Moving to Virgin Media? Here’s How to Watch Sky Atlantic

So, you’re making the switch to Virgin Media. Whether it’s for better broadband speeds, a more appealing channel lineup, or simply a change of scenery, the transition comes with its own set of questions. One that might be at the top of your list: “Can I still watch Sky Atlantic?”

If you’re a fan of high-quality dramas like “Game of Thrones” or “Westworld” losing access to Sky Atlantic can feel like a deal-breaker. But before you reconsider your move to Virgin Media, let’s explore your options. Trust me, you’re not the first to face this conundrum, and there are workable solutions out there.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of keeping Sky Atlantic in your life while enjoying the benefits of Virgin Media. Stick around; you might just find that you can have your cake and eat it too.

Can You Watch Sky Atlantic On Virgin Media?

Let’s cut to the chase. You’ve probably already tried flicking through the channels on your new Virgin Media setup, searching for that familiar Sky Atlantic logo. And you’ve likely been disappointed to find it’s not there. That’s because Sky Atlantic, as a TV channel, is exclusive to Sky.

But don’t lose hope just yet. While you won’t find Sky Atlantic in your Virgin Media channel list, you can still access it through NOW TV. All you’ll need is a way to access the NOW TV app or a NOW TV box, and of course, a NOW TV subscription. This is in addition to your Virgin Media subscription, but it does give you the flexibility to watch Sky Atlantic and other Sky-exclusive channels.

Why Sky Atlantic is Exclusive to Sky

So, why is Sky Atlantic playing hard to get? The channel is a cornerstone of Sky’s offering, hosting a range of critically acclaimed shows from both sides of the Atlantic. It’s a significant draw for subscribers and a unique selling point for Sky. In business terms, it’s what we call a “moat” — a competitive advantage that keeps customers coming back to Sky and makes it harder for competitors to offer a similar package.

One key factor that adds another layer to this exclusivity is Sky’s partnership with HBO. Sky and HBO have a deal that gives Sky exclusive rights to broadcast first-run and currently-airing HBO programmes in the UK and other European markets through 2024. Some series are even aired live at the same time as they are in the US, allowing you to avoid spoilers. Aside from programmes produced by Vice — which air on Sky’s new Viceland channel — these series are broadcast on Sky Atlantic. A sizeable amount of Sky Atlantic’s programming comes from HBO series, many of which are well-known and award-winning shows that you just can’t watch anywhere else.

But while this exclusivity is great for Sky, it can be a stumbling block for those of us who want the freedom to choose our service provider without sacrificing content. It’s a classic case of wanting to have it all but running into the limitations of the marketplace.

The good news? There’s a workaround, and it’s called NOW TV. But before we dive into that, let’s understand the types of NOW TV subscriptions you can opt for, especially if Sky Atlantic is your primary focus.

The NOW TV Solution

Alright, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how you can still enjoy Sky Atlantic without a Sky subscription. Enter NOW TV, a streaming service that’s actually owned by Sky. It’s like the more flexible, commitment-free sibling of Sky, offering various “passes” that allow you to access specific types of content, including Sky Atlantic.

If you’re a Virgin Media customer, you’re in luck. While the NOW TV app isn’t natively available on Virgin Media’s V6 box, it’s compatible with a wide range of devices. You can watch it on your laptop, smartphone, or even on your TV through a separate streaming device like a Roku stick or an Apple TV.

The process is straightforward:

  1. Sign up for a NOW TV account.
  2. Choose the Entertainment Pass, which includes Sky Atlantic among other channels.
  3. Download the NOW TV app on your device or set up your NOW TV box.
  4. Log in and start streaming.

It’s that simple. You’ll have access to both live Sky Atlantic streams and an on-demand library, so you won’t have to miss out on any of your favorite shows.

Types of NOW TV Subscriptions

So you’re sold on the NOW TV idea. Great! But before you hit that “Subscribe” button, let’s talk about what exactly you’re signing up for. NOW TV offers a variety of passes, but if Sky Atlantic is your main goal, you’ll want to opt for the Entertainment Pass.

Entertainment Pass

Priced at £9.99 a month, this pass gives you access to Sky Atlantic along with Sky Documentaries and Sky Comedy live TV channels and a substantial on-demand library.

NOW Boost

Want to kick it up a notch? NOW Boost is an add-on that enhances your viewing experience. For an extra £6 a month, you get Sky Atlantic in HD, better sound quality, and the ability to stream on more devices simultaneously.

Other Passes

NOW TV also offers Cinema, Sports, and Hayu passes. While these won’t give you Sky Atlantic, they do provide additional content that you might find appealing.

Free Trial and Flexibility

One of the perks of NOW TV is the 7-day free trial for new users. Plus, there are no long-term contracts. You can cancel anytime, making it easier to dip in and out depending on what shows are currently airing.

Device Compatibility

Now that you’ve got the subscription details sorted, let’s talk hardware. You’ll need a device to stream NOW TV, and while the service is quite accommodating, there are some nuances to be aware of.

Virgin Media’s V6 Box

If you were hoping to use Virgin Media’s V6 box for NOW TV, I’ve got some news: the NOW TV app isn’t available on it. You’ll need to use a different device to stream.

Commonly Supported Devices

Laptops (Mac and Windows), smartphones (iOS and Android), tablets, and various set-top boxes are all fair game.

Gaming consoles like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One also support NOW TV.

Streaming Devices

If you prefer watching on a bigger screen, streaming devices like Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV Stick are compatible with NOW TV. Just download the app, log in, and you’re good to go.

Device Limitations

You can register up to six devices on one NOW TV account but can only watch on two screens simultaneously.

Quality Constraints

Keep in mind that not all devices support HD streaming, even with the NOW Boost. For instance, smartphones and tablets max out at 720p.

Additional Costs for Virgin Media Subscribers

By now, you’re probably thinking, “This sounds great, but what’s the catch?” Well, the catch is essentially the cost. As a Virgin Media customer, you’ll need to purchase a NOW TV subscription on top of your existing Virgin Media package.

The Double Subscription Dilemma

Unlike BT and TalkTalk customers, who have the NOW TV app pre-installed on their set-top boxes and can add it as an account add-on, Virgin Media subscribers have to manage and pay for two separate subscriptions.

The Cost Breakdown

The Entertainment Pass on NOW TV costs £8.99 a month. Add the NOW Boost for HD, and you’re looking at an additional £3.99. That’s a total of £12.98 per month, on top of your Virgin Media subscription.

Is It Worth It?

This is the question you’ll need to answer for yourself. If Sky Atlantic is a must-have, then the extra cost might be a no-brainer. But it’s essential to weigh this against the overall value you’re getting from your Virgin Media package.

Alternatives

If the additional cost seems steep, consider seasonal subscriptions to NOW TV based on when your favorite shows are airing. Remember, NOW TV offers the flexibility to cancel anytime.

Quality Comparison: NOW TV vs Sky Subscription

Let’s talk about quality, because let’s face it, how you watch can be just as important as what you watch. If you’re a stickler for crisp visuals and immersive audio, this section is for you.

NOW TV’s Quality Cap

With NOW TV, even if you opt for the NOW Boost, the highest quality you can get is full HD (1080p). This is subject to your internet speed and the device you’re using.

Sky’s Ultra HD and HDR

On the other hand, a Sky subscription offers Sky Atlantic in Ultra HD and HDR. That’s a level of detail and color depth that NOW TV currently can’t match.

Audio Quality

NOW Boost does offer enhanced audio, but again, it’s not quite on par with what a dedicated Sky subscription can provide.

Device Limitations

Also, remember that not all devices can stream NOW TV in HD. For example, smartphones and tablets are capped at 720p, even with NOW Boost.

Conclusion

So, you’ve moved or are considering moving to Virgin Media, and you’re wondering how to keep Sky Atlantic in your life. Let’s be honest, the programming on Sky Atlantic is top-notch, and it’s understandable that you’d want to continue enjoying shows like “And Just Like That…” or “The Outsider.”

Here’s the bottom line: Sky Atlantic isn’t included in any Virgin Media package. If you want to keep watching, you’ll need to go the NOW TV route. While this does mean managing an additional subscription and possibly using a separate device, it’s currently the most straightforward way to get your Sky Atlantic fix on Virgin Media.

As for quality, be aware that NOW TV caps the resolution at HD, even with the NOW Boost. It’s not quite the Ultra HD and HDR experience you might get with a dedicated Sky subscription, but it’s still pretty good.

In the end, it’s all about trade-offs. You’ll need to weigh the convenience and offerings of Virgin Media against the additional cost and slightly lower quality of accessing Sky Atlantic through NOW TV. If you can live with those compromises, then you’re all set to enjoy the best of both worlds.

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About S. Santos

👋 I'm a technology columnist and blogger with over 10 years of experience, currently serving as Blue Cine Tech's AV Editor. Specialising in gadgets, home entertainment, and personal technology, my work has been featured in top technology blogs. I'm dedicated to breaking down the complexities of the latest tech trends, from explaining the intricacies of Dolby Vision to optimising your streaming experience. This blog serves as a platform for my ongoing exploration of the ever-evolving tech landscape. If you see me at industry events like CES or IFA, feel free to say hello.

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