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]


sibod said...

The Catch up movies and TV shows are around 720p on the Roku and NowTV box.

Also, avoid the Sky Store like the plauge. They are charging £1 more for movie rentals than anywhere else!

E.G. Thor: The Dark World is £4.49 in SD on Sky Store, and £3.49 on everywhere else.

Some are even as high as £6 on the Sky+ for HD versions, and just dont ask about 3d versions!

Sky are trying to gouge a captive audience, and I hope it fails.

Nialli said...

Almost 720p? My eyes weren't deceiving me. I agree on the Sky Store pricing - heavy indeed.

tassiekev said...

Unrelated question on the Now box, Nialli - Does the 4OD app allow access to the complete Channel 4 archive or just the stuff Shy have?

Thanks in anticipation.

Nialli said...

Seems pretty extensive - all IT Crowd, GBH, even some Brookside and Adam and Joe from the nineties. Anything in particular that you're looking for?

tassiekev said...

(Very) Old stuff - Hill Street Blues, St Elsewhere, NTPD Blue etc


Nialli said...

No NYPD Blue or St Elsewhere, but there are 79 episodes of Hill Street Blues, around half of the total, which means the first four seasons complete. Which is rather fabulous. Thanks for asking - I wouldn't have looked if you hadn't and now I've got the perfect viewing for my rainy Bank Holiday!

tassiekev said...

Thanks for that, I recorded the first 4 seasons of HSB when it was on C4 a few years back. At the end of Season 4 it suddenly stopped and never reappeared. C4 said it (the complete 7 seasons) had also been on More4 - not much use when it had already finished! I do have Seasons 5,6,7 but the quality isn't as good as I'd like. Why they never put Seasons 3-7 on DVD is beyond me.

Not really interested in the Now box otherwise. I have Tivo XL and Sky's HD pack which includes box sets & Atlantic. Can't think of anything else on the Now box that I'd need/want.

Thanks again for your help

sibod said...

Just wanted to note - the Box Sets and Catch up on NowTV are confusingly mixed up so it's not clear what is is what.
For example, if you subscribed at the end of last month on the promise of Season 1 and 2 of Elementary being available, - you'd have less than 2 days to watch the entire first season of 21-22 episodes, and find that Season 2 is incomplete - showing only the last 30 days worth of episodes, but not the complete season broadcast so far.

Also, if you subscribe to NowTV in 18 days time, you'll have barely 24 hours to watch all 4 seasons of the show.

They set ridiculously short expiry dates for their box sets, and the time of expiry is hidden until the last 30 days, and even then it only shows in tiny print at the top of the episode - easy to miss.

I was watching my way through Season 1 of Elementary , and suddenly it expired 5 days sooner than it was even meant to - it'd been up barely a month!

On the other hand, Hannibal Season 1 has been up most of the year so far. So have most of the Sky shows like Yonderland or This is Jinsy.

So you HAVE to binge watch as soon as a show becomes available, and time subscribing with the start date of your intended show.

it's nowhere near as comprehensive or complete or convenient as Netflix - all it offers is the specific shows that Sky has the rights to, and acts merely as a Sky Lite package. Any pretence of it being anything like Netflix or NowTV is merely marketing smoke and mirrors.