As the name suggests, Now TV channels are delivered via broadband Internet connection – if you subscribe, pccw supply a small box to transfer signals to your tv. Strong picture quality and sound: better than quality of terrestrial channels at my place; though also prone to halting during thunderstorms, as my broadband connection then stops n starts.
When I first subscribed, I thought broadband tv very futuristic. But after I experienced DVR set top box in UK, it seemed rather outmoded, chiefly as don’t have recording function (not sure if there’s now limited recording). TV schedules info is pretty poor – notably as only shows for current day, so as midnight approaches, can’t see what’s on next. Perhaps reflects PCCW top management not really caring about customers, or not being too bothered about competition outside occasional bidding contests over rights to UK soccer (which lately went to Wharf Cable).
- And since I wrote this, cancelled Now TV; just poor service for English language customers in HK I believe. Now, mainly watching Netflix; plus some BBC iPlayer and more via VPN.
So, this below is history, a snapshot of a time gone by; only updating page a tiny bit as HBO Asia link seems dead:
We tend to get programmes shown months or years after they were first aired in US/UK – which doesn’t stop announcers excitedly referring to “All-new” episodes, never mind if they’ve been aired months ago in Hong Kong (even a year and more ago overseas). Among the more extreme examples: Star TV airing the “all new” episodes of first season of Prison Break – with guys in jail, closely followed by TVP Pearl showing season two, with guys on the lam.
Overall – movie selections tend to be feeble, can be strong documentaries inc docu-dramas, and mixed bag of “entertainment” shows, with some strong series but fair bit of dross, and excessive repeats that are repeated, repeated again, and then aired one more time just so the broadcasters get their money’s worth. Though I expect the broadcasters would respond that the money is small, especially for English language programmes in Hong Kong.
Now Broadband TV English channels
The BBC’s kids’ channel is strong, with shows for young children such as Teletubbies, Bill and Ben (yay! – Hello Little Weed!, tho not the same as when I was a kid), Big Cook, Little Cook (“We’ve got the campest kitchen in town!”). Not too long between repeats, though, with rather limited selection of shows.
Disney/ Disney Junior
The main Disney channel is for kids up to teenagers. Disney Junior for younger kids, with shows from US – such as, of course, Mickey Mouse; plus a few from UK, like Bob the Builder, and Chuggington.
[I haven’t seen Baby TV; even the ads make me feel a bit bilious; and my lad’s just that bit old for it. I never really thought too highly of things like Baby Einstein, anyway.]
Seems to be action-oriented, inc shows with guys fighting or pretending to fight (wrestling type stuff), cars zooming about, people doing barmy things in Fear Factor. A few good series – such as [in past] CSI (all three of em), House; more lately the Blacklist. Also shows the Amazing Race; and the feebler Amazing Race Asia. Seems to have gone downhill; maybe outbid for prime series by other channels.
Related to AXN; some dramas, some cookery shows.
BBC Entertainment – Deceased
Was called BBC Prime – though I rather figured BBC Past Its Prime might be better, as almost no new shows, and plenty from the past; despite the name change, this remains the case. Prone to abundant repeats: if you haven’t seen Absolutely Fabulous, Doctor Who by now, watch BBC Entertainment for a while, and you’ll likely soon find them. Classic comedy reruns welcome, such as Fawlty Towers, Allo Allo.
Catherine Tate among best comedies around at the moment. Also some good dramas, such as Waking the Dead, Spooks.
BUT got killed off at end of 2016; leaving just dramas to find on demand, via BBC First.
The Fox channel arrived in spring 2010, with a variety of entertainment fare.
Had a strong line up of crime shows, until arrival of the main Fox channel, which promptly grabbed various new and popular crime drama; since then dominated by reruns, such as CSI, plus a few fly-on-the-wall documentaries following female cops around or whatever. I was so disgusted by the change, I complained to Now TV, and they agreed to cancelling channel without need for me to continue paying for it.
Burst on the scene in summer 2011, with very strong line-up of dramas, plus movies. Dramas included Fringe, Southland, Nikita, Smallville, Person of Interest. Since seemed to have strong focus on cartoon comics worlds, with superheroes, prelude to Batman [Gotham]…
Whether coincidence or not, shortly after arrival, Fox began major advertising campaign telling us how popular it is – not just for Fox branded channels, but others too like Star World, and National Geographic.
Website: WarnerTV Asia.
Movie [and Entertainment] Channels
HBO, HBO Hits, HBO Family, HBO Signature and Cinemax
A set of channels from Home Box Office. Tend to show uninspiring selection of movies – box office successes, perhaps, but rarely real interesting films, and little that’s quirky (Being John Malkovich type, say). Instead, you’re liable to find someone like Bruce Willis running around shooting guns, or some boys from da hood up to no good, fast cars racing around, and so on.
Yes, get rather “softer” movies on HBO Family, tho even here I’ve seen odd choices for kids. HBO Signature is supposedly for adults, but nothing too titillating when I’ve bothered checking. HBO Hits sometimes has movies that seem to were not remotely hits.
BUT – yes, big but – the HBO dramas are indeed often quirky, and can be superb. The Sopranos, Deadwood, Carnivale, Six Feet Under, Rome, the Wire, True Blood, Entourage… All on HBO/HBO Signature. As with the beeb, may have to wait – and even wait a long time – before these make it here from the US.
Long time no update, and brief here, just mentioning a series you just may have heard of: Game of Thrones. I also liked Deadwood.
Website [link dead in Feb 2023]
Another movie channel. Movies much as on HBO channels: ie, pretty sorry selection.
Maybe better placed in Entertainment, as seems to often show tv series rather than movies. Including Stargate, Ghost Whisperer, and Battlestar Galactica.
Discovery; Animal Planet; Discovery Science; Discovery Turbo; Home and Health; Travel and Living; Discovery HD World
A suite of channels from Discovery.
As you’d guess, Discovery is the prime channel, with a variety of documentaries.
Animal Planet also strong – mostly nature documentaries, a few covering captive animals (such as following US teams who’re like animal cruelty cops). Not really a channel for wildllife lovers: fond of cheap thrillls, like animals attacking people – yet not much of people attacking animals, which is far far more common.
Discovery Science often covers technology rather than science, maybe looking at planes or whatever. Some good shows, inc on fossils, but seems they’re often dated.
Discovery Turbo is for guys. Lots of car shows, some verging on Top Gear wannabes.
Home and Health is more a women’s channel. Getting along with spouses, giving birth, raising babies, fashion tips and so on.
Discovery HD World has shows in HD.
Website: Discovery Asia.
National Geographic, National Geographic Wild
Three channels from National Geographic.
Rather as with Discovery, the main channel – National Geographic – seems to have the key documentaries, covering wide range.
National Geographic Wild is indeed about wildlife, and people involved in wildlife and conservation. Like Discovery docs, strong emphasis on guys running about catching deadly snakes and the like.
Nat Geo Adventure is focused on adventure travel. At times look more amateurish than documentaries on main channel, but are people going to limits – running across deserts, climbing vast remote cliffs.
BBC: BBC Knowledge and BBC Lifestyle
Two channels from the BBC.
As you’d guess, Knowledge mainly includes documentaries, several of which are top-notch. Though also some reality shows. Top Gear shown, too: more entertainment than documentary.
Lifestyle has programmes as you may guess, inc on how to look younger, dress better…
Though the name suggests this might be dominated by pontificating professors in blazers, it can be a lotmore entertaining than several of the “entertainment” channels, inc as sometimes has shows with dramatisations of history.
ESPN Star Sports Cricket Live
The channel is primarily aimed at India – so get adverts for India. Commentary ok: I think as tends to be per Sky TV in UK. But pricey, esp given that simply carries feeds from elsewhere, with repetitive music and uninformative text between this.
By no means always “Live”, and far from comprehensive in coverage of international series.