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Netflix vs NOW TV: Best UK Streaming Option?

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Sky is feeling the pressure from smaller, more cost-effective solutions like Netflix and Amazon. In order to maintain its stranglehold over the UK market it needs to, obviously, retain its exclusive hold on sports but also develop new and exciting products like Sky Q. For a full break down of the new service, be sure to check out our Sky Q All You Need To Know piece. 

Now TV represents a shift in sands for VOD and how Netflix responds to the rise of the service in the UK will be very telling about the company’s future. Could Netflix ever get the Super Bowl, for instance? It doesn’t seem likely now, not with the amount of ad money made from such events by networks and the NFL. Still, by 2016, half of all television will be delivered via the Internet, according to a report from Hastings. 

Now TV is a slightly more agressive, forward-looking venture from Sky which looks to do everything Netflix currently does, just with the added bonus of easy access to Sky’s untouchable array of sports and film content.

Here we’ll take a look at the two service to see how they compare.

NOW TV vs Netflix: Devices

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Video streaming has a ton of benefits over DVDs besides not having to walk anywhere to rent a movie. In addition to on-demand viewing and the ability to create watch lists, video streaming services are available on multiple devices and platforms–something the DVD movie could never do. But how do the device availabilities of Netflix and Now TV compare?

Here’s the devices Netflix is available on: PC and Macs via the web browser, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U, Wii, myriad Smart TVs, many Blu-Ray players, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, WD TV media player, Chromecast; Android, iOS, and Windows Phone devices; YouView boxes, and many other third-party boxes.[[{“type”:”media”,”view_mode”:”content_full_width”,”fid”:”35008″,”attributes”:{“alt”:””,”class”:”media-image”,”height”:”398″,”style”:”font-size: 0.8125em;”,”width”:”620″}}]]

Here’s the devices Now TV is available on: PC and Macs via the web browser, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, some Smart TVs from LG, Roku, Chromecast, YouView, and Android and iOS.

As you can see Netflix is available on a lot more devices. But the one thing about Netflix is that it doesn’t make its own box. That could be a drawback for some who don’t own a smart TV or another company’s digital media player. Now TV, on the other hand, does make its own box, appropriately called the NOW TV Box. It’s actually a repurposed Roku digital media player painted white and it also offers other channels besides Now TV channels, including BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, All 4, Demand 5, Sky News, BBC News, YouTube, Facebook and Spotify.

The Now TV box also only costs £14.99, so if you don’t already have a smart TV or a digital media player it’s a great, cheap option to add smart content to your TV.

NOW TV vs Netflix: Cost

When looking at either service, cost is tricky because both Netflix and Now TV offer multiple cost tiers.

Let’s start with Netflix: The company offers Basic (£5.99/mo), Standard (£6.99/mo), and Premium (£8.99/mo) plans. All plans give you access to the same content and devices. The Basic plan might look like a great option because of its price, but the thing that sucks about it is you don’t get HD video–everything is in standard definition, making it a non-starter for most people. With the basic plan you can only watch on one screen at the same time too. The Standard plan gives you HD content and allows you to watch on 2 screens at the same time, and the Premium plan gives you Ultra HD (4k) video and allows you to watch on 4 screens at the same time.

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Now TV’s plans are a bit different—and complicated. They offer four plans, but each plan offers different content. You can buy one plan or all four: Kids, Sport, Movies and Entertainment. The Sky Movies Month Pass costs £9.99 a month and and gives you access to all of the Sky Movies channels and their content both live as they’re shown on TV and on demand at any time. The Now TV Entertainment Pass costs £6.99 Now TV Entertainment Month Pass and gives you access to Sky 1 and Sky Atlantic, which offers shows such as Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire and Mad Men. The Sky Sports Day Pass costs £6.99 for every 24 hours you use it and gives you access to all 7 Sky Sports channels. You can also pay £10.99 for a week’s pass. They also offer a Sky Sports Month Pass for £31.99.

So looking at the most expensive plans, Netflix will cost you up to £8.99 a month and Now TV will cost you £9.99 a month for movies, £6.99 a month for TV shows, and £6.99 a day or £10.99 a week or £31.99 a month for sports.

You can pick up a Sky NOW TV box for under 20 quid via Amazon 

NOW TV vs Netflix: Content

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Of course those pricing plans aren’t an apples-for-apples comparison because the content each service offers varies widely. First, Now TV not only offers streamed movies and TV shows, it offers live TV and sports. But even if we’re just talking TV shows and films, the content each service provides is radically different. For instance, Netflix’s offerings include House of Cards, Orange Is The New Black, and Marvel’s Daredevil, Jessica Jone, and the upcoming Luke Cage and Defenders series. It also offers a great selection of regular TV series. But what it has in television shows Netflix (in the UK anyway) generally has a lack of quality movies.

Netflix’s movies offering are sub-par in part thanks to the exclusive deals Sky has long had in place with the movie studios. Now TV offers over 1000 big releases and adds over 16 new, current releases a month. For example, it’s already got Fast & Furious 7 and Avengers Age of Ultron where Netflix won’t have those films for years. And Now TV does also give you access to HBO shows like Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, The Walking Dead, and Mad Men. However, besides those hit TV shows, Netflix still generally has the better offering of television series.

NOW TV vs Netflix: Verdict

Which service you should get depends entirely on your tastes. Are you a movie buff? Then Now TV has the better offerings. But if you like a range of television shows, Netflix is the winner. Then again, the limited TV shows Now TV offers also generally includes more hits like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead.

The good news is if you have a device which supports both streaming services, such as an Apple TV or an Xbox, you can always cancel your plan on one and switch to the other. Neither service locks you into an annual contract and each allows you to cancel after the current month ends.

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