The streamer wars are certainly in full swing and the running is clearly being made by the Hollywood studios. But ITV has made a bold move I think by replacing its limited ‘catch-up service’ with a much expanded and streamlined offer via itvX. I’m not interested at this point in the array of TV material, though there are some interesting innovations in the offer and I’m currently watching Unforgotten. My main interest is in the films on offer. ITV is not making too much of their films offer, but for those seeking yet more choice in the UK streaming market, there is certainly something here worth looking at.
My assumptions when I saw there was a ‘films’ category was that we would be offered the usual ITV diet of mainstream Hollywood. Instead, I was surprised to discover that as well as a few Hollywood franchises such as Fast & Furious (nine films) and Saw (five films?) there are less obvious choices such as Get Out and a range of earlier films from the 1980s/90s/00s plus some classics such as His Girl Friday (1940) and Brando’s One-Eyed Jacks (1961). Even more surprising, there is a selection of European and Asian thrillers and action films – with subtitles. I spotted Zhang Yimou jostling with Kim Ki-duk and Miike Takashi. There is also a range of British Cinema Classics including a Powell and Pressburger Collection and some rare 1940s/50s titles. All in all, this is a better streaming offer of films than is available on All4 or BBC iPlayer, I think. There are currently over 200 films on offer.
I suspect that the selection of titles is dependent on deals with particular distributors/rights-holders. In the case of the British films, ITV itself inherited a large film library from Carlton. Some of the European and Asian films look like they might have come via Studio Canal. The new offer is introduced by Jonathan Ross and he implies that the selection might change each month. itvX is free for the service with ads but you can also select an ad-free service costing £5.99/month or £59.99/year after a short free trial.
I think I’ll definitely be checking out some of the rarer titles I’ve not seen before and also revisiting some of the cinema films that I saw some years ago – Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz (Canada 2011) for one, in the light of the current Women Talking. There are a couple of British films from the 1940s/50s that are also beckoning.
The service seems to work fine on my TV and my computer. The only downside is that apart from a partial alphabetical ordering the films don’t seem to be in categories of any kind, so you have to scroll through all the titles.
I’ve been planning to do a CST blog on this. It will focus on television but is it okay for me to use and of course reference this? Great info on films available. I might try and watch the Sarah Polley film over the weekend.
Of course! I’ll be interested to see what you make of ITV’s venture. I do hope you like Take This Waltz, it’s an unusual film that I liked very much.
This is a real pain. MY ITV hub tells me my TV device is not suitable. The recommended webpage however shows that my device should work. And Freeview ‘help’ only has a recorded message that does not relate to the problem.
I think I shall restart a Luddite movement; did people listen to the excellent discussion on the Luddite’s on Melvyn Bragg’s ‘In Our Time’?
Thankfully I am getting back to regular cinema visits and the Hyde Park Picture House is due to reopen in April.
‘A plague on all their houses’.
MY TV can handle this OK but even so I fear that technological developments can no longer be regulated in a single territory to ensure compatibility. Everyone should be able to access streaming/catch-up of the main terrestrial channels but the technology knows no national boundaries. My TV is now over 10 years old and although it was sold as a ‘Smart TV’, I now need an Apple TV receiver to provide it with all the internet services I want to appear on it. I don’t want to buy a new TV when this one still works for Freeview reception and with my Apple devices.