Will the Now TV app for Apple TV ever get an update?
The current version is complete rubbish and makes me regret ever getting a Now TV pass.
Unless there is an update my Now TV experience will be very short indeed.
For the record.. I don't believe this is intentional and is a mistake on Now's part. (also it shows them up a bit as this app is supposedly incapable of 5.1 yet now we know that's not true)
Why would they 'unlock' 5.1 on the AppleTV app and then only allow it to work for live... or only for some content...
Surely its all or nothing.
At the moment its a dog's breakfast and rightly isn't 'official' but so weird that its happening like this.
I think that they will realise what's happening sooner or later and it will revert back to 100% 2.0 ready for the big 'or small' TAH-DAH WEVE CRACKED THE PROBLEM AND FIXED IT!! moment....
Of course we could just get an updated version of the app co-inciding with the blink-and-youll-miss-it change to the buried deep support pages where it will no longer state that 5.1 isnt supported.
Again id encourage people to ask Now via support or twitter what's going on here. I tried and didn't get anywhere but the more that ask the more likely they are to respond.
Feels more like some sort of half arsed BETA to me. Some content, on some of their streams, to some users, some of the time. NowTV uses Unicast - each stream sent to a different single recipient, so it's at least 'possible' that's what's going on.
Here’s a thought.
Now will have multiple play-out servers for each supported device in order to support various capabilities. Perhaps, some of the servers supporting the Apple TV boxes can play-out sound at 5.1, whereas others can only to 2.0. This would, in my opinion, explain why some of you can get 5.1 sound, whilst others only 2.0 for the same program.
Not having 5.1 capable equipment myself means that I cannot test this hypothesis, but I’d like to hear from anyone willing to try and test this. Note the sound (2.0 or 5.1), exit the stream and go back in. See if it changes. If it does, you’ve logged into an different play-out server.
@Mark_Weinreb Already tried that. No dice.
As I understand it, Now has the capability of modifying how a request for content from subscribers is treated - depending on a user's location / device / both. They are clearly sending 5.1 (at least some of the time) to some Apple TVs, but not all. Yet.
Yep this is definitely a mistake it would not be released in this way just dribbling out like this.
The most interesting thing about all this is that the app, without an update, is perfectly capable of 5.1 and I suspect always has been.
The very big question remains... why do the paying Boost subscribers with an AppleTV box have to put up with 2.0 sound when they could presumably show everything in 5.1.
Id love an official position from Now but we'll never get it.
Who knows.. maybe the super secret AppleTV disabling of boost to enable Firestick to gain traction was only an 8 month agreement rather than 12 🙂 - I seem to recall the Firestick app appeared out of thin air around Monday 14th Dec.
Don't get me wrong, id like to vote with my feet....
As you say for what they are charging its way in excess of the other streaming services and the technical quality is vastly inferior. No excuse with a company the size of Sky behind it.
Thankfully? im not a sports fan so am not tied in that way.
Cinema... that's debatable. Realistically I might watch only 1 or 2 movies a month on Sky Cinema but on many occasions its those that I didn't see at the cinema but am always happy I've had the chance to watch. I could of course rent from iTunes but that's often £4.99 per movie and as I say in many cases I don't know if ill like the film and wouldn't want to risk it for £5.
Movies are a tricky subject. There are of course exceptions and I've no idea how or why this happens but some films do not automatically go to Sky and appear on Amazon Prime or Netflix instead..... but not enough to be able to abandon Sky Cinema.
Of course the smart option would be to buy a cinema pass every few months and watch all the content then cancel for another few months.
Entertainment pass is far trickier... as pretty much all the new shows on Sky are exclusive and you can't see them elsewhere which is where they have me hooked there.
The way AppleTV users are being treated with the new app is pretty appalling and i include the app beta testing too which was a monumental waste of time.
If you take Now as a separate streaming entity whose natural competition is Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ then they will be forced at some point to make some significant changes otherwise they will lose subscribers.
Providing a service whose top quality is 1080p and 5.1 for an additional £5 per month on top of the other high prices they charge for the monthly passes is just not sustainable in the long term.
Since Disney+ started the 'star' channel... and that's home to a load of new and exclusive content...and the whole lot including movies etc is £7.99 a month AND in 4K AND in ATMOS.... it should make Now look twice surely.
Update for you.
Not really wanting to let this go... Now must know what they are doing here and whats happening.
I tweeted again today as follows:
"Sadly ‘Rachel’ thought it would be ok to end the chat mid conversation so that didn’t help. Simple question. Why does live content currently provide a 5.1 soundtrack and on demand doesn’t when the appletv app is apparently not yet capable of 5.1 at all. Please explain."
to which they replied:
"we've seen reports of 5.1 working via On Demand and Live however it may not have been rolled out to all device right now. We are working on an official announcement when live and on demand will fully support 5.1. Extremely sorry about the confusion here. However, with it being that 5.1 is not officially supported yet we can not ensure everything is working as intended right now. Keep an eye on our social media pages or our Help site for any updates regarding 5.1 for Apple TV. - Thank you"
So there you have it. NowTV Help have seen reports that its working. You'd have thought that they could quickly check with the development team to see but....
They are working on an official announcement. So does this mean its going to get sorted soon - is what we are seeing some drip fed live trial...?
Seems something is stirring just a shame they cant be open about whats happening right now.
I suggested, recently on this very thread, that I thought that they might be testing DD5.1 on the quiet. Maybe I was on the right track there then? It’s as plausible an idea as most of the other nonsense that they have come out with over the past years…
About 8 years ago, I (and a few other SUs on the Sky Community) were invited to visit the Sky+HD software development at Osterley for a day. It was very interesting as you might expect, especially as we were all beta trialling significant improvements to the software to run on Sky+HD boxes. What I/we never understood was why some of the features that we had trialled which worked brilliantly and that the public was crying out for never went live. Well not on Sky+HD anyway. Like the multi-box multi-room planner - playback recordings from any box in your house on any box in your house. Which is obviously now available on Sky Q where there are multiple boxes. Anyway, point is, lots of stuff had already been developed and was proven to be working, but I think they were always keeping things back whilst looking ahead for a way to monetise and/or another angle to deployment. It’s just the way they are I think. Oh and “never apologise, never explain” is the motto!
Yes, its always about how to monetise.
As soon as they had the infrastructure to be able to stream different resolutions, frame rates, audio streams to different devices, along came Boost. On the plus side, it did (does) enable Now to not have to use a single stream that has to cater to the least technically capable device.
As above, this is currently a limited under the radar trial. Looks promising though.
Having been in software development myself for many years.. of course what you say is true.
However.. in terms of monetising features... this makes no sense to restrict a single hardware platform where all the others that support boost do so 'properly'. 5.1 is not something they could or should hold back on a single platform.
A good analogy would be the AppleTV TV app integration. To me, this is a huge deal and the best part of the AppleTV.... Now could have monetised that feature separately given that the AppleTV box uniquely supports it across their supported platforms... but of course they havent thankfully and I dont want them to get any ideas there.
But 5.1.... no.
@nst I’m also a software development veteran but in a legacy world.
Anyway I didn’t mean to suggest that this particular farce (DD5.1 on Apple tv 4K) was specifically about monetisation, just reflecting on the Sky’s attitude in general about what they do and how they do things. Boost is pure monetisation - it’s got the same hallmark as the old Sky+HD extra £10 a month for HD channels! Remember that one? Became harder & harder to justify as time went by, until they scrapped it and sold it as a no cost gift to customers…
I didnt think you were at all apologies if my response suggested otherwise.
Yes, that £10 HD fee... i remember it well and I was there and paying that at the time.
Thats one of the more surprising things about boost to me. Starting at £3 for a new service nearly 2 years ago then... fine. but how long should that have lasted as an add-on - the same as the £10 HD fee it should rightly become rapidly extinct.
I was very surprised this year to see the price go UP ... very surprised. I was expecting it to disappear and not increase.
This seems to me so bizarre when a streaming service does not exist in a vacuum and has to be competitive with others. Charging an additional fee seems ridiculous in the current climate (given their base price is high) when Amazon and Disney+ make not only HD and 5.1 but 4K and ATMOS included at no extra cost.
It will, eventually disappear. Can't come soon enough. In 2021 a streaming service should be considering 1080p and 5.1 as a bare minimum specification.
I’ve been away from home the past couple of weeks, and finally got round to retesting the surround sound today. I’m getting 5.1 from live streams, with clear sound from the rear speakers. Still just 2.0 from all on demand content.
One thing I did notice is that my Sony receiver still reports DD 5.1 when playing 2.0 (on demand) material, so I wonder if the delay of a full release is related to them having issues flagging streams correctly? Netflix, Disney etc update the audio type whenever each new program starts on my receiver. Once the Now app has played a DD5.1 stream it never updates again while the app is open.
I was about to complain about the dream is over, as all the channels are back to 2.0, but just as The Hundred Live started it switched to 6 channel audio...
Now then, I have discovered what I believe to be the reason why Apple TV 5.1 isn't officially supported: It doesn't switch properly between 2.0 and 5.1.
When the video stream switched to 6 channel, while the Playback HUD noticed and said it was now 6 channels, the Apple TV output did not automatically switch to 5.1 output. It stayed on stereo.
This must mean if you tune in during the adverts for the first time, you'll get stereo and it won't switch to 5.1, and also why it doesn't switch back to stereo automatically in the ads like the Now TV stick does.
Edit: It's actually even weirder... the audio keeps dropping to 2.0 channel mid stream too.