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R4Ricky21
Advocate

No support for 4K, Dolby Atmos, or Dolby Vision.

So to my understanding you pay extra for boost which brings your content up to 1080p. Okay great but it begs the question, with so many streaming apps out there like Netflix, Disney Plus etc that support top quality sound and picture, why does one of UK's leading brands in entertainment not provide the same quality. Pretty much all new movies and TV shows are provided in 4K let alone with Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision. I just find it a little frustrating I guess because I only pay for NOW as there are movies and tv shows that cant be found anywhere else, I would expect for the price you pay, you get the best quality. Even 5.1 doesn't sound great on the NOW app. I would hope one day higher quality content could be provided.

15 Replies
nst
Expert 3

A good, if not obvious question thats been asked many times before.

I could go on about this for pages... but although NOW should position itself amongst its peers in the UK streaming market.... it does NOT.  It SHOULD see Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime as its direct competitors... and therefore its just a joke that the best it can muster is 1080p and 5.1 IF you pay an additional £5 a month for the privilege.  Their pricing and offering is so remarkably blind to their competition.

However, as has been noted again many times... NOW seem to not care about their peers, but more their other offerings i.e. Sky Glass and Sky Q.  The reason NOW is so ridiculously hamstrung is that if you want 4K or ATMOS then Sky want you to 'upgrade' to Q and Glass - even though the customer base is somewhat different - they dont care.  They see matching their peers as cannibalising their own upselling potential for more expensive products.

NOW is, and sadly always will be the poor man's Sky service and will be artificially kept in the technological doldrums for the foreseeable.

R4Ricky21
Advocate

That makes perfect sense, they sort of keep NOW as a mediocre offering as they would prefer you upgrade to Sky Glass or Q instead. Which is of course unfair as Sky is ridiculously expensive, so there is just no winning on this one.

nst
Expert 3

@R4Ricky21 

Sadly not, no.

Despite the huge weight of one side of the argument i.e. make yourself competitive with Netflix etc.... I don't think It will happen.

What I DO think, however, is that NOW will haemorrhage subscribers during the current cost of living crisis as people pare down their streaming services.  Its actually one very stark reminder to all the "me too" streaming services such as Paramount+ etc etc who all want to keep their content back for a piece of the streaming action... that people wont want to, or cant afford to, subscribe to multiple services.  In all that competition NOW will fail - especially when all the others are providing 4K and ATMOS content.

Sky Glass arguably is the closest Sky product to NOW.  NOW really was testing the waters for years for SKY to entice customers who ordinarily don't want or cant have a dish.  Of course, now we have SKY glass and thats exactly for those who cant have or don't want a dish.... and of course now they have announced that it will be available as a stand alone product without needing a Glass TV... then im sure that Sky think thats the obvious "upgrade" for the lowly NOW customers who demand 4K and ATMOS quality in 2022.

However, so many customers are like me, or you, or most the current NOW subscribers... we don't want a full fat overblown expensive monthly commitment - providing channels we don't need and tying us to a specific piece of hardware attached to a single TV.  This is 2022.  as a NOW subscriber I want the lower cost, and the flexibility to watch on many devices if I choose to without having to plug in a 'puck' to each TV and paying for the privilege.

whereas I don't see NOW relenting.... Im sure they will have a big push to get NOW customers onto Sky Glass - eventually sadly I can see NOW failing and losing Market share drastically as people refuse to pay £20 a month for movies and TV that ISNT even in HD.....  Either NOW realise that and provide 4K and ATMOS as standard... or NOW as a brand will simply disappear and Sky will only exist via Glass, or Q, or the Virgin Media Stream service.

Of course there is also a future where Sky Glass, or the Puck set top box is distilled down into an app (as It should always have been) and that app is available on multiple platforms and then NOW will naturally merge with the Glass product and just be an app based flexible subscription.... I think this is the most likely future for NOW and Sky but will be a few years down the line when everything else has crashed and burned.

redchiz1
Elite 2


@nst wrote:

 

NOW is, and sadly always will be the poor man's Sky service ...


And as a poor man speaking, long may they continue to provide a value service. 

Enapace
Expert 2

I may give in when Sky Glass goes box stand-alone in next few months I wasn’t buying a Sky Glass TV just brought a LG C2 and don’t regret it at all 

nst
Expert 3

its certainly an interesting prospect.. and one that is essential as many surely do NOT want or need a whole new TV just to access a service.  I imagine the uptake of Sky Glass is less than they would like for that very reason.

If i were in the market for SKY again, then im the same as you in that I have a very decent TV already and wouldnt be looking to change it.

That said, Sky Glass is still going to cost a premium over NOW - as its designed to do.  Id say almost doubling your monthly spend.  Bonus being you get 4K I suppose but is that worth double...

Also, Ive noted before but the whole 'watchlist' functionality that underpins the Sky Glass experience... (basically just collating shows across multiple streaming services) is exactly the same as the free "TV" app on Apple devices.  The only difference is that NETFLIX refuse to play ball and integrate but thats the only downside.  Buy and AppleTV and its basically Sky Glass for free.

Enapace
Expert 2

I would certainly be getting it for Sky Sports 4K I'm a huge F1 Fan and would love see it in 4K for Race Weekends. But yeah it's a bit of a jump in a price not so much on the Sports side but on Entertainment yeah you do get a lot more channels in HD though so that's a plus. I would get the movies as it's actually cheaper on Sky Glass as you get paramount plus included 

RoyB
Legend

Just to toss a stone into the pond, we just dropped Netflix 4K in favour of Netflix HD.

There’s not enough 4K content, and what there is doesn’t make enough of a difference on the 43” TV we mostly watch on, even though it’s a 4K one, to merit the £5 uplift that would practically buy us another subscription to something additional.

This TV doesn’t even have a soundbar, a first for us as the 32” sets that preceded it always needed one, but it not only has good sound from its internal speakers, it seems to be using some psychoacoustic tricks to fling the sound all round the room.

But I wonder how representative we are of the Great British Populace? And how many people, even those with Boost, got it to avoid the ads and allow multiple viewers, rather than to bump their HD Ready up to HD and feed a 5.1 system?

Dammit, even with a 65” GX TV and a GX soundbar, we still had to pony up another £150 for rears, to get from 3.1 to 5.1

But what’s going to cause the seismic shift with Sky isn’t any of this; it’s when Sky Atlantic is no more, because the deal with HBO has come to an end, and HBO launches its own streaming service in the UK.

Oh, and Now - there are over 20,000 movies out there, and Cinema carries about a paltry 1,000. That’s a game you are going to have to raise if you want the Cinema pass to survive.

My new acronym is IAAC - It’s All About Content.

Set a Payment PIN on your account so that no-one but you can buy memberships on it. Check your bank accounts monthly for any other unexpected payments to Now. That way you can at least nip them in the bud, while you and Now figure out whose fault they are.
nst
Expert 3

@RoyB 

To me there is no doubt that an implosion is coming.  Its not imminent, but its in the foreseeable future.

A service such as Sky is really a pale imitation of what it once was.  There are so many more "customers" for content - there was a time when almost all new release movies would, by default, start on Sky Movies.

Now, its no longer a foregone conclusion that new release movies are coming to Sky.  Disney+, Amazon Prime, and Netflix all vie for the same content and in many cases get it.

Add to that the content originators who will simply keep their output for their own streaming services and not offer it to Sky anymore...  this is the main reason for the implosion as there just isnt the room for streaming subscription after streaming subscription.  If, as you say, HBO will be launching in the UK too - then thats yet another nail in SKY's coffin if they lose tentpole productions such as Game of Thrones spinoffs etc etc.

Ultimately, this approach will fail, and people will simply not want to have 10 separate subscriptions.  Services will inevitably merge and then someday we will come full circle when a single subscription will end up with most the new content out there.

R4Ricky21
Advocate

If the deal with HBO really has come to an end and HBO Max is finally coming to the UK, I will certainly be getting rid of NOW in favor of that. The HBO content is one of the biggest reasons to sign up to NOW.

RoyB
Legend

@R4Ricky21 

Well, it won’t be for a while yet, but this industry commentator has views that chime with me….

https://the-media-leader.com/content-is-always-king-with-the-uk-launch-of-hbo-max-in-2025/

Set a Payment PIN on your account so that no-one but you can buy memberships on it. Check your bank accounts monthly for any other unexpected payments to Now. That way you can at least nip them in the bud, while you and Now figure out whose fault they are.
redchiz1
Elite 2

Interesting read that @RoyB thanks. 

Enapace
Expert 2

I don't think they will launch a new service i think by 2025 Discovery Plus will have been renamed to something else and HBO content will just be added to that along with BT Sport+Eurosport Combination.

RoyB
Legend

@nst 

I think I could live with three services - a monopoly would have us back at Sky-style pricing and lock-ins.

One shift is already occurring though - from the ‘TV’ model to the ‘Cinema’ model.

In the TV model, you treat streaming like TV, but paid for - PayView, if you like. You pony up your subscription, and then you choose from all the content laid out for you.

In the Cinema model, though, it’s more like going to the flicks, when you look to see who has what movie, and go to the relevant cinema accordingly.

We’re just starting to choose streaming services on something like this basis, except of course it’s a one-month lock-in each time.

Look at what I just said. The month-by-month flexibility of the new streaming services, once so prized, now being described as a lock-in 😛

So might we move away from subscriptions to rental, as per anything Amazon Prime doesn’t want to just give us as part of our subscription now?

Or will the content providers start to learn why the big US movie studios never branched out into owning cinemas, and find that the ‘extra profits’ for running your own streaming service get soaked up by all the Live Chat, Content Team, and other infrastructure you need?

And go back to doing deals, with streaming services that concentrate on just that, and themselves stop branching out into making content?

Its going to be interesting to see if Paramount+ survives very long after we have watched Yellowstone and its prequel, or if it gets subsumed into Peacock.

Even on Amazon, I worry about Bosch; Legacy on FreeVee; I mean thanks very much, and we love it, but can one advert for Audible really fund a whole episode?

Too much content chasing too few dollars; something has to give 😢

Set a Payment PIN on your account so that no-one but you can buy memberships on it. Check your bank accounts monthly for any other unexpected payments to Now. That way you can at least nip them in the bud, while you and Now figure out whose fault they are.
nst
Expert 3

@RoyB 

Something does indeed have to give.  It certainly will... it will take a couple of years to kick in but it will.

And sure, the more discerning consumer will look at each service in isolation and pay a single month when there is enough content to warrant the money - binge it all, then cancel the sub.  This is how it will work but I fail to see how the streaming companies are happy with this approach although its theirs in the making.

Rental is indeed the key here, especially with movies.  Personally, when I made the decision to cancel the Cinema pass, it had become clear to me that I was only really, on average, watching one movie per month - and some of those were things id seen before and watched again for the sake of it.  I decided that if i rented the movie from Apple it would be £5 and in 4K ATMOS quality too - and even at one a month it would still be a 50% saving on the cinema pass but in better quality.

Has this worked for me in practise?  Ill be honest.. not really.  There are currently about 4 movies that are on NOW that I would want to watch - that I didnt watch at the cinema, and I certainly want to see - sadly it seems that the rental window on Apple is very short in practice and once it then goes to Sky that rental is no longer possible.   Of course the solution to this is to actually rent the thing when its available (before Sky get it) and then it would be fine.... its just surprising that the rental window closes at all - but it does.  So im left with buying a single months cinema pass - and sure, thats cheap for 4 movies, but id certainly cancel straight away.