The service has arrived into Ireland
Do you love TV and movies, but find the selection on Netflix a bit limited and don't want a TV package? NowTV could be the answer.
I'm a fan of monthly subscriptions rather than long term contracts and bills. As it stands, I'm subscribed to Netflix, Spotify, Apple Music, Dropbox and who knows what else. I pay a tenner a month for each and have no qualms about it.
When I heard that NowTV was coming to Ireland, I was very excited. My sister lives in the UK and has a box, so I knew what the idea of the service was and had a vague idea of what to expect.
Their unique selling point is simple. They can give you access to Sky Atlantic, Sky Sports or a host of box sets without signing up to a lengthy contract. Rather than forcing users to sign up for annual contracts, they offer a pass system. This allows users to buy what they want when they want it. There's no big commitment required.
A NowTV box arrived onto my desk, along with a two-month pass for 'Entertainment' and 'Sky Cinema'.
The box is a small, neat device that connects to the TV via HDMI. It comes with a power cable and the HDMI. There's also a small remote in the box.
Setting it up was very easy. Once I hooked the box up to the TV, it took a matter of minutes to set up a NowTV account and connect to my wireless. It's worth pointing out that the account must be set up on a web browser. This can't be done via the box. It's also good to note that there is a LAN connection on the back of the box, just in case your Wifi isn't the best.
Once I was in, I was hooked!
Instantly I saw The West Wing and The Sopranos. Those shows alone are worth the subscription, in my eyes.
I spent a good while clicking through the different genres of shows and movies, but have to say the navigation could be clearer. I often found myself looking at a particular menu, unsure how I got there and struggled to find it again. I also found it tricky to find the 'search' bar, which would allow me to search for a particular show.
This was purely teething problems and the more I used it, the more I found my way around it.
I also feel I must flag that there is no volume rocker on the small NowTV remote. This is not a make or break issue, but it does mean you'll need to have at least two remotes to hand.
Personally speaking, I found the selection to be better than that of Netflix.
In terms of TV shows, there are more than 250 box sets on offer for €15 a month. That €15 also includes access to 10 live TV channels, not available on Saorview. These are Sky 1, Fox, Gold, Comedy Central, MTV, Sky Atlantic, Sky Arts, ABC Studios, Viceland, Discovery Channel, Sky Living, Natural Geographic Wild and Channel 4.
Since moving out of home I've always just streamed Netflix and YouTube onto my TV via a Chromecast. I felt spoilt for choice with the level of offering from NowTV.
Sky Cinema has the selection of movies I often wish Netflix had. While there are many classics such as Scarface and The Godfather on there, you'll also find recent releases like Finding Dory, Star Trek Beyond, and Ghostbusters. There are more than 1,000 movies in the Sky Cinema package, which costs €15 a month.
There is no question but that I will continue to pay €15 a month for the Entertainment package. The selection of shows on offer is just incredible. I have the ability to watch any of the content I pay for on my phone or another device. I'm back in the world of President Bartlet and loving it.
While the movie selection on Sky Cinema is, in my opinion, superior to that of Netflix, I don't know that I would replace it with my Netflix subscription. I like having access to Netflix originals and there's no way I'm having Netflix, NowTV Entertainment, and Sky Cinema subscriptions. I simply don't have that much free time!
I will most certainly keep an eye on Sky Cinema releases and would gladly pay the €15 once-off if a film I want to see is released on it. For me, I think Netflix and Now TV Entertainment would do the trick!
That is, of course, before we talk about Sky Sports.
I live with a sports fanatic who is incredibly excited to learn that Sky Sports can be accessed from a tenner per day. It's possible to buy a week pass for €15 or else a monthly pass for €50. This gives access to all the live action on 7 Sky Sports channels.
So, it looks as though my household will now be paying for Sky Sports - on big match days, NowTV Entertainment, and Netflix. Thankfully each of these is contract free, meaning we can cancel at any given stage.