Following the lead of the US, the UK has seemingly begun to embrace online streaming services for quick and easy access to a vast library of blockbuster movies both old and new. With Netflix and Lovefilm quickly out of the blocks having launched earlier in the year, they now find themselves looking cautiously over their shoulders as Sky’s Now TV has launched with aplomb and primed to leave them both in it’s dust.
Now TV provides instant access to hundreds of films from the Sky Movies vault via a variety of Internet enabled devices. Launching initially with PC, Mac and selected Android devices, the service offers rapid & simple access to the UK’s most popular movie subscription service sans a contract, set-up costs and installation, providing a new way to watch the movies you love without any lengthy contractual commitment. The service will then extend to iPad, iPhone, Xbox, YouView, Roku streaming players and the PS3 over the coming months, thus covering pretty much all the bases when it comes to access.
The service is basically split in two. Firstly, the Sky Movies Pass provides unlimited access to the entire Sky Movies collection of around 600 movies. For £15 a month (after a 30 day free trial), you can get into an absolute mass of both recent blockbusters and classic films including movies from most of the major US studios. What’s more, the library will add 5 new films a week, 12 months before they become available on any other service. Having such exclusivity with movie choice seems massive, and it is a promise that certainly steals a march ahead of the competition.
The second part of Now TV is essentially a pay as you play jive offering over 1000 movies ranging from 99p to £3.49 and contains a whole host of brand new movies recently released on DVD. Films like The Woman in Black, 21 Jump Street and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel will be available straight off the bat. Providing exclusive access to such recently released movies via an online device is again something the other streaming services just don’t provide, it is most definitely an impressive string to Now TV’s bow.
Having had a flick through Now TV via a variety of devices, the design is slick and very simple to use. Films load as quickly as you’d expect with a fast broadband Internet connection, showing off a decent level of quality with impressive playback stability. I personally use both Netflix and Lovefilm, but what Now TV has managed to do is to implement a simple navigation interface similar to the former, but include a far more impressive movie catalogue. I only had a quick browse through the movies on offer, but pretty much every film on there was a new movie, a popular Hollywood flick, or a total classic. It even had The Warriors, and if you’ve got the best movie of all time (in my mind at least) in your canon, then you can safely expect to see some absolutely ace films in there.
Shortly after launch, more of Sky’s impressive line-up will become available on the service including live streaming of Sky Sports. In addition to this, Now TV will roll out access to programming from Sky 1, Sky Living, Sky Arts and most impressively Sky Atlantic, potentially meaning unlimited access to incredible HBO programming (Game of Thrones anyone?). While the service will only provide movies for launch, it seems apparent that once it gets into a confident stride over the coming months, it will most definitely grow head and shoulders above the competition. If Sky maintain the promise of a constant influx of quality content (TV Series, stand up DVDs and documentaries are essential), there is no reason why Now TV can’t become the premier streaming service in the UK.
The service launched today (17th of July) over at www.nowtv.com/home, and is ready to dive in for a free 30-day trial with unlimited access to some really amazing movies…but watch The Warriors first, obviously.
I also managed to grab quick chat with the director of Now TV, Simon Creasey, so keep an eye out for that in the coming days.
I must also extend many a thanks to Gemma Glover and the rest of the folks at Jam.