I’m a bit of an idiot sometimes.
Back in March last year, I suggested that Apple should “cancel the Apple TV”.
Picture me in a hurdle race. All fired up at the starting blocks, my eyes stare resolutely ahead, fixated on the finish line.
For me, the sprint represents my disdain for the Apple TV, and the finish line is the reward for proving why Apple needed to kill it.
Those hurdles? Pah. I can explain this, no problem. Even if, presumably, there are a few Apple TV fans out there.
This is it, I’m going to show the world why I’m so awesome.
Away I go. But not for long. Instead of cruising effortlessly to victory, I stumble over my own two feet and send myself crashing, head-first, into the first hurdle.
You see, the first sentence of my Apple TV blog post read, “I’ve just had to check Wikipedia to see which Apple TV I own”.
It was easily the most ill-informed, poorly researched blog post I’ve ever written, and having subsequently bought and fallen in love with an Apple TV, I finally understand what all the fuss was about in the comments section of that article.
However, this year, I’m a changed man; I’m really going for it with the Apple TV.
My current setup
I live in the UK, which means I have Sky TV.
There are a few outliers over here. Some people have Virgin cable, others rely solely on the built-in Freeview apps on their smart TVs. But practically everyone else and their gran has Sky.
I’m not keen on Sky at all. This is for several reasons:
- they have the most illogical, unfair, and biblically random pricing tariff in the history of the universe (which gets worse the longer you’ve been a customer);
- they’ll increase your bill at the end your fixed contract without warning;
- unless you opt for Sky Glass, the service relies on a dish being attached to the side of your house;
- their set-top box software is about as fun to use as a washing machine; and
- Sky has always invoked feelings of ‘early 90s’ and ‘Amstrad’, for me.
The Sky box is currently fed into my 4K curved TV (yes, I’m one of the three people who bought one of those), via an AV receiver. It’s joined by my aforementioned new favourite home device, the Apple TV 4K.
We currently watch a minuscule amount of terrestrial TV via the Sky box. The rest – and, indeed, the majority – of our viewing takes place on either Netflix, Apple TV+, Disney+, or Amazon Prime. As you’d guess, all of that stuff is accessed via the Apple TV.
It’s not the most convoluted of setups, granted, but it needs refining.
We don’t need Sky anymore. Its ability to record, pause, and rewind live TV is cool, but virtually pointless when the majority of stuff we watch is on-demand.
Thankfully, there’s an alternative called NOW. This is a streaming service owned by Sky which is, basically, Sky without the set-top box, recording abilities, or need for a dish.
It’s also far lighter on the wallet and nowhere near as archaic or brutally contractual as Sky’s fixed-term subscriptions.
Tellingly, NOW feels far more 2022 than 1993.
There are some downsides. Beyond the inability to record stuff, video output is limited to a maximum 1080p resolution, and 5.1 surround is only available via an upgrade known as ‘Boost’.
But we don’t watch any 4K stuff on Sky, really. Most of the films we enjoy are on Netflix or Disney+, and I gave up watching sport a long time ago.
More importantly, my Sky subscription is about £78 per month at the moment. As it stands, I can grab a three month trial of NOW with both movies and Boost included at a reduced price of just £11.98 per month (this also features streaming for up to three devices simultaneously).
Did I mention that NOW also has an Apple TV app? Well, there you go; problem solved.
Will it work?
I think it will.
Remember – this experiment is primarily about switching entirely to the Apple TV for everything entertainment related. The only missing piece of the jigsaw and thorn in my side at the moment is Sky. With that out of the picture and the Apple TV-friendly NOW streaming service in its place, all should be rosy with the world.
I’d love to hear from anyone in the UK who has made this switch. So, if you’ve dumped Sky in favour of NOW (or something else), get involved in the comments!