I was an advocate of Sky’s Now TV service from day one. As a Sky customer paying £21.50 a month for its basic ‘Original’ TV package (formerly known as the ‘Entertainment pack’), upgrading to movies or sport would cost me an extra £16 or £22 a month respectively.
But using Now TV for Sky Movies only costs £8.99 a month or £108 a year instead of £192. Similarly, with two children and a football-sceptic partner, it wouldn't make much sense paying £264 a year to upgrade to a full Sky Sports subscription, but buying the odd Sky Sports day pass on Now TV to watch my team – Crystal Palace – play the occasional game costs £9.99.
In both cases, Now TV allows me to save money yet still access the full range of Sky Movies and the odd Premiership game or two.
For six months or so all of this worked like a dream. But then Now TV began having problems.
On 27 April there were two big Premier League games on the same day: Liverpool vs. Chelsea and Crystal Palace vs. Manchester City. I paid £9.99 for a day pass to Sky Sports and settled in to watch both games, one a potential league decider, the other my own team.
Halfway through the first game Now TV simply crashed, never to come back. I checked my internet and all was fine. By the time the second game was about to begin my mood had turned from one of frustration to anger – I’d paid the best part of £10 and was about to miss my team’s match.
Logging-on to the Now TV forums, I found hundreds of people in a similar boat, all lambasting Now TV’s creaky service and citing many instances of it crashing previously. In the end I had to go to the pub to watch the Palace game, spending more money in the process.
Of course, I got a refund from Now TV, but that’s not the point. When I pay my money I want a reliable service. In disgust, I immediately cancelled my £8.99 monthly subscription to the movies, and vowed to think twice about relying on Now TV for another day of Premier League action.
So the news that its service crashed again on the final day of the Premier League season did not surprise me.
More and more households are getting fibre broadband installed in their homes and more and more people are relying on ‘streaming’ services to enjoy entertainment in their homes. But while broadband services may well be improving all the time, we are being let down by entertainment providers who simply cannot deliver a faultless service.
I have heard many anecdotal reports of Netflix’s service not always being up to scratch, while the problems at Now TV are becoming increasingly obvious.
These firms must do better if they want to retain customers. If you do not experience a good service, do what I’ve done and cancel. They’ll soon get the message.