From tomorrow you can watch Sky Movies without a dish or Sky contract, as Now TV begins streaming movies and TV to almost any gadget with an Internet connection.
Now TV offers Sky programmes and movies online. It has a different name so that customers don't start thinking of it as cheapo Sky. At first, Now TV will let you rent movies, for a price between 99p and £3.50, or watch as many as you like with a Sky Movies Pass subscription costing £15 per month. You can watch on your computer, tablet, phone, Smart TV or YouView box.
It's also coming to Xbox 360 and PS3 games consoles and Roku streaming boxes soon. For now, it's all movies, but Sky Sports, including Premier League footie and England Test Cricket, follow before the end of the year. Other Sky channels including Sky Atlantic will come later.
Sky has a stranglehold on new films, bagging the exclusive rights to show them on TV before they're released to competitors. For movie buffs Sky Movies is the only game in town, as it takes a while for new releases to arrive on other services like Netflix and Lovefilm -- and there's no guarantee they'll be available there at all.
Now TV is an alternative to the weighty commitment that is a Sky Movies contract, so you can finally see these new movies without a dish on your house or an onerous contract.
That's the theory, anyway. In fact, Now TV is far from a cheap alternative. After a free 30-day trial, a subscription costs £15 per month -- three times the cost of Netflix and Lovefilm's streaming services. But it's still much less than the cost of getting the full Sky Movies package through a dish, which can cost around £40, plus line rental.
For that much money you can expect a decent range of films you can't see anywhere else, right? The movies highlighted by Sky at launch include We Bought a Zoo, The Woman in Black, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, This Means War, and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. But Woman in Black and Ghost Rider are available to stream on LoveFilm.
Analyst Ed Barton of Strategy Analytics told us that Now TV is entering what is still a relatively small market, but one that's set to grow to be worth half a billion dollars by the end of the year, so the priority for now is to build awareness. Thanks to Now TV, Internet connected devices -- such as TVs, consoles and tablets -- which once constituted threats, have become opportunities for Sky.
Is Now TV good value? Will you sign up to the service for the movies, or will the sports tempt you later? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.