I totally get what you are saying. And I dont dispute it one bit.
But I can confirm that the bog standard cheapo NowTV box, with a boost subscription, when compared side to side with the 'standard' quality is very noticeably better. Not just a bit, not just subjectively speaking, but very much better.
What you say is also interesting because ive noticed that Netflix and Disney+, and Amazon Prime's so-called UHD or 4K streams do not look any better than NowTV's 1080p content.
I’ve got a 65” OLED and this definitely isn’t a 720p image upscaled. If anything, the OLED would pick up issues like artefacts.
I took advantage of the Sports deals (£20pm for 3 months) and the boost (have an entertainment pass) for £6 for 3 months and as I’ve said, could be stuff under the hood that they’re playing about with. But I’m definitely seeing a marked improvement in the picture quality from previous times I’ve used the app (was on the previous beta).
Netflix, Disney+ and Prime Video UHD content may look comparable to Now TV 1080p streams now but, that's only because of the current bandwidth restrictions in place for all the former. Netflix Dolby Vision streams, with Atmos max out at 7.62Mb/s. You'll never get close to what that content can look like, with those data rates. It does well to look good with the non throttled, 15.26Mb/s data rates.
Is there an opportunity to join the beta? I'm a Quality Assurance professional by trade, so it would be interesting and I'd like to contribute. I was 'forced' into buying a Now TV stick after finding out the Apple TV 4K doesn't support Boost, so I have a vested interest in contributing too.
I would be surprised at this point to be honest and it's been a bit of a mixed bag trial so far. Hopefully everyone can get there hands on the completed app soon. there has been small fixes between the builds so far but they have been slow to push out.
It was my understanding that the throttling was only temporary and they had announced a few weeks ago that it was over and we had the full quality streams back.
I am the same as you in that I was forced to buy a NowTV box as I was replacing my SkyQ subscription and was unwilling to go back to 720. The box wasnt expensive and it works fine though I dislike it and hate having to switch between 2 boxes when the AppleTV should be the only box I need. I was surprised how few platforms support boost - you'd have thought that they would make it immediately available on all current platforms that support 1080p to get people to pay them £3 per month for the privilege.
From a testing perspective, I think you are too late as the beta has been going on for 3 months and counting. I have the same background as you in IT testing / QA but you would be disappointed as we are not being engaged as anything more than blunt instruments to bash away and see what doesnt work.
Its frustrating as we can raise faults but we are never informed whats happening with that fault and if they do release a new version of the Beta we are not told specifically whats been fixed so we have no idea what to re-test. You cant approach it with any professional methodology sadly.
It is what it is. I just hope they release it soon and hope against hope they support Boost - as it they dont after all this waiting and patience I will simply not be able to use the new app until they do.
“I know that 1080p is hardly the second coming... but when you compare the same content in 720 vs boost's 1080 there is a distinct difference and you generally wont want to go back. Your TV might well be a 4K upscaler, and the 720 might look better than you hope with some TV wizardry... but as I say the 1080p version is markedly better.”
Yup, and particularly noticeable when watching Live Sport (when there was some...)
Also “Boost” is required to get better 5.1 sound (where that’s available)