Sky’s Now TV has been announced and will be coming to PC, Mac and Android phones tomorrow. The on-demand video platform costs either £15 a month on a rolling basis (no long term contracts) or pay as you go, with films priced from either 99p to £3.49 per film.
Android phones that can get Now TV are the same that can access Sky Go. That’s the HTC Desire, HTC Desire S, HTC Desire HD, HTC Incredible S, HTC Sensation, HTC Sensation XE, Samsung Galaxy S, Samsung Galaxy S2, Samsung Galaxy Nexus and the Samsung Galaxy Note.
The iPhone and iPad Now TV apps should be with us imminently, by the end of the month with Xbox 360 (pictured below), PlayStation 3 and roku apps following later in the year. Though the apps will be free, Xbox 360 owners will need an Xbox Live Gold subscription to access Now TV.
In terms of what you get for your money, Now TV currently gives you access to 600 movies taken from 11 of the Sky Movies channels.
The main draw of Now TV is that, thanks to Sky’s agreement with the studios, you’ll also get plenty of films before they’re available anywhere else. Five new movies will arrive on Now TV every week and will be exclusive to Now TV for a year.
This new exclusive content will be ringfenced for those prepared to pay the £15 a month top rate. Pay as you go customers will only be able to draw from Now TV’s library of non-exclusive titles.
Now TV: 600 movies, £15 gets you exclusive new films
Accordingly, the pay as you go prices for movies on Now TV match prices that you’re likely to find elsewhere. £2.49-£3.49 is the average price for movies from other providers on a pay per view/non-subscription basis.
While £15 is certainly a lot more than what you’d pay for Netflix and LoveFilm, you’re paying for first-look access to movies that you’d only otherwise be able to watch with a Sky TV and Sky Movies subscription.
Another good point to make is that the entire Now TV library is available to you whatever device you access it from. The same 600 films can be accessed from your PC or your Android phone. The same will be true when Now TV launches on iPhone and iPad later this month and when it comes to Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Roku players. The same can’t be said for LoveFilm, where only 5,000 of the 8,000+ titles can be accessed through the PlayStation 3.
Now TV: Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 apps launching with 720p HD streams
In terms of streaming quality, Now TV varies depending on the device you’re watching. Currently, only the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 apps will support 720p HD streaming from launch though updates may be on the cards for other platforms. Phones aren’t likely to get support for HD, not that it’s necessarily required for small 4-inch screens.
Using adaptive bitrate streaming, Now TV is geared towards getting movies playing as quickly as possible. In the demo of the iPad app that we saw, we were impressed by the quick loading times of the films.
Now TV: Premier League football coming
Now TV will also eventually play host to content from Sky Sports, Sky Atlantic, Sky Arts and Sky Living.
This means that, yes, you can get Premier League football on your iPad whether you’re a Sky TV subscriber or not. Sky Atlantic favourites like Game of Thrones and Mad Men ought to be hitting Now TV by the end of the year as well, making our YouView dreams come true.
We understand that access to these programmes might not be covered by the £15 fee, which Sky says gets you a ‘Sky Movies Pass’. Sky wouldn’t comment further when we asked them if there’d be a separate Sky Premier League Pass or Sky Atlantic Pass or how access to this would be priced. Sky said that it’s working on the details for prices right now; we don’t expect to hear anything more until we’re closer to launch.