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Dave, Really and Yesterday come to Now TV and Roku

On-demand content from the UKTV stable is arriving on Now TV and Roku devices, giving owners access to the likes of Taskmaster, Most Haunted and Yianni: Supercar Customiser as well as previews of new and upcoming shows on Dave. Exclusive previews that’ll be available online before they hit the airwaves include episodes of Dara O Briain’s Go 8 Bit and Cop Car Workshop, a new original documentary series offering a behind the scenes look at one of the UK’s leading police car workshops, while classic shows like Red Dwarf and Have I Got News For You will be available to stream on demand as usual. The UKTV Play app will be automatically pushed out to new Now TV Boxes and Smart Sticks from tomorrow, or it can be downloaded from the App Store now.

Roku users can add UKTV Play from the Film & TV category in the Roku Channel Store. The app is already available on YouView set-top boxes and TVs as well as Amazon’s Fire TV platform, and there are along iOS and Android apps, which let you stream over WiFi or cellular, provided you’ve got enough data. Gidon Katz, managing director of Now TV, said: “When it comes to great TV, we know choice and flexibility matters, so we’re really excited to be welcoming the free UKTV Play app onto our family of streaming devices.

Let the binging on Taskmaster and Most Haunted commence!” Roku’s director of content distribution Ingo Reese added: “Our aim is to provide our users with the best possible content line-up and easy access to the shows they love. With UKTV Play launching on Roku streaming players, we add another great option to our free-to-watch offering with top-notch content.”

The UKTV Play app hosts shows from UKTV channels Dave, Yesterday, Really and Drama including exclusive UKTV Originals and thousands of hours from the network’s extensive archive. Richard Williams, general manager for UKTV Play, revealed that last year, the on demand platform racked up 100 million views. While on the surface that doesn’t compare that well with the 272 million monthly requests racked up by BBC iPlayer in 2017, UKTV is spending around GBP150m, a year on original content; the BBC’s total TV content spend for 2017-18 is GBP1.6bn.

UKTV is 50/50 owned by BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, and Scripps Network, which was acquired by Discovery last year for £14.6bn (GBP10.5bn).

Now TV is owned by Sky and offers a way for people who don’t want a full pay TV service to get a taste of the Sky experience.

Sky also owns a stake in Roku, whose hardware often forms the basis of Now TVs own mini streamers.

Brits waste 3.4GB of data a month: how to avoid overpaying

Mobile phone users across the country are paying for data they’ll never use, according to a uSwitch study on phone bills. Figures collected by uSwitch show that the average UK mobile phone owner pays for 3.4GB of extra data every month – that’s data you don’t need. See below for more on the study and take a look at our top tips on how to avoid bill shock.

Best mobile phone networks[1] – our verdict on the biggest providers.

Are you paying for data that you don’t use?

A fear of exceeding data limits has seen phone users buying contracts that offer more data than they need. According to uSwitch, mobile customers in the UK are collectively paying for a whopping 143 million gigabytes of unused data each month. The same study says that one in five smartphone users don’t know how much data comes included in their contact, while a third of over-55s with a monthly plan don’t know how much data they’re using.

But it’s not just older smartphone users that aren’t fully clued up. uSwitch says that the average 18- to 34-year-old pays for 7.5GB of data every month but uses less than half of that (3.6GB).

Which? members on mobile data

The uSwitch findings reflect our own. We surveyed over 1,000 Which? members on mobile data to see what they knew about their phone contracts.

32% of the people we spoke to didn’t know how to keep track of their mobile data at all, and 71% of respondents admitted they didn’t know the cost of using data outside of their monthly allowance. In addition, 50% said they were concerned about receiving an unexpectedly high bill each month, and nearly a third were concerned about exceeding their bundle.

To prevent this from happening, Which? readers are going to some lengths to avoid ‘bill shock’.

Using wi-fi for calls and internet browsing is the most popular solution to avoiding bill shock, with 57% of the votes. But while this can be a good habit to get into, it’s not a great way to make the most of your mobile phone.

41% of Which? members took the more extreme route of turning mobile data off completely, while 26% prefer to stick to landline calls and 10% admitted to turning their phone off completely. One of the biggest benefits of mobile phones is their versatility, something that’s being curtailed by a fear of overpaying.

But if you’re tracking your data usage on a regular basis from your smartphone, you needn’t be concerned.

How to keep track of your data and minutes

The uSwitch survey suggests that erring on the side of caution – that is, opting for more data than you might need – is a safer proposition. But when we asked Which? readers why they hadn’t increased their contracted package, a substantial 63% said they didn’t want to increase the size of their bill. Combined with an effective way to monitor mobile data usage, this could be the best approach.

Armed with that information, you can find a mobile contract that suits you perfectly and saves you money. After all, you don’t want to be spending big on a contract that offers far more than you need it to. Our guide on how to keep track of your data and minutes[2] tells you everything you need to know.

Are you better off with a different provider?

If you’re already adept at keeping track of your usage but still find it a struggle to manage your bills, you might be better off haggling or even switching provider.

Our recent research into customer loyalty found that two thirds of hagglers received a discount on their bill, amounting to GBP6 per month, on average. It’s especially important to haggle if your initial contract period is up: since you’ve paid off your handset at this stage, a monthly bill for usage should be considerably less. Our guide on how to haggle for the best mobile phone deal[3] can help.

If haggling doesn’t work, it might be time to switch.

There’s often little benefit to loyalty when it comes to providers, so it’s important to shop around to make sure you’re getting a deal that’s good value and well suited to your needs.

Our mobile provider reviews[4] can reveal important factors such as value for money, but also customer service, how easy they are to contact and additional incentives.

References

  1. ^ Best mobile phone networks (www.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ how to keep track of your data and minutes (www.which.co.uk)
  3. ^ how to haggle for the best mobile phone deal (www.which.co.uk)
  4. ^ mobile provider reviews (www.which.co.uk)

Apple HomePod: the best-sounding smart speaker yet?

One of the biggest wireless speaker releases of the year, the Apple HomePod is Apple’s first ever smart speaker and is likely to make a big impact on the market. It aims to raise the bar for the sound quality to expect from a compact wireless speaker and leave its rivals in the dust. Unlike competitor smart speakers from Amazon and Google with the Amazon Echo (2nd Gen)[1] and Google Home[2], Apple is touting the HomePod as a music player first and foremost and a voice assistant second.

Best Buy wireless and Bluetooth speakers[3] – see what the HomePod is up against. To achieve this ambition, internally it has seven tweeters for producing higher-frequency sounds, compared to just one on the Amazon Echo (2nd Gen) and Google Home. Like the Sonos One[4], it also optimises the sound it produces to match the shape of the room it’s in.

This means that in theory it attempts to distribute its sound evenly throughout – regardless of any odd-shaped corners in your room. The typical Apple build quality is on show here but, unusually, this is an exceptionally heavy speaker for its size at 2.5kg, making it rather like a shot put to lug around your home. What’s more, unfortunate early adopters have discovered that the silicone base of the heavy speaker can leave white marks on your home’s pristine wooden surfaces, which can be difficult to remove.

Apple has acknowledged the issue, giving recommendations on what to do[5] if this happens to you. Having a silicone base can help further improve sound – you can read our impressions on whether it’s worth it for the inconvenience, or whether its sound quality doesn’t make the grade regardless, in our HomePod first look review[6].

HomePod limitations

Earlier this month we also highlighted the significant limitations of the HomePod[7]. For example, Android smartphone users will have to look elsewhere, as you need an Apple device (newer iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch) to set it up.

In addition, the only music service natively supported by the speaker is Apple Music. There’s no direct support for popular alternatives such as Spotify. The only way you can access these is through AirPlay, so if you use other music streaming services such as Spotify, Tidal, Deezer or Amazon Music, see our recommendations[8] for alternatives to the HomePod.

In terms of smart functionality, Apple buries this quite far down in its list of what the HomePod can do. We get to the bottom of why this could be in our first look review. In the HomePod, Apple’s voice assistant Siri, which allows you to control your speaker with your voice and make additional commands such as asking it what the weather will be like, is competing directly with Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Google Assistant.

Siri can perform a variety of tasks when you ask it to, such as read you text messages, add reminders for things to do later and create notes on your Apple device.

However, with Apple wanting to focus on the sound quality and the HomePod having been delayed beyond its original December launch date, we wanted to find out whether Siri can match the functionality of Alexa and Google Assistant.

To read all about this and our full first impressions of the HomePod’s sound quality, visit our Apple HomePod first look review[9].

References

  1. ^ Amazon Echo (2nd Gen) (www.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ Google Home (www.which.co.uk)
  3. ^ Best Buy wireless and Bluetooth speakers (www.which.co.uk)
  4. ^ Sonos One (www.which.co.uk)
  5. ^ recommendations on what to do (support.apple.com)
  6. ^ HomePod first look review (www.which.co.uk)
  7. ^ limitations of the HomePod (www.which.co.uk)
  8. ^ our recommendations (www.which.co.uk)
  9. ^ Apple HomePod first look review (www.which.co.uk)

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