Sky has finally launched its expansion into the IPTV arena, NOW TV. This OTT service is aimed at households which do not already have a Sky satellite service, but want access to movies (and sport in the future) at the same time as they are available to the satellite service subscribers.
As with iTunes and the Google Play store you can rent movies, ranging from 99p for older films through to £3.49 for the latest additions to the library. Most subscribers are likely to opt for the £15 per month subscription service, which will give access to a library of 600 movies. There are more titles available, with the very latest only available to rent. This is the same model used for the Sky Anytime+ over broadband service for Sky TV customers.
The devices supported by NOW TV at launch are PC, Mac, some Android smartphones. An iOS version for the iPhone and iPad is expected in a months time, Xbox 360 during the summer and YouView once it is available to purchase. Work is ongoing to bring the service to the Sony PS3 and Roku streaming media player. We presume some Android tablets are supported, but the NOW TV website is very sparse on detail, and claims in contradiction to the press release, that the iPad is currently supported.
This move by Sky to offer a service not linked to its physical satellite TV service, is very savvy, and should help to protect the TV giant from the risk of OTT services eroding the traditional subscription TV model.
The service is believed to be just offering standard definition quality films initially, with 720p HD versions appearing in the future. A broadband service that can download at 2 Mbps will be required to stream films, once the HD version launches those wanting to watch the HD material will need a connection in the 4 Mbps to 5 Mbps speed range.