The geekdaddy and I cancelled our satellite television subscription a few years back. We are not big television watchers, and it felt like we were paying out a lot of money for something we didn’t use very much. Since then our television watching has been done either via the fantastic BBC iPlayer, or via our Netflix subscription. On the whole that has kept us perfectly happy, but we have found a few shows that we’ve been unable to access and have had to buy via iTunes. So I was really glad to find out about the existence of Now TV (affiliate link).
Now TV is Sky’s streaming television service offered here in the UK. It differs from their satellite offering in two important ways – first of all it is cheaper, and second of all there is no contract, so you can pay for it on an ad-hoc, month by month basis. We made use of this service earlier this year when Game of Thrones was being aired, as it was the cheapest way for us to watch that particular show. I was approached by the team at Now TV a couple of months ago to become a member of their “Blog Squad”. This means I am now one of a group of bloggers who will share news, reviews and information about the Now TV service. I am also a Now TV affiliate, which means if you make any purchase after clicking one of my links I will receive a small commission payment at no additional cost to you. The reason I agreed to do this was because I was already recommending the Now TV service to friends and family, so it felt like a great fit.
Let me tell you a bit about how the Now TV service works, because it can be a bit confusing on initial sign-up. There are three different subscriptions you can take out, and you can take any combination of these, and start and stop them independently of each other. These subscriptions offer access to different types of content, as follows:
Entertainment Pass: If you love TV series and box sets, this is the option for you. This subscription gives you access to over 250 box sets and 13 channels not available on Freeview, including Sky1, Sky Living and Sky Atlantic. Whilst it doesn’t include every show broadcast on the satellite channels, it includes a good number of them, and you can access entire seasons-worth of shows at a time, making this a great option for binge-watching! The Entertainment Pass costs £6.99 per month.
Sky Movies Pass: This subscription allows you to access a great catalogue of movies – over 1,000 – with 16 new premieres being added each month. Now TV claim that movies are available through this subscription 12 months before they are on other online subscription services. With Christmas on the way this might be a great option if you want to watch some new movies over the holidays without a year-long contract. This pass costs you £9.99 per month
Sky Sports Pass: This subscription has the most different options, due to the varied nature of sporting events. On this channel you can find the biggest live matches and events from across Sky’s 7 sports channels. You can buy a single day pass for £6.99 which gives you 24 hours access, great for that big match you just can’t miss. Or you can buy a one-week pass for £10.99, of for the die-hard sports fan there is a monthly subscription at the slightly-eye-watering-to-me price of £31.99.
Once you’ve selected your subscription(s) there are many different ways you can watch the content. Now TV sell a dedicated box that you can connect to your television to watch on the big screen. Or you can watch via your mobile phone or tablet, Playstation or XBox, desktop or laptop computer, Chromecast, AppleTV and more. You can authorise up to 4 devices to be able to watch content from your subscription, and watch on any two devices simultaneously, but once you’ve hit the maximum 4 devices you can only change one device per month. This hasn’t caused us any problems, as we’ve selected the best four devices to watch on (my iPad, the geekdaddy’s Android phone, the AppleTV and the Chromecast) and haven’t needed to change them yet.
In terms of content, there is no doubt a great selection available, much of which is exclusive to Sky so you won’t find it on other streaming services. Another thing I like about Now TV is that they also include a number of “extra features” relating to the box sets. When we were watching Game of Thrones we could also immerse ourselves in numerous “behind the scenes” features in addition to the main episodes. The selections change regularly, but you can see regularly updated lists of currently available box sets on the Now TV forum, where there’s also a list of which of the UK’s top 100 movies from the last 12 months are currently on Now TV.
One important thing to note for parents is that you can set a parental controls PIN for selected content. You choose the level at which you want the PIN to apply, and any attempts to watch anything rated in that category will result in the PIN being requested before viewing can commence. So whilst your kids can still browse the full catalogue, they will only be able to watch age-appropriate stuff.
I really like Now TV, particularly the ability to start and stop passes as required, so you only pay for the content when you want it. If you’re looking for some new TV content and are happy to stream it, I think Now TV is a great service and I’m happy to recommend it. If you’re interested in trying the service out you can currently take a two-week free trial of either the Entertainment pass or the Movies pass (but you will be asked for credit card details as part of signup, and will need to cancel the service during the two weeks to avoid being charged). This is a great way to evaluate the service and see if it is something you are interested in using in the future.
Disclosure: I am a member of the Now TV Blog Squad and received a free, three month subscription to the service in order to be able to write about it. Now TV links within this post contain my affiliate details – if you make a purchase after clicking, I will receive a small commission payment at no additional cost to yourself. I recommend Now TV because I use them personally and like the service.