A LOVEFiLM app for Android

4 - LOVEFiLM - your finished photo
A simple Android utility app for a simple idea – adding DVDs to my LOVEFiLM queue while I’m out and about by taking photos of what I want to add.

(If you’ve not heard of LOVEFiLM before, they are an online DVD rental service: you use their website to set up a queue of DVDs you want to watch, they post you some, you watch them and post them back, and they send you some more.)

I love the service, but I never remember to add anything new to my queue. I’ve got a long queue of stuff to watch, but it’s all pretty old – months go by in between me remembering to visit the site.

And most of the time I think “oh, I’d love to watch that” I’m out and about. It could be walking past the Blockbuster Video store, or cinema in town and seeing a movie poster in the window. Or it could be seeing a DVD case in a shop or at a mates house. I think “I should add that to my LOVEFiLM queue when I get home”. And then promptly forget.

8 - LOVEFiLM - main screenSo last week, I started writing a quick Android app to help.

The idea is that whenever I see a movie poster or DVD cover now, I can snap a quick photo of it with my smartphone, then put the phone back in my pocket. Quick, one button press, no typing.

Then in the background, the app will try and work out what DVD I’ve taken a picture of, and then add it to my LOVEFiLM list.

It’s not always super-quick – it can take a minute or two – but, realistically that’s fine. It’s unlikely to make any difference to when LOVEFiLM will send me the DVD if it gets added to my queue now, in ten minutes, or even in a few hours time.

5 - LOVEFiLM - reviewing a problemWorst case scenario, if the app can’t figure out what the picture is, it can prompt me to let me know that it needs some help. The notification will sit in my phone’s status bar until I have some spare time to look at the photo, and manually type in the name of the DVD – which the app will then go and add to my queue.

This is still helpful though – I can trust that the app will somehow add the film to my queue, even if this means prompting me if it needs extra information.

It means I don’t forget to add it, because the app reminds me. And I don’t have to stand around typing in a name while I’m rushing around in town – if I need to do any typing at all, I can do it later when I have some spare time.

I’ve put a walkthrough of screenshots with an explanation of each stage on flickr.

I should point out that the image recognition for the app is done using kooaba’s API. It’s very impressive, although sadly my free API key is only good for 50 requests in any 24 hours.

This rate limiting means that if I let too many people use the app in it’s current form, the image recognition bit won’t work for everyone. This is a shame… if this happens, the app will keep the photo safe, and resubmit it to kooaba again after six hours. As I said before, I don’t think this should matter too much – as it should still get processed eventually, and will probably not make any real difference to when LOVEFiLM will send the DVD.

(And you can always manually put the name in later if you don’t want to wait – although I admit this isn’t ideal).

I wonder if kooaba would consider increasing my API limit? 🙂

Download the app from the Android Market here

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7 Responses to “A LOVEFiLM app for Android”

  1. Jamie says:

    I wonder if kooaba would consider increasing your API limit or if it’s viable to put it on as a paid app to cover the cost of the API limit increase?

  2. […] | Recent Posts | Pages « | A LOVEFiLM app for Android […]

  3. […] In November, I wrote a simple Android app that lets me add films to my LOVEFiLM list by taking a photo of a movie poster. […]

  4. Goran says:

    Would it be possible to connect your app to Swedish Lovefilm?

    Also (unless it already exists in your app), manul search by text input would be good to have.

  5. dale says:

    Goran – Sorry, I don’t think I could get this to work with lovefilm.se. The API I’m using is provided by LOVEFiLM UK and is specific to their systems.

  6. super81 says:


    would it be possible to use lovefilm.de with your app?
    Do you plan to integrate other lovefilm sites apart from uk?

    I would like to help you with the german one if I could.


  7. dale says:

    Hi super81 – Thanks very much for the offer. However, the API I’m using is provided by LOVEFiLM UK and is specific to their systems. This means there isn’t anything I could do to make the app work for other LOVEFiLM sites. If you would like to ask them to release an API similar to the one LOVEFiLM UK have, I’d be happy to make whatever code changes are necessary.