AFTER MONTHS of teases, Sky has officially launched its tie-up with Netflix, bringing together two of Britain's biggest streaming libraries under a single remote controller.
Users can now opt to have their subscription handled directly through the Sky "Ultimate Streaming" package, which includes Netflix for a flat fee of £10 per month, with the terms of the package depending on the rest of your bundles.
The top tier, which offers 4 screens of Netflix and UHD is available to Sky Q customers with two additional boxes (the "silver" bundle). Lower packages get either a smaller number of screens or no UHD.
Existing customers can transfer their Netflix account to Sky and will be charged in a single payment.
But in an age where most of us have Netflix another way, is it worth it?
We can't really comment on the set-up as we had quite a lot of help from Sky, but if you're not a tech publication, you should be able to do it either by the Sky website, My Sky app or through the remote.
Once you are up and running the first thing you'll notice is some Netflix tiles appear in your home screen.
Clicking on any of them launches the Netflix app, exactly as you know it, right down to letting you pick who is watching.
And herein lies the rub. If you were expecting the same level of integration as the likes of BBC iPlayer and All4, you're going to be disappointed. All of these services download to your box, something that caused lengthy delays in rolling out BBC iPlayer back in the day.
Netflix is a streaming only site, and as such, a virtual arms length has been kept. Like Spotify which launched earlier in the year, this is actually an app. When you're in the Netflix ‘experience' you're removed from the main Sky UI.
Once you're in the Netflix UI, navigation is exactly as normal, which is pleasing, and the app is responsive, sometimes more than the Sky Q menus.
Watch away, or once you're done you have to Exit Netflix to go to any other service.
And that's where it gets a bit clunky. Yes, the versions of BBC iPlayer and All4 are cut down compared to other platforms (no Community box set for example) but at least they're fully integrated.
Despite Idris Elba telling us that he can swap between a Sky show and a Netflix show and back, in reality, it's a less elegant, clunky bolt-on.
But it's Netflix on your Sky box. And it's significantly better than, say, not having Netflix on your Sky box.
It's a lot less messing about with HDMI inputs, Roku devices, Casting, button pressing, and remotes, not to mention a single bill.
That said, in that sense it's not much different to the app based solution offered by Sky subsiduary Now TV.
Is it the integration we hoped for? Perhaps not, but maybe our expectations were too high, because at the end of the day, it's Sky and Netflix together, and whatever way that's been realised is probably fine with us.
Now, let's get Amazon Video sorted, too eh? μ
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