April 29, 2014

Just received this from Now TV


We'd like to say sorry for the problems you’ve experienced with NOW TV recently.

To apologise, we'll shortly be sending you a £10 voucher which you will be able to redeem from a wide range of shops including ASDA, Morrisons, John Lewis, Sainsbury's and Boots.

Thank you for your ongoing patience at this time.


What's a little odd about this is that I hadn't actually complained to Now TV about the service problems of the last week but had mentioned it on a few posts on this blog. Either Now TV monitor this blog (which I doubt, but if they do - hi guys!) or the problems are pretty widespread and affecting all customers. I'm surprised they've gone for the voucher compensation - I would have thought an extra couple of months of the Entertainment sub I have would have been easier, but I'm not complaining. Having said that, I doubt I'll renew the service once Game of Thrones has finished its current run.

April 27, 2014

Sky Atlantic on NowTV - don't bother

After an appalling week, I've just about had it with NowTV - first, the picture quality on the live streaming proves unwatchable with awful blocking and almost constant buffering, now I find that I can't access anything as it tells me I have "too many devices logged in simultaneously', despite only having one NowTV box. Log out, log back in and it just says "Oops. Try again later". It's been like that all weekend.

April 21, 2014

Game of Thrones on Now TV

Maybe my broadband's playing up tonight*, but Now TV is less than impressive as this clip of tonight's Game of Thrones on Sky Atlantic (via Now TV) demonstrates. I actually video-ed a couple of minutes, most of which featured the spinning wheel, but I think you get the idea from this clip.
As a live channel this is more dire than a Direwolf if you ask me...

[spoiler warning: if you haven't watch episode 2 of the fourth season yet, play with the audio off]

* According to Speedtest.net, I was getting around 30mb downloading on my laptop at the time over the wireless, which is well down on what I normally see.

April 18, 2014

Sky Atlantic viewing (revised)

I've re-subscribed to Entertainment on my lil' NOW TV box for the new seasons of Game of Thrones and Mad Men. Couple of comments:

  • For those who haven't watched GoT on Atlantic before, there are loads of ads in the live broadcast (the latest episode had 20 minutes at least). Better to watch on the catch up service which has no ads breaking up the show, better PQ (see below) and you can pause and rewind if you want. 
  • Picture quality is very good SD on catch up [update: 720p I'm told], a little poorer on the live channels. Better than SD iPlayer on my TiVo (I have break up on my TiVo's HD iPlayer btw - anyone else have this?)
  • All previous seasons' episodes for both shows are available via catch up. Nice for newbies and fans alike. 
It's the first time I've plugged in my NOW box for a while and I'm stil impressed. It's fast and responsive, all the menus are in HD and they've added some more Apps (Spotify, Flixster, Sky Store for (expensive) on demand movies and a few others). In fact BBC iPlayer is better than my TiVo in HD, and, considering the box was a tenner and the Entertainment package I'd a fiver a month, that's pretty great value. I'm not tempted to obtain Atlantic shows by "other means" and, as long as the price stays reasonable and I can unsubscribe when I want to, I recommend it. They currently have an offer for the box plus six months' of the Entertainment package for £34.99, which is even better value. I'll shut up now as it sounds like I'm turning into a Sky fanboy - heaven forbid!

[a few small revisions from original version of this post, which was hastily written on my phone rather than a proper keyboard]

April 14, 2014

TV Anywhere boohoo

I don't think that's Mr Freeman

Also, if anyone can't wait until Friday to see Man of Steel on Sky Premiere on Friday evening it has appeared already on Sky Movies On Demand in HD. Great soundtrack, so-so movie in my opinion. 

April 10, 2014

Netflix when abroad

If you're travelling abroad this summer, you may be able to access Netflix on your tech, but don't expect it everywhere unless you have a VPN or an IP masker like MediaHint installed. 
Netflix is available currently in the following nations are served by Netflix: United States, Canada, Mexico, South America, United Kingdom, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland. More details can be found at http://netflix.fromabroad.org

April 09, 2014

Netflix - behind the new interface

I'm currently on a break in Amsterdam and was delighted to find that if can watch the Dutch Netflix selection of TV and movies in my apartment's TV (courtesy of my iPhone and cable). The Dutch selection is missing a fair bit of Brit TV but makes up for that by having full seasons of Lost and Mad Men, plus recent movies including Monsters University and Avengers Assemble. Which look stunning on the 40in Sony I'm viewing them on.
Anyway, whilst I'm away there's still bugger-all news about anything exciting heading our way on VM, so here's something I read a few weeks back about how Netflix tweaked the store interface recently to improve the whole experience: http://gigaom.com/2014/02/24/a-look-behind-the-curtain-how-netflix-redesigned-and-rebuilt-its-television-experience/.

April 08, 2014

Netflix 4K Ultra HD hits the UK, but not yet for TiVo

Netflix has begun streaming video in 4K Ultra HD resolution in the UK, launching the service with House of Cards Season 2, but you'll need to have a new 4K TV with the required HEVC codec.
So that's good news if you shelled out as an early adopter for a 4K TV from LG, Samsung or Sony as they have the latest Netflix app, allowing them to stream 4K content, but there is no word yet on a new TiVo app. 
Nor is there going to be masses of 4K content. A Netflix spokesman said "Initially, there will only be a few titles on Netflix available in Ultra HD. We will have House of Cards Season 2 as well as a few nature documentaries. We will add more titles over time, but it will be a slowly expanding offering."

April 02, 2014

Who wants the Family Filter?

Not many, according to the poll I ran on this blog in March. The poll had the largest vote I've had on this blog - 716 were good enough to vote - and 637 (88%) said they wouldn't be signing up for the Prime Minister's inspired mandating of his family values crusade to UK ISPs. Just 47 said they would be signing up.
Of course, much will depend on how the question is phrased when we're asked; if it's "Sign this if you think children accessing pornography is a bad thing" then most will sign not really appreciating that the Family Filter is a nonsense,  a clumsy, ill-conceived and ultimately false security measure being foisted upon us all. I hope Virgin Media will phrase the question appropriately.

April 01, 2014

Sky announces another satellite exclusive channel

Not content with depriving Virgin Media customers of Sky Atlantic and Game of Thrones et al, Sky has now announced another channel of premium import content that will only be available to satellite customers.
Sky Indian Ocean launches today and is a Sky exclusive. Featuring "the very best of Bollywood and Indian programming", including simulcasts of the latest soaps and every single episode of Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, all 1833 of them, which will be screened ten a day over the next six months.
Also announced, but launching later in the year, is the Sky exclusive Sky Barrier Reef. "This one's taking a little longer to get together," said a spokesman, "on account of high quality Australian programming being pretty much non-existent. Aside from Skippy and The Only Way is Tasmania, it's all shite to be honest. And don't get us started on New Zealand TV - strewth."
Rumours of Sky English Channel, featuring only Jersey-based programmes such as Bergerac, have again surfaced over on Digital Spy forums.