In this period of forced quarantine, online streaming – especially videos – among the services that have increased their market the most: the need to stay at home has given more free time to people, who can take advantage of their sofas to enjoy entertainment content that first they would have consumed precious hours, usually dedicated to other activities.
Macitynet took the opportunity to try NOW TV, Sky's streaming service. Here are our impressions.
NOW TV offer
As anticipated, NOW TV is Sky's streaming video service, a direct rival of other competitors including Apple TV, Netflix, Infinity, DAZN and Amazon Prime Video.
NOW TV therefore allows you to subscribe and access on demand to all content available on Sky's satellite channels without having to use the decoder, but simply using an online connection and a compatible device.
In addition to the content on demand, it is also possible to observe the programs broadcast on air, following the programming of the Sky program schedule.
The offer divided into several packages, 6 at the time of writing:
- TV Series In HD and Entertainment at 9.99 euros per month (with free trial for 14 days);
- Cinema In HD at 9.99 euros per month (with free trial for 14 days);
- TV Series and Entertainment + Cinema In HD at 14.99 euros per month (with free trial for 14 days);
- 1 Month of Super HD Sports at 29.99 euros per month
- 7 Days of Sport in Super HD at 14.99 euros per month
- 1 day of Super HD Sports at 9.99 euros per month
In all cases, the subscription can be canceled at any time and up to 4 devices can be associated; cinema and entertainment content can be enjoyed on 2 devices simultaneously, while sports content on only one device at a time.
Unfortunately, the possibility of viewing TV and cinema series in 4K is missing, an option not present among those available.
NOW TV offers can be enjoyed on computers with the special player for Mac and PC, via app on iOS and Android devices, on compatible smart TVs, via Chromecast, on Xbox One and One S consoles, and PlayStation 4, Vodafone TV, Tim Box and through the appropriate Smart Stick NOW TV.
Unfortunately, the application for the Amazon Fire Stick is not available, while the apps for iOS and Android allow you to download the contents to the devices to be able to view them even offline.
The prices are quite aligned with the competition, while it is worth noting that the entry price (9.99 euros per month) is lower than the price of a subscription to Sky's satellite service, which at the time of writing starts from 19.99 euros per month.
We have tested the service through Google Chromecast, the Android application and by trying the TV Series In HD and Entertainment package for 9.99 euros per month.
The strength of NOW TV probably linked to the exclusivity of its contents. Some of the most popular series of recent years are in fact available exclusively on Sky and therefore accessible through NOW TV.
Among these we cannot fail to mention the acclaimed Game of Thrones series, re-proposed on the platform starting from last March 26, the sci-fi series Westworld, Chernobyl, True Detective, Walking Dead and many others, to which is added a large number of films who reach the platform earlier than other streaming services.
Interesting original content of exclusive entertainment on Sky, such as the 4 Restaurants series, MasterChef Italia or Italias Got Talent.
In addition, the sports packages (currently suspended due to the COVID-19 emergency) also offer many sporting events and in this case very limited competition, with only DAZN posing a threat to NOW TV.
From the point of view of the contents, therefore, nothing to complain: probably that of Sky one of the most interesting catalogs for any fan of TV series, cinema or sports.
NOW TV app
The application of NOW TV is unfortunately mediocre: it has a complete menu that allows you to browse within all available content (even those not included in your subscription), offering intuitive navigation menus, an effective search function and suggestion options for interesting content for users.
As mentioned, you can download the contents locally, to be able to use them when an online connection is not available.
The application natively integrates with Google's Chromecast, the device with which we have tested its performance on TV. In actual use, the NOW TV application highlights all its limitations and proves to be much less convincing than competing services, especially compared to Netflix.
Using a nominal 30 Mb / s connection for the Game of Thrones series, in addition to long loading times, we noticed that the app struggles on most occasions to maintain constant HD video quality, with significant drops in resolution – which happens much more rarely (almost never) for Netflix content – to which the application crash is not uncommon.
In all likelihood, the algorithms that regulate the delivery of data along the Netflix bandwidth are able to better optimize the bandwidth availability, an aspect that makes Netflix playback qualitatively superior to NOW TV.
Another problem that we encountered was the lack of precision in the translation of the series (always Game of Thrones) by viewing the content in the original language with the subtitles: some sentences are skipped evenly and are not available, even if the reason is not clear.
Many other features are missing from the competition, such as the possibility of skipping the initial theme, skipping to the next episode and the lack of a multi-user option.
These limits undoubtedly invalidate the pleasure of using the contents.
After trying it, our judgment on NOW TV can only be twofold.
On the one hand, the service offers a list of content of great quality and popularity: some of the most famous and acclaimed series in the world are available only on the Sky platform.
The Sky catalog definitely worth 10 and praise and subscribe to NOW TV the only way to enjoy all available content (from sports to TV series) without having to go through the most expensive satellite offer.
Unfortunately, the downside concerns the application itself, absolutely inadequate to make the experience pleasant, penalized by obvious gaps (absent options and lack of 4K for cinema and TV series) and performances to the limit of the acceptable.
The discriminant therefore concerns only the interest that a user can have for the content available on NOW TV: if a large part of the content in the Sky catalog leaves you indifferent, given the mediocrit of the application in our opinion you can also avoid NOW TV.
If instead you have always dreamed of a marathon in front of the TV enjoying all the seasons of Game of Thrones, then you can do it only on NOW TV. At that point you just have to turn your nose and settle for their service.
To visit the NOW TV official site you can click this direct link.