Am I dreaming? Is this real? Now TV, Sky's answer to contract-free on demand streaming, forever plagued by an image quality capped at 720p, is finally getting 1080p. You better believe it... but it sounds like you're possibly going to have to pay extra for it.
It's definitely great news for current subscribers, especially following complaints about Game of Thrones' episode three being too dark and low quality to see. Part of those complaints came from the fact that the sources viewers were watching from weren't streaming the episode at a high enough bit rate, with a high enough resolution. Anyone watching on Now TV – including yours truly – were stuck with a 720p stream that really didn't do the Battle of Winterfell much justice.
A 1080p service – which will be available on both live TV and on-demand catch-up and box set content – is currently being trialled (meaning some lucky devils are presumably already basking in crisp full HD), with the service being rolled out "later this year". The interesting caveat here, though, is that Sky is referring to the upcoming 1080p as a "streaming option". It could simply mean that all users will be able to choose the quality of their stream (if data usage and bandwidth is an issue, for instance). Or it could mean that full HD will become available as a separate, more expensive, package. Sky hasn't revealed any further details other than the fact that it's coming before the end of the year.
But as annoying as it will be if we end up having to pay a premium to enjoy full HD content, it's a small price to pay. In the age of 4K and 8K TVs, offering a maximum of 720p is severely lacking. A few extra quid is worth it if it means we can finally see who is stabbing who in that big, cold battle. [Pocket-lint]