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.
I think that Sky's main focus for 2020 has been getting a link with Amazon so that on SkyQ box subscribers can get access to football from all UK sources. In that regard, they've succeeded. It's a big win. Not only do they have the football, they now have the NowTV app. on Amazon streaming kit, which makes sense given that they no longer (as I understand it) have any financial stake in Roku. The lack of NowTV hardware for sale on the NowTV website reinforces that to my mind. I'm not really sure what Amazon get out of this other than perhaps access to more subscribers, unless there's a Comcast deal of some sort that's also taken place in the US that they get value from. Sky's focus in getting the NowTV app. to newer Sony TVs would also, again to my mind, strengthen the argument that they're moving away from supporting their own hardware. If nothing else, it's a perfect excuse (see below) to deflect support issues -- "No, it's nothing to do with our excellent streaming service that never goes wrong. It's a problem with your kit/broadband provider".
Sky gets nothing from offering the NowTV app. on ATV kit, other than possibly a slight increase in subscriber numbers, but given the insult that it's levelled against all of those people who took part in the beta trials, it's clear that they just don't care. I can't see any further improvements in the NowTV app. on ATV kit surfacing. Perhaps there are some challenges with the platform. The BBC iPlayer app. still doesn't support sub-titles from what I can make out, but then again, that's another example of the level of contempt that the BBC holds its licence payers in -- 2021 nearly, and still no full HD or 5.1 audio from iPlayer.
I do wonder if Sky has bitten off more than it can chew. Reports earlier in this thread and on AVForums have mentioned appalling quality levels recently. Perhaps their servers can't keep up with the extra demand from users of Amazon hardware. Probably not though. I suspect that Sky has just dialled things back again just to see how many subscribers complain. If there's very little noise, they'll leave things as-is, but help themselves to as much as our cash as we're prepared to give them.
The big gotcha for lots of us is that Sky often has stuff that we want to see, and using NowTV, albeit at a [greatly] reduced quality level is something that many of us are seemingly happy to accept, me included, in lieu of having a SkyQ subscription. It still surprises me that so many people are happy to pay Sky great globs of money to watch a stream of ads. with bits of programming thrown in as a sop on their satellite boxes. The average US drama is ~40 minutes per episode on NowTV. On Sky, it's an hour, 20 minutes of the same old ads. with endless Sky promos. chucked in for good measure. That's the reason that I stopped being a Sky satellite customer over 25 years ago now -- nothing has changed. I did read somewhere that Sky was considering shoving ads. in NowTV streams. Recent stuff that I've watched from Sky Witness certainly has placeholders -- the Sky Witness banner, plus about 30 seconds of annoying muzak. If that were to happen, and I was subscribing (which I'm not at present, I cancelled my passes earlier this month) I'd cancel permanently.
Sky has a problem with content. It relies on a lot of US material, which given the pandemic, has pretty much dried-up. Perhaps that's another reason for getting the footie. Stuff that might be expected to appear will be a lot later, if it arrives at all. Interestingly, Amazon is now offering a lot of the stuff that's recently been on NowTV. OK, you might end-up paying more for it, but you do get it in full HD with 5.1 audio, without any hassle, and it stays in your library, so no worries about it disappearing, as is often the case on NowTV. The downside is that you have wait a bit longer for your fix of 'X'.
I think that NowTV on Apple hardware is a busted flush. If you want to stream NowTV content in a manner that's acceptable to you then you need to look elsewhere, as the app. is not your friend on ATV hardware. For me, it's a so close yet so far scenario. The ATV box is just about the best streaming box out there, offering gigabit Ethernet connectivity and is well made, if slightly pricey hardware. I think that only the nVidia Shield comes close.
It will be interesting to see what 2021 brings. I won't be holding my breath though. I might still go for an ATV box, although with a new box promised next year it might be worth my holding fire. That decision might be easier to make if Sky/NowTV don't deliver stuff that SWMBO and I would like to watch. Time will tell.
I agree with everything you've said there.
The only thing I would observe is that although we, the paying public, see NowTV as another one of the main UK streaming services which should be standing shoulder to shoulder with Netflix, Amazon, Disney+.... I don't think that's how NowTV see themselves.
It would appear that they provide the NowTV service as a way of appealing to those who want the content... but aren't able or willing to pay for the premium SkyQ service or have a dish installed. Their current advertising for SkyQ leans heavily on it being the main hub of the experience and accessing Netflix etc through the SkyQ box (horrible experience ive tried it!). "be a subscriber through NowTV if you must but you aren't going to get the same experience".
So whereas Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+ provide their flagship services through streaming... to NowTV its the poor mans sky and is provided as a convenience to some less important customers than those who already access their content in Sky's preferred way.
Personally im with you, and all the rest of the outside facing customer base. NowTV is a streaming service in its own right... its priced as such, and the content is very compelling.... and we expect the same treatment as customers as Disney and the others provide including quality streams and sound etc.... this is where the problem lies..
I will never get why Sky shelved there plans for Sky Q over Fibre like they have done in Austria and Italy. I would subscribe to that but I literally can't have a Satellite dish live in a apartment and I don't have Virgin but I have true Fibre Internet so I can only use NowTV if i want anything similar to a Sky experience and HBO content it really does annoy me. I've given up with my AppleTV for NowTV I will either end up getting a Firestick 4K or use the PS5 when I manage get my hands on one they support the full NowTV boost package and with a easy fast forward or rewind system.
To be honest NowTV these days with price increases isn't a massive amount cheaper then Sky Q either.
I have a theory. Based entirely on guesswork of course.
The SkyQ package is very expensive and lucrative for Sky. It will always be their priority.
Yes, for customers such as yourself then the elusive Sky X product seems to fit the bill.
However, I wonder in the UK whether they would be able to price it correctly.
What I mean is.. the current NowTV has unique content and they seem to be able to get away with charging what they do AND providing a shoddy service with HD and 5.1 coming at a premium cost.
NowTV simply doesn't compare from a user experience perspective to the other big streamers.. Netflix, Apple+, Disney+, and Amazon prime. All these services are priced at less than NowTV and yet manage 4K and Atmos for the cost - remember NowTV are charging more for half the service.
So, the mythical SkyX would of course be more expensive than NowTV... and assuming it would have to provide at least 4K.... how much would they charge. Probably at least 3 times what Netflix charge and I don't think the british consumers would stomach that. They will always quite rightly compare services to others that are available and I doubt that SkyX would be for many people what would represent decent value for money.
Of course, in your situation, I completely understand why this is a desirable product for you - but Sky seems content for now offering the ropey NowTV experience which is highly platform-related depending on what experience you get.
Perhaps they are making NowTV so bad, and such low quality in comparison to others.. that when they do release SkyX people will be desperate for it and pay a premium.
@nst Agreed, I have long expected NOW TV to turn into SkyX. Still think it will do eventually.
Like @Anonymous User our property cannot have a dish installation - there must be many others who are in the same situation for many different reasons, so delivery of tv via superfast & ultrafast broadband is the obvious solution for consumers in that market segment.
I suspect SkyX, if it ever sees the light of day, will be sold in the same way (and same price) as SkyQ i.e. consumers tied into long term contracts. Very different to NowTV model of dip in, dip out, on a monthly basis. Hobbling NowTV gives them the space to do SkyX if they ever want to.
In my case, I do have a dish but SkyQ got so expensive - Movies and TV was £55 for me when I cancelled a year ago. I had the opportunity to get a years pass for £99 to cover movies and tv... a no brainer at the time. Of course the subsequent AppleTV app debacle has somewhat sullied the experience but generally speaking its fine - as long as its HD and 5.1 - after all there's no point replacing a 4K service with a 720p one.
I now no longer have any traditional means of receiving TV - both my dish and aerial are not connected. All my programming is via the internet, and ive been quite surprised at how using iPlayer, ITV Hub, All4, and My5 covers live TV adequately. There have been other benefits and of course the concept of recording TV has vanished as its all on tap. The AppleTV TV app has been hugely beneficial to me in ditching a recorder as, when it works correctly, its great and totally fulfils that function - you can keep up with the latest episode of something just as easily as if you had a series link record on the go. NowTV's own watchlist and continue watching also functions adequately although annoying that it doesn't automatically appear when a new episode of a new series starts... you have to have watched episode one before the subsequent ones appear. It would be a huge benefit for NowTV to integrate with the TV function as Amazon, Disney+, Britbox, iPlayer etc have..... its was such a disappointment when the new app launched without it even though we were promised would. I hope they fulfil that promise soon.
The only big downside for me is having to sit through Ads. Ive not had to do this since the late 90's when I first got Sky+. The trouble with the catchup services is that they bombard you with ads... too many frankly. The ads at the beginning of the show are just not needed and annoying, and the inability to skip them is equally irritating.. and if you want to go to the end of a show for any reason you still have to sit through loads of ads to do so.
The ads are a pain, but considering the cost savings then its worth while.
I just completed the NowTV survey that asked me why I cancelled my passes. One of the reasons that I cited in the free text field was NowTV’s rubbish support for their app. on ATV kit and their brass neck in charging full price for an add-on, yet only supplying 50% of the service.
All-in-all, pretty pointless, I know, but it gave me the chance to have a rant. It won’t do any good, but perhaps if other ATV users cancelling their passes gave the same reasons, maybe Sky might just get the message. Unlikely, of course, but you never know ...
I completely have given up on NowTV ever truly supporting the AppleTV system which is a shame as it a very good system. My Firestick arrived yesterday and it is a dream to use I can actually rewind and fast forward on NowTV and expect with the Amazon partnership it will be kept updated.