With competition from Netflix and Amazon, with the looming threat of Disneys online service on the horizon, my honest opinion of NowTV as a recent new subscriber is that the service needs to improve, and quickly. If not I fear that NowTV and Sky will have some very difficult times ahead.
I class myself as the ideal target market for Sky/NowTV. Two parents, Two children, some disposeable income. Children are young, enjoy watching their favourite TV programmes, have a TV in their room each and we have various other devices to watch on. iPads, Phones, Xbox, various TV's etc.
The issues Ihave run into so far as a new cutomer are:
No 4k, or even 1080p.
When even the most basic of TV's sold today are 1080p, and consumers are having ever cheaper 4k sets thrust at them by eager salespeople in highstreet stores, when they take those new TV's home they are going to want to experience HD or 4k content.
Now whilst I can see that NowTV are in a difficult position here as they dont want to start cutting revenue from "big brother" as Sky want people to pay for full fat sky subscriptions to get HD and 4k, this is something on offer from Netflix and Amazon for far less than a full fat Sky subscription. But for people without a huge level of disposeable income a full fat Sky subscription is simply far too expensive imho.
Having just priced it up, a sky setup with cinema, kids and entertainment with three skyq boxes is £52 a month, £57 if you tick the box sets too. When the introductory offers run out that looks to go up to £70 a month. Without any HD or 4k on Now TV, its going to take some convincing to have people bypass Netflix and Amazons HD/4k offerings at less than a tenner a month each and jump straight to Sky at more than double the cost of both those services added together. Some 4k/HD offerings on NowTv would at least get them a seat at the budget HD/4k table.
4 device limit
For a modern family with access to tablets, smartphones and multiple TV's this device limit puts the NowTv service way behind the competition. With Netflix and Amazon they have a concurrent streaming limit to prevent abuse of the subscriptions, whilst leaving the number of devices unlimited. This makes it very easy for consumers to access content. whilst ever they are accessing content from Netflix or Amazon, they arent watching content from Sky or NowTV.
Whilst ever I as a consumer run into the problem that my bedroom TV isnt an approved device, because Ive already added the lounge, the kids playroom and each of their TV's, then Im going to have to watch something else, like a box set on Netflix. And whenever it comes time to renew my subscription with Now TV, Ill be questioning what benefit I get from it, because I've been happily watching Netflix and not missed the content Ive not been able to access on my usual TV. Whenever I go to watch NowTV on a tablet or hotel smartTV whilst Im away from the home and find I cant due to not having a free space on my approved device list, Im heading to Netflix or Amazon to see whats new there.
The device limit is simply driving customers, like me, to view competitors services. How anyone at NowTV can see that as a good thing I don't know.
In my opinion, the two issues above along with the very large threat and shakeup posed by Disney are going to cause issues unless they are addressed very quickly. I personally think it will go one of two ways, either Disney will aquire Sky as part of this long winded takeover of Sky by Fox, in which case they may use the NowTV platform to push out their own streaming service, or, Sky wont transfer to Disney, Disney will launch their own streaming service and all content is pulled from other outlets (as we are seeing already with Netflix). Its why Netflix and Amazon have been creating thier own content for ages now, they can see the competition coming and need to fill that gap.
If it does go the way of Disney launching its own service, with all the 20th Century Fox and Disney content in HD/4k, priced as rumours suggest at the same or lower than netflix, then it will be very interesting indeed. If a household like mine could access Netflix and Disney/Fox for a combined £20 a month with HD/4k and only limits on concurrent streams rather than all this device enabling/disabling, I would have to question why I would consider 720p Now TV for the same £20. Never mind Sky and the £50-60+ that may be.
I honestly think Sky hve painted themselves into a corner with the football rights costs. If they want to compete properly with Netflix/Amazon/Disney then they need to lump the costs of the sports onto the sports subscribers and leave Cinema/Enetertainment/Box sets to compete on the same playing field as the other online services. Obviously there would be a few sports subscribers crying at the £150-200 a month fees for sports, but unless they stop subsidising the sports from the other entertainment packages, I can only see Disney/Fox/Netflix/Amazon eating Skys lunch by 2019 when the Disney service is set to launch.
Thanks for getting in touch, and writing a well-thought out post. 🙂
These concerns have been discussed often on these forums and elsewhere, and you've probably found as much information as I give below already. However, I wanted to address your points directly, especially as you'd taken the time to post a considered opinion.
4k and 1080p
The good news: 1080p is coming this year, as per a previous press release for the upcoming Smart Stick. We definitely appreciate this is later than some other services, but hopefully you'll find that our current maximum quality is of a good standard, even at 720p. We'll be letting all customers know once we can uplift this. As for 4k, there's no information to share on this at the moment, but - despite the technology being out for a little while now - it's still a relatively niche market and generally the more people asking for something, the more likely it is we can provide it.
This is a common complaint, as you've probably seen on the forum. And you're correct that as more people have more devices, especially as families grow, it becomes difficult to maintain on one account. The main thing we can say on this is: we hear you. Unfortunately, these types of restrictions tend to come from the studios themselves, and relate to protection of content rights. We do what we can in the background to ensure smooth sailing for most customers, but the hard limit of 4 is a requirement we haven't been able to shake yet. If we get any news on this, we'll of course tell everyone we can.
I obviously can't comment on Disney>Fox or Fox>Sky purchases. Sky have also been creating their own content for some time (before NOW TV came along!) and that will continue for a while yet. We also have strong content from other providers such as HBO, Viacom (and Disney.) There's always speculation around what will happen when mergers and things go through. I feel NOW TV will be around for a while yet, we've plenty of improvements on our roadmap, and customers do seem to enjoy the service. As an example, we just won Uswitch's TV Provider of the Year.
I hope that as a new customer, you'll find plenty of things to love with NOW TV. Is there anything else in particular you'd like to see, or that you've enjoyed so far?
Thanks for the response. Always good to see the customer forums frequented by and interaction from staff.
I bought a NowTV box primarily to use as a way of making one of the dumb TV's in the house "smart". I didn't realise at the time that I couldn't have Netflix or Amazon on the box. I already had a Roku box for another TV and simply assumed the NowTV box was a cut price version that offered the same but with the temptation of signing up for NowTV. Oh well, I solved the problem by simply upgrading the TV and the NowTV box went in the cupboard with the intention of using the Sky Cinema pass over Christmas for some extra festive films for the kids.
When the box came out in December I signed up for the Sky Cinema, and have kept it since. As a bit of a techy nerd, and watching films in our home Cinema room on big screens, one of them is a 1080p 100" the other a 65" 4k unit, then the quality of the picture does make a big difference to me. When I realised I couldn't get any 4k content or even 1080p content on NowTV I went to cancel this month but then took advantage of a retention offer. For the offer price I can put up with 720p. The Kids are 5 and 3, so animated films for them in 720p is just fine. When Im wanting to watch a spectacle film, then 720p on a 100" screen just doesn't cut it. If 1080p is there when the offer price expires for me then I may stay. If it isn't then I wont.
I must say I am impressed with the content with regard to films. Certainly a newer catalougue than competitors, but depending on what the future holds with Disney and having young children in the house this may again be a tipping point for which service provider gets my business. The disney back catalogue is almost our go to section on Family Film Night Friday in our house.
The much, much bigger issue in our house is the 4 device limit. While I can appreciate that this will as you say be down to agreements with various other parties, I think senior people at NowTV need to get back into a room with these other parties and thrash out a deal that removes this device limit so it functions very much like Netflix and Amazon. Put a limit on concurrent users, not the number of devices.
I appreciate that the number of TV's in my own home may be well in excess of what is considered normal or average, but I would guess that any household with the average 2.4 Children will be over the 4 device limit. one TV per child, one in the front room and one in the parents bedroom and thats 4 devices used up. No room for mobile devices or anything else. Authorise a mobile device when you are on holiday and you have to wait a fortnight or more to swap it back to a TV when you get home. Yes customer service can do something about this, but really? When comparing this with Netflix where I can watch on any device in my house, pause and then continue watching on any other device without bumping into some sillymessage about a device limit, the NowTV offering looks a little draconian.
Right now, I have each of the childrens TVs enabled, the TV in the playroom for the kids and one of the TV's in the Cinema room. I cant watch it on the big screen (even if the 1080p arrives) or in my bedroom. I cant contemplate getting an entertainment pass as I would likely watch this either in the lounge or our bedroom, but would watch billions and GOT on the big screen. I then have the option of having multiple accounts with different TV's authorised on the different accounts, the whole thing just gets messy and cumbersome.
Multiple accounts is an option, but trying to explain to "She who must be obeyed" why we cant watch a film in our bedroom on Now TV, but we can watch Billions, and in the playroom the kids can watch disney movies on NowTV, but she can't have a box set on in that room is just going to be more trouble than its worth. Trying to explain the same scenario to two children under 6 is just not even worth trying. Until this device limit is no longer part of the NowTV plan, then I can't seemyself being a customer beyond the offer period on the Cinema pass. It simply doesn't work for our household in its current setup, and with the growing number of media capable devices in the average household I fear that this will simply be a turn off for most others too.
The device limit is the single biggest obstacle for me, and it is an example of a barrier preventing a perfect target market customer from taking up the service. Its not just NowTV either, its also one of the reasons (as well as the ridiculous cost and the fact I dont wish to subsidise sports subscriptions) that I dont have Sky. No way of getting it to the number of rooms I would like to access it on. I hold out hope for the ability to access Sky without a dish and through the internet later this year or early next, but if they still have this daft device limit, I can't see me ditching Netflix and Amazon any time soon.
Definitely take your point on devices. It sounds like you've got the gist of things, but if you need any more info on the current rules, a full explanation of how they work can be found by clicking here.
Glad to hear you're enjoying the Disney stuff- their movies are definitely favourites over here as well! We're also big fans of our available box sets, so I hope you find some engaging things to try during your time with us. Feel free to give us (or any other friendly forum members) a shout if you'd like any recommendations.
Thanks again for taking the time to post. I appreciate we can't give you every answer you might be looking for yet, but feedback like this is important for us.
rating system for tv shows would be great too with a comments section would be even better there is no reason to question its effect on watching rates and sales as there is many places to find ratings as is itd just improve the uptick of views if anything