Now TV 2.0 for iPad and iPhone review: Movies and Sports on your iOS device
Now TV is Sky’s answer to LoveFilm and NetFlix. It offers a selection of movies, with a selling point being that they are available on Sky before the others because Sky has the initial rights to the films for the platforms within the UK and Ireland; also available are a selection of archive movies but the selection is fairly limited and generally covers what’s currently being shown on the Sky Movie channels. The service is free for the first month, £8.99 for the second three months, then £15 per month which seems a little excessive given that the competition is significantly cheaper.
Recently announced is a Sky Sports day pass which, for £9.99, allows you access to all of the Sky Sports channels for one day. The appeal for this will clearly be those who don’t have access to such premium content in any other way – i.e. Freeview users. It's a very expensive way to watch Sky Sports; but for some may be the only option.
The app presents the content as a number of shelves; with each shelf covering a separate subject. The top shelf is Sky Sports; then you have new Sky Movies, Most Popular, Must See, All Time Greats, Tough Guys, Action, Comedy, Family, Horror and so on. You can swipe left/right on a shelf to see the different content available; to select that content tap the cover picture.
A detail page opens giving the background story to the movie you've chosen, or some details about the sports event you wish to watch. If you're happy with this, tap Watch Now and the content will launch. it opens full-screen; you can't watch a movie on your iPad at the same time as sending an email; but in most circumstances this won't be a major thing.
You can mirror your iPad on an Apple TV via AirPlay Mirroring to watch Sky Sports on a large-screen tv; but you can't do this with the movies. The app gives the explanation that the studios won't currently allow it; but if Apple can do it with the iTunes store what's to stop Sky doing it with their app?
Usability-wise, the app is difficult to fault. The layout is obvious, inspiration could be said to have been drawn from other similar apps but it works well.
The selection of recent movies available through Now TV is impressive; but the inability to sync movies to an Apple TV seems to be a major flaw in what is otherwise quite a nice app. The Sky Sports Day Pass is too expensive; if you were to watch Sky Sports every day for a month through the app you'd be looking at upwards of £300. If you'd like to get movies such as these quickly, Now TV may be your only choice: in which case, give it four months (first month free, plus three months at £8.99) to see if you really need it; then see if you can justify £15 a month based on the amount you actually used it.