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Netflix versus NOW TV - how do they compare?

Netflix versus NOW TV - how do they compare?
Rob Flynn

Rob Flynn

Staff Writer

Join us as we compare two giants of the on-demand streaming world, Netflix and NOW TV to see how exactly they stack up against one another.

There are a number of popular streaming platforms available in Ireland where people can keep up to speed with the hottest and most-talked about entertainment, but chances are the first to come to mind will likely be the streaming giant Netflix.

There are many other streaming platforms where subscribers can binge box sets to their heart's content, including Amazon Prime Video and the recently launched Disney+. Check out our definitive guide to streaming platforms in Ireland for more.

One on-demand streaming platform that's really coming into its own of late and becoming more popular is NOW TV. However it's the platform that seems to elicit the most questions still from customers, many of whom will have seen the TV ads or billboards but still aren't fully sure how the platform works.  

Where Netflix is popular for both box set binging and streaming on the go, NOW TV distinguishes itself as an on-demand streaming service where subscribers can also watch live TV channels, sport, as well as on-demand content.

Below we put both Netflix and NOW TV under the bonkers.ie microscope to see how exactly the two compare and whether it's worthwhile signing up to either or both.

To find out more about the streaming platforms and how they compare just keep reading!

What is Netflix?

Netflix is an online streaming service that allows users to watch an ever-growing amount of content, including original and licensed TV shows, movies, documentaries, as well as a whole host of content for kids.

Netflix has fast become more than just an online entertainment repository where people can watch shows and movies, it’s now developing and producing its own content via its Netflix Originals wing, having previously relied upon licensing content from other studios.

What is NOW TV?

NOW TV is an online streaming service from Sky that offers contract-free online streaming of live TV and on-demand TV shows, movies and documentaries, as well as exclusive coverage of live sports from the one platform. Some of the TV channels you can stream live include the ever popular Sky Atlantic as well as Sky One, Sky Comedy and National Geographic. 

Signing up

Netflix

Signing up to Netflix is very straightforward and can be done in three steps.

  1. Create an account (email & password)
  2. Choose your monthly plan
  3. Sit back and enjoy!


NOW TV

To access NOW TV customers will also need their own user account, however, it’s slightly different to the standard monthly subscription offered by Netflix.

Customers need to choose a specific package (Entertainment, Cinema, Sport, and more) and then buy a “pass” for a fixed time depending on the package chosen.

You can choose to buy as many passes as you want.

To sign up just follow these steps:

  1. Create an account (email, password, some personal details)
  2. Choose your pass (entertainment, cinema, sport)
  3. Select the time frame (pass dependent)
  4. Sit back and enjoy!

The signup process with both streaming sites is very straightforward and as there are no contracts, it’s possible to start streaming almost immediately. You can also cancel at any time.

Pros:

Both sites make signing up relatively easy and straightforward, especially when streaming is so accessible via apps and mobile devices. It can sometimes be easier to sign up on a laptop or tablet to make filling out your details a bit easier, but both sites cater to mobile users so it’s much of a muchness.

Cons:

Signing up for NOW TV can be a bit difficult when it comes to using a laptop as you’ll need to download the NOW TV player on both Mac and Windows, and depending on how old your laptop is this could take a bit of time. Whereas with Netflix everything is playable without the need to download software online so it’s possible to just sign in to your account and away you go.

Price

Netflix is based on a monthly subscription system whereby subscribers pay a fixed amount each month for a membership plan. Each plan has added benefits the more you pay, such as being able to stream on more than one device, as well as other additional features.

Netflix has three distinct membership plans. Its entry level or basic plan starts at €7.99 per month, while the standard and premium plans are €11.99 and €15.99 respectively.

If you’re a new customer to Netflix you’ll be given a free trial for one-month, at the end of which your plan will auto-renew and you’ll be charged accordingly.

With NOW TV the price of your plan varies from pass to pass and from package to package. For a thorough look at pricing on NOW TV consult our table below.

Pass

Price

Free trial

Entertainment

€15 per month

7 days

Sky Cinema

€15 per month

7 days

Kids

€7 per month

7 days

Hayu

€6 per month

7 days

Passes for Sky Sports also differ slightly. Take a look below.

Sky Sports

Day

Week

Month

€10

€15

€23 for 6 months, €39 thereafter

Sky Sports Extra

Day

Week

Month

€10

€15

€17 for 6 months, €34 thereafter

NOW TV is currently offering both Sky Sports and Sky Sports Extra for €40 per month for the first six months. Both channels auto-renew to their original monthly price after the offer period ends, so €39 and €34 respectively.

Pros:

Netflix offers subscribers a wealth of content with over 13,000 titles and for as little as €7.99 per month - no contract, cancel at any time. It’s also beginning to focus more on developing quality original content and programming which is a bargain for potentially less than €100 a year.

While NOW TV may not have as much content as Netflix, the ability to conveniently stream live television with such ease and at a low cost is a big plus for many consumers, especially sports fans. Consumers will also like the fact you can watch some of the biggest and most exclusive TV shows on Sky Atlantic for cheap without having to sign up to a yearly TV package.

Cons:

The price of a monthly subscription with Netflix is relatively inexpensive, all things considered, but like anything, it’s imperative that you make use of it. Many people let their subscription roll over every month for convenience’s sake without having barely watched an episode or movie every 30 days. For some the ease of signing up and auto-renewing can be just as much of a con as being able to cancel whenever you want.

At the same time NOW TV can also be quite pricey, depending on the pass you choose and what you’re watching. Its Entertainment, Cinema, Kids and Hayu subscriptions all auto-renew at the end of every month so you could potentially be paying up to €43 per month with all passes, excluding sport.

What you get

Netflix

Each plan differs slightly as you go up in price with different features and benefits to match.

The change in plans is apparent when it comes to streaming quality and numbers of devices allowed to stream at any given time.

Take a look at Netflix, for example.

Basic

Standard

Premium

Monthly Price

€7.99

€11.99

€15.99

HD

x

Ultra HD

x

x

Screens

1

2

4

No matter the type of subscription chosen, customers can still cancel at any time, watch all content available, as well as stream from a TV, laptop, phone and tablet.

NOW TV

Each pass grants customers access to a vast variety of different content, ranging from exclusive live TV channels and sports to feature-length movies and box sets.

Channels/Content

Entertainment

Sky One, Sky Atlantic, Sky Witness, +300 Box Sets & more

Sky Cinema

Over 1,000 on-demand movies with new premiere daily

Kids

Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Cartoonito & more

Hayu

Over 5,000 episodes of US reality TV, KUWTK, Real Housewives

Sky Sports

Sky Sports, Football, F1, Arena, Golf, Main Event & more

Sky Sports Extra

BT Sport 1,2 & 3, BT Sport ESPN, Premier Sports 1 & 2

Pros:

As mentioned above, Netflix opens up a world of over 13,000 titles for those who subscribe, not to mention all the great Netflix Original series' available such as Stranger Things, Big Mouth, and House of Cards, to name a few. Customers availing of the Premium plan can even stream in crystal clear Ultra HD. Another great feature from Netflix is its ‘My List’ which allows you to save content you intend on watching later - it’s very handy.

When it comes to NOW TV it’s cheaper than subscribing to a more expensive television package, it requires little setup, and customers aren’t bound by any contracts. Availing of an Entertainment or a Sky Sports pass, for example, is also a fantastic way to get paid TV channels without all the drawbacks and having to spend upwards of €500 every year. You can simply dip in and dip out depending on what it is you want to watch. NOW TV also shares the personal TV preference with its ‘My TV’ function allowing you to access your watchlist and downloaded content in one easily accessible place. If you own a NOW TV remote all you have to do is hit the MY TV button and it will go directly to your watchlist.

Cons:

When it comes to streaming on NOW TV, while it’s not as straightforward as using Netflix, the user experience is still very pleasant and easy to use. One of the main drawbacks we found, however, is that consumers can’t watch content uninterrupted as on Netflix. While there aren’t strictly any ads, per se, there are still pop ups advertising new shows broadcast on Sky which can be frustrating if you simply want to watch a show through without any breaks.

Easily stream across devices

Netflix

Netflix customers can stream content on one, two, or four separate screens at any one time depending on the plan you choose.

Devices that support Netflix include any device connected to the internet that offers a Netflix app. They include:

  • Gaming consoles
  • DVD, Blu-ray players
  • Streaming media players (Chromecast, Roku)
  • Smart TVs
  • Set-top boxes (Apple TV, Virgin Media)
  • iOS & Android
  • Mac, PC & tablets

NOW TV

Customers can add up to six different devices per pass, but can only stream on two devices at the same time. You can change devices linked to your pass and are allowed three per month.

Customers can also download shows and movies on their mobile device to watch while on the go.

Streaming on NOW TV is supported across:

  • Smart TVs (Samsung/LG)
  • Straming media players (Roku, Chromecast)
  • PS4
  • Xbox One
  • Apple TV
  • iOS & Android
  • Mac, PC & tablets

Streaming has truly never been easier with the proliferation of mobile and wireless devices and the good news is that both sites cater to pretty much every single one.

Worth mentioning is that NOW TV has its very own 'Smart Stick' which plugs into your television and enables customers to watch their passes with the remote that's provided. It can also use voice search to browse which is a really cool feature and can be surprisingly useful.

Kids Viewing

Netflix

Netflix has its very own children’s profile built in when you sign up. Parents can always choose to set up personalised profiles for kids so that they can save the films and TV shows that they want to watch.

All of the content categories are more specially crafted to suit a younger audience with genres ranging from Action and Princess tales to feel good and trucks and trains.

NOW TV

Among the plentiful content options that NOW TV provides, parents also has the option of purchasing a Kids pass for €7 per month which comes with a 7 day free trial at the beginning.

As can be seen in our table above the Kids pass includes access to shows from the likes of Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network with plenty available to suit all age groups.

Pros:

Perhaps the best thing about the kids content available on both Netflix and NOW TV is the parental controls available to parents to help keep their children entertained, but safe. On Netflix parents and guardians can create profiles with a specific maturity rating, blocking content above a certain age and can even turn autoplay on and off - which even comes in handy for adult profiles.

While age-rating features are still available with NOW TV its controls are slightly different in that they have a useful screen lock feature. This allows parents to control the show being played so kids can’t start watching something else unsupervised. It also has an exit confirmation which acts as another layer of security.

Cons:

Perhaps one of the most stand-out points to make is that a Kids pass on NOW TV is almost as expensive as the most basic Netflix subscription and has less content when it comes to movies and shows. Despite being as easily accessible as Netflix’s kids account and having similar parental controls, it’s really only worth subscribing to if you either don’t already have a Netflix subscription or if there’s something very specific your kids would like to watch. That being said, it can be very handy for those who don’t yet subscribe to a content streaming website and who simply want to keep the kids happy.

The verdict

When it comes to subscribing to either Netflix or NOW TV it can be tricky to decide between the two as both streaming services share a lot of characteristics, such as being relatively inexpensive, easily accessible and streamable across multiple devices, and of course having some of the best TV shows and movies ever made.

However, it all really depends on what you want to watch and when. Netflix’s streaming platform caters to both casual viewers and those who come for specific content. Subscribers have the ability to watch everything from entertainment and movies, some reality TV, and even children's TV all under the one plan. However, the option of live TV isn’t available yet.

While Netflix’s catalogue is much more substantial and varied, it’s beginning to focus more on developing original content so will continue to draw a consistent following for that reason, not to mention those who choose to auto-renew monthly for convenience's sake. Netflix can also be easier for those with small children, with a wealth of great content for all the family to enjoy. And with its entry level plan starting at only €7.99 per month consumers can’t go too far wrong with all that great content so easily streamable.

On the other hand, with NOW TV consumers opt to buy individual ‘passes’ depending on the type of content or shows they’d like to watch. From this perspective, however, NOW TV could potentially be more expensive for consumers in the long run, in comparison to Netflix’s fixed charge per month for access to its entire content catalogue for kids and adults alike. NOW TV also tends to be more niche in terms of its subscriber base with many of those who choose to subscribe doing so to watch content that’s unavailable anywhere else, such as shows on Sky Atlantic, or reality TV with Hayu.

NOW TV really differentiates itself from Netflix when it comes to access to live sports. With NOW TV sports fans can sign up to any one of its daily, weekly or monthly passes to Sky Sports or Sky Sports Extra. It’s daily pass for €10, or even its weekly pass for €15 can be invaluable for people who only want to watch a particular match or tournament on any given day. It’s also currently offering access to both Sky Sports and Sky Sports Extra, which includes all BT Sports channels, for as little as €40 per month for the first six months, giving customers access to all the remaining Premier League games.

While there are clear advantages to a subscription with both services, it’s well worth taking the time to avail of the free trial period with both. Netflix offers a one-month free trial, whereas it’s only seven days with most NOW TV passes, although it’s still possible to try one of the other passes via MyAccount if you’re already a customer.

If you’re considering taking advantage of a free trial consumers should remember that plans auto-renew at the end of every month so be mindful of cancelling before the end of your trial if you want to avoid being charged.

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