Tesco's new Clubcard TV gives members of its loyalty card scheme a Netflix-style streaming TV service for absolutely free. Unfortunately, instead of the sexy, cerebral delights of House of Cards, you'll be watching ancient repeats ofTwo Pints of Lager and Alistair McGowan's Big Impression.
Tesco Value Clubcard TV boasts "hours of BBC Worldwide content" -- hours! -- such as the one-joke Goodness Gracious Me, grim children's borefests Stig of the Dump and The Secret Garden, and a bunch of cooking shows featuring angry middle-aged men.
It's not all worthless 90s bilge -- there are some movies, such as Shawshank Redemption,Ocean's Eleven and, er, that's it. Brilliantly, on the signup page it advertises "plenty of choice". Plenty. Not "endless" or "staggering" or "mind-blowing". Just sufficient choice. Not too much.
While it is completely free, you do have to sit through ads. In one episode of Cornish medical snoozer Doc Martin, I had two ads at the beginning and two breaks with three ads each. They're not skippable, and like a lot of online services you see the same ads over and over again. In Ocean's Eleven there were four breaks of three ads each. The same three ads.
The service is currently in beta, although that doesn't seem to mean anything -- anyone can sign up, as long as you have a free Tesco Clubcard. Maybe it just means "we might stop doing this if no one uses it".
Clubcard TV launched for lucky Tesco employees in February and is now open to all. It's run by online rental service Blinkbox, which in turn is owned by Tesco. Blinkbox already provides free online versions of DVDs and Blu-rays you buy in the supermarket, and this meagre offering seems to be another incremental step in Tesco's masterplan of everyone, everywhere buying everything from it. For ever.
Alternatives include Lovefilm at £5 per month, Netflix at £6 per month and the BBC iPlayer for absolutely nothing, not even a licence fee.