May 23, 2014

TV Anywhere on Android update.

Virgin's TV Anywhere app on Android is being updated, allowing more subscribers to view channels on their devices.
A Virgin Media spokesperson explained that while more phones and tablets would be able to make use of Virgin TV Anywhere, not all devices can be fully supported from launch. (The list of currently supported Android devices can be found here.)
A spokesperson said: “We are always looking at new ways to make Virgin TV Anywhere available to more customers on more devices. Later this week, the most comprehensive entertainment-anywhere service of its kind will be enabled for another 25 smartphones and tablets. “Due to the volume of Android devices in the market, these have not gone through extensive testing to be classified as “supported”.”

May 12, 2014

Sky News, Sky Sports News,3, 4 and F1 all coming to Virgin in HD

From MediaGuardian:
Virgin Media has struck a five-year deal to carry BSkyB's TV channels – but once again failed to reach agreement to offer Sky Atlantic, home to big name shows including Game of Thrones. The new deal, a significant extension of the existing three-year deal the two TV companies have in place, is the latest move in the battle against BT Sport. 
Under the new deal Virgin Media will also offer customers five of BSkyB's new high definition channels – for Sky Sports 3 and 4, Sky Sports News, Sky News and its dedicated F1 channel. However, the new deal does not include Sky Atlantic, home to big-budget HBO output including Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones and Mad Men. 
The two companies have never been able to agree on a price to carry Sky Atlantic, with Sky maintaining it is much more valuable than the audience levels the channel attracts. The new deal also marks the first time that Virgin Media customers will be able to access Sky's channels through smartphones and tablets using the Virgin TV Anywhere app.

May 10, 2014

Now TV On Demand off the menu

Sky Atlantic on demand on Now TV has started removing content. Here's the feeble response on the Now TV community board:
"We've received questions from customers in the past few days about the availability of Game of Thrones seasons 1-3. All three seasons have now left the service, as originally planned.

 We're really sorry if anybody didn't have the time to get through all of the episodes. We made a big thing out of when they all became available two months ago, and hoped everyone would be able to watch them all in that time.

If we'd kept Game of Thrones for longer, it'd mean that you could watch the first three seasons, but then would miss out on episode one of season four, which is also leaving the catch up service. Catch up episodes are available for 30 days from broadcast.

The NOW TV Entertainment Month Pass is designed to showcase the newest and best entertainment content Sky channels have to offer, supported by previous seasons of the same shows to let people catch up on what they've missed."

The cynics would suggest it's simply a poorly executed marketing ploy for the satellite service. Believe in Upselling...

May 09, 2014

Netflix fixes price for existing customers for two years

"In order to continue adding more films and TV programmes, we are increasing our price from £5.99 to £6.99 for new members. As a thank you for being a member of Netflix already, we guarantee that your plan and price will not change for two years.–The Netflix Team"
Unfortunately The Guardian is reporting that "Netflix will allow subscribers to continue paying £5.99 a month if they opt for a lower-resolution "SD" quality service. It also has a multiple-users service for £8.99 a month which allows four users to view programmes at the same time on a single monthly account. So that's actually a price increase of £2 for the same service (we currently have HD and multi-user access) - not sure how accurate the Grauniad is on this as I can't see any reference to this in any coverage.
Update: Netflix assure me that :
"The quality will not change at all. You will still have the same quality. It is that new members will see an increase in the price, but you will not be affected."

May 04, 2014

Farewell, Now TV

My monthly subscription to the Entertainment package on Now TV is up for renewal tomorrow and I've already cancelled. Life is too short for the nightly grief of buffering, pixelated images and service outages, and in case you think it's just me, check out the comments of woe from Now TV's own Facebook ad.
So it's back to that mate of mine who has a USB of new episodes of GoT and Mad Men every Monday evening. I don't want to go that route so hopefully one day Sky or HBO (who have similar problems with their IP service in the US) will sort out their delivery systems and give the customers what they want.
(And I seem to be cursed this week. The Nialli family sat down on Saturday night to enjoy Rush in HD via Virgin Movies, only to have the On Demand service fail during the film's big climax, just twenty minutes from the end! Worked again after a half hour break, but bloody difficult can these things be??)

May 01, 2014

Sky Atlantic on Now TV: price to soar before the end of the current season of Game of Thrones

Those of us who have shelled out £4.99 this month to watch the latest seasons of Game of Thrones and Mad Men legally on Sky Atlantic via the Now TV service are to suffer a 40% price hike before the current seasons finish. Sky is whacking up the price to a ridiculous £6.99 before the end of May. Bloody hell.
The fledgling service, which, after my initial excitement has proven to be a nightly disappointment with its appalling picture quality, buffering, and service outages, is definitely getting cancelled in my household now.
And they wonder why people use bit torrent or usenet...

more info: thinkbroadband

UPDATE: this from Now TV:
Hi Everyone,
Just want to let you know that the price rise is being put on hold.  Entertainment Month Passes will continue to be £4.99 a month, and Sky Movies Month Passes will continue to be £8.99 per month.

We're in the process of updating the entire NOW TV site with this information, but it should all be correct very soon.

Now TV investment impacts Sky's results

From MediaGuardian
Growth in BSkyB's traditional satellite TV customer base has dwindled over the past few years, but investment in Now TV is starting to pay off. "We have had a strong third quarter and continued to grow at an accelerated rate as customers respond to the quality and breadth of our offering," said Darroch. 
BSkyB's pre-tax profits for the nine months to the end of March were £793m, down 17% year on year. However, much of this is due to a non-cash write-off relating to depreciation and amortisation in investments such as Now TV and advertising service Adsmart. 
Profits were also hit by the £70m investment announced to drive its connected set-top box strategy, and a one-off increase in Premier League TV rights costs. Overall BSkyB performed solidly with revenues up 6.6% in the nine months to the end of March to £5.66bn, and adjusted profits down just slightly at 2.4% to £1.2bn
So Sky has made an investment in Now TV, but is it anywhere near enough? My recent experience suggests a service that's not really reliable enough yet to unleash on consumers. It's certainly not a patch on Netflix or BBC iPlayer.