Sky's Now TV Arrives on YouView
Just launched on YouView is Sky's Now TV service. Available in a all-you-can-eat movies subscription format for £15 a month or on a Pay and Play with some movies apparently available from 99p (not that I've seen any so far.) £15 might seem a lot to cough up for movies per month when compared to Love Film or Net Flix however Now TV film offerings are current which Sky seems to have tied up the UK market with and don't forget you get Live channels on your desktop machine. So is it any good on the YouView Humax box?
So, Sky has Sky Go which is completely different but a bit the same as Sky Now TV. If you have a paid up Sky Go subscription you still have to pay for Sky Now TV as it is a different service from Sky Go.
So Sky GO is for those WITH a sky subscription but allows you to add on extra channels and features but view what you are subscribed for. Sky Now TV is a complete platform for those who aren't a sky customer already. So that's cleared that up right....
So onto Now TV on YouView. Presently YouView's incarnation supports Sky Movies Pass and Pay & Play, but not Live TV. However, you can watch Live TV on a pc or laptop and you can connect a laptop to your TV to view Live TV on a bigger screen. In short it's a rival to those other streaming services out there and has Sky joined the platform just to stop their competitors?
Sky Now Movie Content Offerings.
Films are nicely separated up by category, genre, collections, type giving you plenty of scope to find something to view. Navigation is fluid between screens with no lag. Menus along with items don't appear to be cached when making your way through screens but things remain responsive enough avoiding frustrating waiting .
Navigation keeps with the feel of YouView's menu system meaning there's no jarring, learning a new interface or having to work things out as with some of the other on demand offerings. So plus point's for working on an integrated experience without pushing things and overblown in your advertising face like the iTV iplayer experience. However there are a few inconsistencies with the Now TV experience.
One is to do with the types of filters. In the below shot it's on the Genre Search at the bottom but look at the top right hand side of the screen, more filters to separate subscription and Pay and Play. Nudge the selection to the right for collections and those filters at the top are no more.
Sky Now TV Pay And Play
For those not keen on a £15 subscription there is the rental system that Now TV calls Pay and Play. Despite advertising from 99P most of the films started at £1.99 and went up from there.
Films for 99p that I managed to find at the time of writing. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery American Ninja 5 Hidden Agenda Point Blank
More mainstream films and you might say tried and trusted popular ones such as Die Hard 1, Face Off and Aliens were all in that £1.99 category. BlockBuster titles with newer release all ticked the £3.49 price point
After a while of looking there was nothing in that "From 99p" category
Again it's worth remembering that for that £15 a month you do get access to Live TV and more via your desktop.
Data Entering Inconsistencies.
As mentioned about you can poke around for content or hit the search function. Here's my first gripe with Now TV. You'd think it would be common sense to use text style entry for something that can be quite long, such as entering usernames or passwords.
For some reason logging it's case of navigating to each letter, pressing ok which can take an age. When performing a search suddenly you can use the number pad allowing for a mobile phone text style entry. Believe me that remote gets tiresome after a while.
A few Now TV issues.
Aside from content being SD only there was and still is a major issue on the platform that ties in with the confusing Sky Go, Sky Now TV I mentioned at the start of the review. In short you need to have a seperate login for now to fully ensure Now TV works without the billing issues I had.
So as this sneak peek gets released i've been unable to watch any content due to the intergation between Now TV, Sky, Sky Go and the billings department. And no, there's not an option to edit your payment details within the App, that requires a computer. Also sign up requires you do so from a desktop / laptop as well.
Overall thoughts so far.
Obviously the review is far from complete as not being able to watch video due to a myriad of issues doesn't help. £15 a month is a big ask just to watch movies on the YouView system BUT if you have other devices and use the desktop version then it's a bit less bitter a pill to swallow a month.
Remember the associated costs as well like your broadband provider. If youre on a 2gb a month allowance, forget it. 10gb will net you a few safe hours of movie watching but keep on eye on your usage. Ironically Talk Talk and BT Openreach who are the launch partners are amongst the stingiest out there with their broadband offerings. Quite why there is no data counter or indicator to say cap at xxgb to prevent any nasty bills surprises me.