Dwarf on Demand

A guide to streaming services.

23 March, 2012

Online video streaming services are all the rage, these days - and no technologically-minded home is without some form of device, from games consoles to tablets to specially-powered TVs, that can take advantage of the vast libraries of online streaming content now available.

Naturally, Red Dwarf is available on a variety of these services - although it's not always easy to keep track of exactly which sites and providers offer how much of the show. So if you're contemplating signing up for a monthly subscription, but the presence of your favourite sci-fi comedy is something of a deal breaker (and why wouldn't it be?), here's a brief guide to the current state of play for fans on both sides of the Atlantic.

Dwarf on Demand

In the UK, the two major players in the streaming stakes are LoveFilm Instant (an extension of LoveFilm's online DVD rental service) and Netflix (a newly-launched UK version of the all-conquering American behemoth). LoveFilm's collection has recently added almost all of the BBC series - although, oddly, with Series IV missing - but doesn't include Back to Earth, and can be viewed for free by users with almost any one of the site's tiered rental packages (subject to a limit of total viewing time each month, dependent on the particular package). LoveFilm Instant is currently available on PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, iPad, and selected models of TV by certain manufacturers including Sony and LG.

Netflix, meanwhile, only offers a flat £5.99 per month streaming package - but while there are no DVD rentals included, the streaming time is unlimited each month. Like Lovefilm, there's no Back to Earth - but Netflix do have the missing fourth series, if Ace Rimmer and wax droids are your thing. Netflix is also available on a few more devices, including Android-enabled tablets and phones, the iPhone, and the Nintendo Wii, besides the methods also offered by LoveFilm.

On demand shows are also available from a range of UK digital TV providers - including Sky, Virgin, BT Vision and TalkTalk. The content lineups for these providers tend to change on a more frequent basis, however - so the carrying of a programme like Red Dwarf is less easy to predict.

Across the pond, although the USA is the original home of Netflix, unfortunately the agreement for Red Dwarf to be included on the Stateside version of the service expired earlier this year, and has not yet been renewed - although if there is news of any return in future, you'll hear about it here. Instead, rival service Amazon Instant Video features all eight series and Back to Earth. Streaming is unlimited for all members of the Amazon Prime service, but the episodes can be bought individually by anyone for a fee.

Indeed, there are more ways to buy Red Dwarf episodes outright in the US than there are to stream - in addition to Amazon, the entirety of the show is available to our transatlantic cousins on Microsoft's Zune Marketplace(accessible both on Xbox 360 and PC). And, of course, as we never tire of telling you, both UK and US fans can browse the show in our dedicated iTunes section.

Dwarf on Demand

But what of those of you elsewhere? Well, regular reddwarf.co.uk readers should already be aware of the BBC Global iPlayer. This nifty streaming app for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch offers - to those who pay a monthly subscription - BBC content that includes Series I-III. It's currently available in (deep breath) Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, the Republic of Ireland, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

And even if your definition of "on demand" extends to "clicking a few times on a website and having a shiny disc sent in the post", then we've got you covered there, too. Frankly, with so many ways to watch Red Dwarf these days, we're amazed anyone finds the time to watch anything else...

Keep up with the latest about On Demand services - and broadcast showings - in our TV and Online section.

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