Cutting the cord got a genuine step closer with the arrival of a la carte premium TV content on the British Apple TV.
UK Apple TV owners should be seeing a new channel today, with Sky bringing it's online broadcasting platform, Now TV, to Apple's set top box. This is the first instance of a UK domestic provider bringing premium TV content to the Apple TV, and follows on from Sky News appearing earlier this year in a previous update. Not everyone will be familiar with Now TV, so here's what it means now, and for the future for UK Apple TV owners.
Simply put, the door to cutting the cord is now ajar.
What is Now TV?
Sky provides premium pay TV services by way of satellite, but Now TV is an online only affair. It uses the Internet to deliver some of Sky's premium channels such as movies and sport without the requirement for an ongoing monthly subscription to a package. You're able to get just movies, or just sports, without the hassle of a contract or paying for things you don't want.
Now TV has it's own set top box, available for just £10, that is essentially a stripped back Roku box that also offers some of the content from the Roku store. But you can also make use of the service from your iPhone or iPad with the official iOS app.
Currently, Sky Sports – the only available package on the Apple TV – is available for £9.99 for a 24 hour pass. Away from the Apple TV, Movies costs £8.99 per month and Entertainment costs £5.99 a month, without a contract.
What does it mean for the Apple TV in the UK right now?
Simply put, the first domestic premium TV content. But, because of the subscription model for Now TV, you're not required to be a Sky subscriber to watch.
That's important to note, because it differs from the way our American friends get their premium TV content through Apple TV. Apps such as HBO Go still require you to be a HBO subscriber to get at the content. So it's not detaching from the Cable TV model in the slightest.
In effect, Now TV offers Apple TV owners in the UK the first example of something we've craved; a la carte premium TV content subscription. Right now, we're only getting Sky Sports which costs £9.99 for 24 hours – and yes, that is a lot – but it opens the door for the future
So what about the future then?
Having Sky TV on board with a premium offering leaves plenty of room for speculation, but also for delivery. On its own Now TV box, Sky TV offers a subscription model for its own Sky Movies channels. The first thought would be that Sky could soon add this to the Apple TV, offering another competing product to iTunes and Netflix. All without needing to be a Sky TV subscriber.
Now TV also offers an entertainment package that includes channels such as Sky Atlantic, Sky 1 and Sky Living, and again, it's not unfeasible that these too could soon find their way into the Apple TV. Sky has the content and the distribution model, and now has one foot in the Apple TV door.
The bottom line
Initially, the offering is limited and expensive, but it's a step forwards for the Apple TV on British shores. Premium TV content but without the need for a cable or satellite subscription is something we all dream of; getting just what we want, paying for that and getting it on our Apple TV to boot. Sky Sports may cost £9.99 a day, but for that odd Premier League football game your team features in on Sky Sports it's a lot less to pay than the subscription rates.
I'm looking forward to see where Sky takes this, and hopefully the full Now TV offering isn't far behind. Because having it on the Apple TV would make that little black box one positive step towards finally cutting the cord.
So, are you excited to see this, or rather waiting in anticipation to see where it leads? What else are you desparately wanting on your Apple TV? Sound off in the comments below!