Problems with LOVEFiLM on PS3

I recently subscribed to LOVEFiLM again because I saw that I could stream movies to my PS3. I was mostly pleased with how the application worked initially, but now I’ve been using it for a while there are a few things that bother me about it.

A-Z should mean A-Z
When you view a genre of movies you can view the most popular ones, the highest rated ones (usually pretty much the same list), or you can choose to view the entire genre A-Z. I decided I wanted to view all of the comedy movies on there to look for something a bit less popular. I scrolled down until I reached somewhere in the B section of the list and then it stopped scrolling. The problem is that the application only lets you view 100 movies in a list. No more get added to the list when you near the bottom, and there’s no pagination at all. This means you have to search for a film specifically if its title comes after the beginning 2 letters of the alphabet and it’s not in the popular/highest rated lists. That brings me neatly to my next gripe.

Searching is clunky
Rather than use the PS3 system keyboard there is a very limited keyboard in the application. Every time you press any key the list of matching movies is fetched again. When the list of movies is being fetched the keyboard no longer responds properly. If I have filtered the results by clicking on the “Watch Now” tab then it flicks back to all movies before showing me the results. On most sites with an auto-complete field on the web there is a delay of half a second or so before the search begins. This helps to prevent extraneous searches, and improve the experience for the user. A delay of a second or so without the focus moving or a button being pressed on the keyboard before a search is sent would help greatly. I could type in a more specific search and find what I’m looking for much more quickly. If I’ve previously chosen the “Watch Now” tab then this should be the default tab that I’m shown when the results are returned.

I can understand that the keyboard isn’t the default system keyboard for the PS3 because LOVEFiLM’s keyboard allows a narrowing down of results in something like real-time, whereas the PS3 keyboard takes over the whole screen and only fills in the text field after you’ve finished typing. So perhaps there’s some work that could be done by Sony there to have a keyboard as a popup when in a text field or something. Perhaps LOVEFiLM could allow me to use the system keyboard if I want to. It would certainly make the search section easier to use for now.

Default PS3 controls are replaced
I use my Playstation to play a lot of media. Whether I am watching a DVD, Blu Ray, or downloaded video I know I can fast forward by holding down R2, rewind using L2, and pause by pressing Start, which is pretty much universal in the console world. In the LOVEFiLM application fast forward is the right-direction on the d-pad, rewind is left, and pause is the X button. This was quite confusing at first and I always pressed the wrong button the first time. Why is there a disagreement? Don’t Sony have guidelines similar to Apple/Google when it comes to apps for their systems? Things should behave in a similar way across a platform. To do otherwise just adds problems for the user.

No personal recommendations
When it comes to picking movies to watch you’ve either got to know what you want and search for it, or find it in the Most Popular section, the Highest Rated Section, or the collections. LOVEFiLM have a bunch of ratings from films I’ve rented from them. They suggest films that I might like to watch when I visit their website. Why not pass that information over to the PS3 application? In fact, why not just return a section called “Films on your Rental List” that are available to Watch Now? The information is available with a simple call to their API.

I’m sure the whole thing will get better with updated versions of the software, and it is usable for now, but it could be so much better.

16 thoughts on “Problems with LOVEFiLM on PS3

  1. Is it lame to comment on your own blog post when nobody else has?

    It’s quite funny looking back at this post now that I actually work for LOVEFiLM. 🙂

  2. Now that you work for lovefilm, can you get them to sort out the A to Z problem?


  3. More imortantly can you get them to resolve the fast forward control issues! It’s so annoying, i acciedently knocked the analogue stick without realising, then had to pause it a few minutes later. When I went to play it again the seek had forwarded all the way to the end of the film!!!! #annoyed

  4. It would be handy to be able to cancel a change in seek position without exiting the film… I’ll see if I can have a word with someone about it. New features and releases obviously have to undergo development, testing, etc., so it might take a while.

  5. is it possible to hide the control menu once it’s open without having to action back out/pause/fast forward/rewind. It’s easy to accidentally knock the PS3 controller to bring up the menu and I can’t find a way to hide it. If there is a way to cancel then it’s not clearly listed on the display

  6. I believe it’s not actually possible. I’ve certainly never found a way. Hopefully some improvements will come along and sort out a few issues like that. It’s certainly something we know about.

  7. Is there a way of accessing your rental list via the PS3???? Be handy to be able to watch the “watch now” ones on there.

  8. they never did fix that 100 film limit on the a to z section did they ? Must’ve been a real monster !

  9. I just called LoveFilm customer about the 20 pages (100 films) search limit on PS3, to be told that it is a Sony ‘formatting’ problem!

    Do you know if this problem will EVER be fixed, either by LoveFilm or Sony?


  10. The service is terrible and the app needs a lot of work.

    When you view the films it shows you like 25 out of 178 for example but you go to the 25 and it bloody stops there’s no way to get to the rest of the 178 what a stupid service.

    I will not be keeping it once the trail runs out as that plain sucks balls.

  11. Neflix is much, much better – I am sad to say due poor lovefilm service, im cancelling my account after 10 years.

  12. Lovefilm are ‘aving a laff’ Sony formatting problem – hilarious call centre standard what should we tell them scripted solution – if that were the case and they were aware of it why design in broken functionality into the app for all to see! Hilarious – strange how there isn’t a Sony formatting problem on ANY other streaming app ive seen – taking the pee big time – thinking of cancelling because I’m sick of the bloody pathetically designed app and the BS marketing call centre scripted lies – argggghhhhhhh

  13. Yeah whatever issue there is with the 20 pages can it not be fixed? From looking at this blog you can see that it has been a problem since may of last year! Thats ridiculous! I tried netflix and wanted to try lovefilm as well so i could decide which one to get permanently and to be honest. Netflix is looking the better option!

  14. The forwarding, rewinding controls are really rubbish I find. It would be better if you had to hold a button and watched it speed through so you knew where you were in the film like ps3 controls. To the person who said about getting rid of the menu I think it’s up or down in the anologue stick to do this. Other than these minor things I love ‘love film’. Streaming is superb, no buffering at all. The selection of movies and ps3 games is excellent and the app is easy to use and is a great addition. Lastly at £11.22 for as much streaming and 2 discs out at a time is a bargain, I only have to wait as long as the post

  15. Lovefilm on the PS3 still sucks. I feel its false advertising and will complain to the right authorities.

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