Perhaps taking some cues from their long-standing partnership with Microsoft (which ended in 2013), Nine Network’s Free to Air approach to catch-up TV is to keep things clean, clear and simple, with the focus being squarely on the shows themselves rather than the fan and viewer activity surrounding them.
9Now is pure catch-up TV with only a smattering of extra content to distract you from the reason you’re most likely visiting the site in the first place. To get your eyeballs on that episode you missed before too many people start gleefully throwing spoilers at you.
Nine Network’s approach to catch-up TV is to keep things clean, clear and simple. Photo: 9Now
That’s especially important when it comes to shows like Nine’s hugely successful Free to Air reality hits, shows that become part of water-cooler conversations at work the next day. With that in mind, Nine’s designed their catch-up service primarily around their mobile apps, which are available for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app user interface is, like the desktop site, simple and clean with the “flat” look that’s become the new go-to design style for mobile apps. Again, the focus is primarily on the shows themselves and the episodes that are available to watch.
Most shows on 9Now offer the most recent few episodes (usually up to five). Photo: 9Now
All of Nine’s channels are available to stream live on 9Now. That mean you can catch-up with GEM for general entertainment and watch shows like Ellen and Heartbeat. GO!’s target audience is a bit younger, with comedies like The Big Bang Theory leading the way. On Life you’ll find all those reality shows everyone’s talking about, like The Block and Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Last but not least, Nine itself offers a wide variety of news and sports coverage. You can watch the latest episodes of current TV shows or, in some cases, tune in to watch older ones.
Not surprisingly, 9Now is supported by advertising, which plays before each episode and during the usual commercial breaks. There are several ads during each break. Needless to say, they can’t be skipped. But you’ll still see far fewer ads here than you would have if you’d been watching the show as it went to air.
You also need to be logged in to view anything – a move that’s seems to be standard with most free to air streaming services in Australia.
Most catch-up TV services, while great on mobile devices, are less than appealing to watch on larger screens, whether it be your PC screen at home or on your TV. The big surprise with 9Now is that, when you start an episode playing in the web browser and click on the “full screen” button, the picture is crisp, clear and decidedly high definition. It’s a very welcome thing to be able to catch up with episodes of your favourite show and not have to squint to make out the most basic of details. Nine deserves high praise for this, and the shows on offer here look great even when played back on a 55” HDTV via the Apple TV app.
Nine has worked hard to improve the picture quality and streaming reliability of 9now and it’s paid off with a near-flawless service when watching your favourite series. See what shows are trending this month on 9Now.
9Now is available on a variety of devices. Photo: 9Now
While 9Now’s predecessor, 9Jumpin, wasn’t widely available, things have changed. You can watch 9Now on mobile devices, laptops, Telstra TV, Fetch TV, Google Chromecast, Apple TV (a native app on current models, or via AirPlay on the 2nd and 3rd generation devices), PlayStation 4 and select Sony and LG Smart TVs. More devices will likely be added in the near future.
|Android||KitKat 4.4 and up|
|iOS||iOS 9 and up|
|PCs and Macs||
Modern Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and Safari, and Edge Browsers
You will need to register a Nine account to watch live and catch-up TV. However, both creating the account and watching everything on offer remains free. As for data, a half hour show will use around will use approximately 300MB of data. If you watch in HD, bump that number to 500MB. Not an issue if you’re watching on Wi-Fi at home, but can be problematic when watching via mobile data when out and about. At the end of the day though, all streaming burns data, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise.
A straightforward and well-designed catch-up service for all of Nine’s shows, 9Now focuses on the shows themselves and provides on-demand streaming of them with excellent picture quality. Often better than what you’d get if you watched the shows when they aired. Supported by a modest helping of ads, it’s a well-designed service, available on a variety of devices. It’s well worth tuning in to watch your favourite Nine Network shows whenever you need them.