Spent a couple days looking into NOW TV's API requests and making a nicer interface as a fun side-project while learning some of the tvOS frameworks.
Very WIP, and only meant as a prototype- but I thought I'd share it here regardless.
NOW TV use Cisco's VideoGuard so actually playing content is most likely off the table, sadly. But was a fun project making a nicer prototype. Might finish off the 'For You', the home screen, and the tv guide views tomorrow.
Really hoping they release their own updated app soon; the current one is lacking so many features and is so poorly designed!
All in all it took about 20 hours of unfocused work (as in while watching TV, so realistically ~10); and this is with zero prior tvOS experience or knowledge- I do have experience with iOS so I wasn't exactly on the first square, but still. I don't understand why it's taken Sky so long to create a Now TV app that actually functions.
I'm 21, I'm a student. I know many other students and young adults. I would say roughly 10% of the media my friends consume is obtained legally, the remainder is through illegal streaming services and torrents. If companies don't make it easy and enjoyable to use their platforms (and provide enough content!) then I really can't see my generation paying.
This was never about the amount of work involved. It's been true since the beginning of TVOS that it's possible to use TVML (a scripting language) make simple apps for the Apple TV in next to no time. More complex apps, such as Netflix, require full fat iOS programming, which is probably why there are so few of them on the platform.
This is more likely down to Sky not having any interest in the platform. It may be because it's a direct competitor to their own basterised Roku boxes (note the lack of Now TV on any other streaming box, and of course that Now TV on the ATV pre-dated their own Now TV boxes), or simply because they don't see these boxes as important. Instead they spend what little development time they have on their phone and game console apps. They also have a deal with LG to provide an app for WebOS, which they do and it's updated every once in a while.
There are parallels to the situation with Amazon, where a deal was finally struck for Amazon to bring Prime Video to the Apple TV. It may well require Apple to open their gigant wallet to pay Sky to resurrect the Apple TV app into something usable and modern. I'd previously have thought that impossible, but given the recent arrival of ITV and Channel 5, I guess it could happen. Just don't hold your breath.
It’ll get even more interesting when Apple launch their own TV service later this year (I suspect this has something to deal with the Amazon deal), with more big-budget, high-concept shows to go along with Netflix and Amazon.
Sky/NowTV will start to look increasingly pointless when they can no longer purchase the big US shows.