The disc would not play.

After about 2 minutes (ish) of whirring and clicking (gulp) my blu-ray player informed me that I could not play the disc. I took a look at the disc and saw thick scratches on the inside ring of the disc along with smaller scratches at various points on the disc. As any normal person would do, I tried it in another of my DVD players. It looked like it was about to work as it went "loading..." then a black screen appeared...then it turned itself off -_- I hate that DVD player by the way.

So I followed the instructions on the envelope and went to the "report a problem" section on the lovefilm website. I can easily say it was the easiest returns process I've ever done. The steps went like this:

1) Click "report a problem" on the rental list page.
2) Select "Broken or not playing disc" (or whatever the problem is)
3) Select the title in question (this was a little confusing as clicking the title take you to the item's page on lovefilm. you have to select the option button on the far right)
4) Hit continue
5) Select whether you want another copy of the title, or if you just want your next rental instead (fyi, I selected "next rental" because, after lovefilm had dispatched it, I watched it round a friend's house and it wasn't very good)
6) Add any comments on the issue
7) Hit finish.
8) Post title back as normal. (This also confused me. I wasn't sure whether I tick the "faulty" box on the envelope AS WELL as reporting the problem, whether it was one or another or if it didn't matter. I ticked the box as it'll get to where it's supposed to go either way probably.

And that's it. Very simple process. Just tick the right boxes and post the disc back. I got a reply about five minutes after this saying:
"We do regularly check and clean all of our DVDs and any damaged discs are withdrawn from circulation immediately and replaced with new stock.

We have added an extra dispatch to your account as compensation and it will be sent to you as soon as possible. Please note that the bonus rental will not reflect on your account as it is processed manually."

Which is pretty cool. This means I'll either receive an extra disc tomorrow or Monday, and by the sounds of it, this rental has the same rules as a film extra rental. I shall report back of course. Now for some a picture...

This shows roughly where the major scratches were (though not as gigantic as my 5 minutes in Paintbrush). This is not my original disc as that was immediately sent away (as there was about 5 minutes till the last post).

That's it for today. Laters y'all!

Thursday, 12 March 2009

More on Film Extra

As you may remember before, I got a film extra. Now I wasn't entirely sure which title was a film extra one. I found out that it was likely one of the two bad films I got previously (fyi, I'm not mentioning titles because I don't want anyone to rage at me for saying they're bad). So, I currently have Snuff Box out, and I've got another title coming soon. I've requested another film extra, but according to love film, it will "go out with [my] next dispatch" which sounds like it'll only be sent when I send something else back (so they'll send me at least 2 discs) but I don't know. This time, I'll be sure to note down what I have out and try to work out which title is my film extra title and work out how it works.

Staying on the topic of film extra, I was asked how love film select which title to send for the film extra. It's a good question, and I'm not entirely sure of the answer. I think I read somewhere on the site that the rental list selected when you click the "use film extra" button is what the disc is selected from. This probably means that the usual priority rules apply. However, I think I read that, in order to be sure of what list the film extra is selected from, you have to leave the list you want it from selected until the selected disc appears at the top. I'm not sure about this one, so don't quote me.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

A couple of things

Well, I sent back the death note discs OK. They arrived the next day and were replaced by the next two titles (which, incidentally, were rubbish. So I'm sending them back tomorrow morning).

Film Extra

Here's something interesting. Every now and again, you may come across something on LoveFilm offering you a "free rental". Now usually, people take up the unlimited package so on first glance, these people may thing "pah, must be for pay as you go users". WOAH THERE! You couldn't be more wrong.

A "Film Extra" rental is an additional rental on top of your current rentals allowing you an extra disc at home. Let me explain...

I have signed up to LoveFilm on the Unlimited-2 plan. That's supposedly unlimited rentals every month and I'm allowed two discs at home at any one time. Then I come across a competition to win a Nokia something-or-other, but also a free rental just for entering. I go "meh, what's the worst that could happen" and enter. After this, I go over to my rental list and see this:

FiLMExtra logo

You have 1 credit remaining

Next to this is usually a button that says "use FilmExtra" or something similar. On clicking this you're promped if you definately want it or not. If you press yes, the rental page will update with "Titles at home (X at home and 1 Film Extra rental requested)". This means it's pending. The next day (usually) they'll have processed it and send a title from your list out with the next delivery. If you have titles at home already, the Film Extra title will be a bonus title you can have out at the same time. So you'll have 3 discs at home at the same time if you have two at home at no extra cost. This rental also doesn't have any late fees like all other love film rentals. Now when it comes to returning titles after getting one, I'm not sure how it works. Either a specific title is assigned as "film extra" and you have all your remaining discs with this one on the side, or you get reverted when you return the next disc (no matter what it is). I shall report back on this one.

A word of warning though. You can only have ONE Film Extra title out at any one time. So stockpiling a load and using them all at once won't work.

So Film Extras are awesome. However, it seems to be rather rare to come across them. I managed to get two as I entered pretty sharpish into the Nokia something competition. But I also got an e-mail from LoveFilm saying:

"We’re so sure that spending a few minutes choosing films is worth doing, we have sent you a FREE rental to use within your trial period.

No forms to fill in, no boxes to tick. Just go to your rental list to redeem your FREE rental today."

And that was another Film Extra in the bank. I can't use this one just yet until my two crappy films are returned. When this happens I shall report on how returning titles after getting a film extra affect how many discs you have (as mentioned above).

Envolope Advertising

When I received my films this morning I didn't get the usual LoveFilm red envolope. Instead, I got a black and yellow advert laiden envelope for "Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X". Here's a pic (no pics of the standard envelope I'm afraid.

Here's something strange though. The standard LoveFilm branded envelope says you can return up to TWO discs in the envelope. The hawx branded one says it accepts up to THREE discs. Some envelopes I saw on the internet says it allows up to FOUR. Both the red and the hawx envelope seem more or less the same to be honest so I don't see what the difference is, but I'm not gonna argue with the envelope and risk getting told off by Lovefilm.


I signed up to LoveFilm after a recommendation by Peter. I signed up to the Unlimited-2-Games package which means I can get games as well as films. I got my first two discs today (one game and one film), but the strange thing was that they sent both discs in the same envelope which means that I have to send back both at the same time or make my own envelope and use the address on the website.

Peter back. This is a good point actually. If you lose an envelope or rip it accidentally, you can send the disc back using the address given. It's a freepost address too so it won't cost any stamps, though I think it's 2nd class when sent by the freepost address and not the lovefilm envelope.

Aaaand that's it for today. I shall keep you posted about the film extra thing (their explaination on their site isn't really that good). I shall see you in a couple of days.

Friday, 6 March 2009

First Titles Received

I got both discs of Death Note volume 3 today. They come in a rather confusing envelope. To open, you remove the front panel by tearing along a perforated edge (which isn't well made as it ripped quite a bit when opening. You have to be really careful.

You can then take out the DVD in a small plastic sleeve with the DVD's details on. According to instructions on the back of this sleeve, you have to be careful to put exactly the right dvd in the sleeve (which is especially important for multi-dvd sets). Also, the sleeve is coated in a material to help protect the disc.

Once I managed to fight my way through the somewhat complicated envelope, I found the DVDs in a very good condition (which I found surprising).

After watching, I put the dvd back in the envolope (it says that you can put two in one envelope if you wish) and there's this peel off thing that lets you seal the envolope. At first, I thought it wasn't much, but trying to re-open it proved very difficult.

The envolopes are delivered to you first class and the envolopes to send back are also 1st class (so no evil extra charges there).

Also in the envolope is a small advert for Thorntons chocolate and the back of the bit you tear off with your address on has a "recommend a friend" deal on which gives you 30 days free if you get someone to sign up to Lovefilm with your code. They also get 30 days trial instead of the normal 14 days (if you're interested, leave me a comment).

These titles arrived the day after they were dispatched (site said dispatched 5th, arrived 6th). The only issue I had was the slightly confusing envolope and the fact that the "open here bit teared somewhat.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Selecting your rentals

Selecting rentals is simple. Organising them, however, is another matter, though still fairly simple. Maybe too simple.....

The site gives you a rentals list of the stuff you want. To add things to this list, you click the red "RENT" buttons next to titles you want (which can be found by browsing the site or by using the search box). This was fine for DVDs, but when I clicked "rent" on a blu ray title, it came up with a box saying something like "you do not have a list for blu-rays, add anyway?" I still don't understand what this meant, but I'm guessing it's about the lists thing (which I'll talk about later on).

Well, when you click rent, it gets added to your rentals list. Lovefilm recommends having at least 10 titles in the list so that you won't be without a title, which is fair enough. This isn't just a "brah brah" plain list. You can customise it somewhat....

You can set each rental you want a level of importance: High, medium and low. Obviously, rentals set to high will get a higher priority than those in medium. I suppose if someone has title A set to medium and someone else has title A set to high, the person with the high gets the title first. It seems slightly limiting to me though.

On the rental list, the titles are split by importance (each importance is individually listed alphabetically). Something else that I noticed while selecting titles is that a little hourglass may appear on items. A grey hourglass means that the title is a little popular so there may be a wait before it's sent to you. A red hourglass means that tht title is VERY popular so there may be a long wait.

You can also reserve titles that haven't been released yet (like I reserved the Negima spring and summer specials that come out later this month). In this case, the title will have a yellow "RESERVE" button instead of the red "RENT" button. This is added to a seporate list below your rentals list. When Lovefilm get a copy in, the title is copied to the rentals list. I don't know what importance the reserved title gets, but I assume it'll be high as you've reserved it for a while.

Something I found really interesting was that you can put TV boxsets on your rentals list. I found this out by looking for Death Note volume 3. Now here's the cool part, you can actually rent discs in the boxset seporately (this is great if you just want to see the bonus features dvd). Alternatively, if you rent the entire boxset, the discs are sent to you in order.

Above your rentals list shows the titles you have at home and any pending deliveries. Lovefilm decided to send me both discs of Death Note volume 3 as my first ever rental. When it arrives, I shall report back.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

It begins....

Hello everyone. I'm Peter and I signed up to Lovefilm UK on 4th March 2009. Before I begin, I want to make one thing straight: I am not paid to make this, I am a legit customer.

The other day, I was at an anime club which I go to every month. This time, the main guy was giving out some cards that allowed people to get 2 months free trial if they entered the code on said card. I picked one up and thought I might give it a go.

Before I signed up, I went round the internet looking at people's experiences with the company. Some said they loved it, some said they hated it. There were arguments contradicting each other all over the place. I looked at their selection of films (especially their anime section) and I decided to sign up. Of course, after searching the internet like mad for people's opinions, I thought I might make a plain and easy to understand blog so I can share my experiences with the world to help them make the right choice when it comes to Lovefilm.

I won't bother the boring details of the signup process as that was simple enough (only took about 5 minutes). Look out for the next post detailing how you select titles.

EDIT: FYI, I took the movies only option so no games rentals for me, though I may change in the future.

EDIT 2: Also FYI, I took the most popular choice of "unlimited rentals - two discs at home at any one time" package for £12.72 per month (obviously paid attention to the VAT change)