House of Cards to Be Flagship Box Set for 3NOW

TV3 will allow binge viewing of its new HD drama House of Cards with MediaWorks’ launch of its multi-platform video-on-demand service, 3NOW.

The 3NOW app can be downloaded from Google’s App Store and Google Play and as well being tailor-made for mobile devices, is customised for Samsung TVs.

All 13 episodes can be viewed on 3NOW for 28 days from Sunday, which is when TV3 premieres House of Cards late-night.

But unlike their box set showcasing on Netflix a year ago, they won’t be streamable in HD.

A MediaWorks spokesperson told ScreenScribe.tv: “It’s fair to say our goal is to walk the fine line between quality and data consumption and we always aim to provide the best quality, while bearing in mind the data packages on offer in this market for the 3 and 4G networks.”

While that’s not surprising — neither TVNZ nor Sky offer HD streaming — at least 3NOW’s quality should be better than the dire bitrates of MediaWorks’ previous catch-up service.

3NOW encodes four file types. These are the average bitrates @ resolution and file sizes (note that file sizes are hosted file sizes and may not equal the data received by the end user):

  • 2MB/S @ 720×576 (SD – Smart TV ONLY)
  • 1.5MB/S @ 720×576 (SD – 160MB per 30 min)
  • 700KB/S @ 640×512  (90MB per 30 min)
  • 330KB/S @ 450×360 (50MB per 30 min)

The minimum for HD 1280x720p but the standard is 1920x1080p.

“We are constantly evaluating the quality of the content we offer versus consumer demand and are working to make improvements in containers, codecs, bitrates and frame resolutions,” MediaWorks says.

“HD frame rates are only one piece of the puzzle, with bitrates also being relevant to video quality.”

The better news for HD viewers is TV3 has confirmed it will run season two of House of Cards back-to-back with season one.

In the meantime, 3NOW will deliver everything from an improved catch-up video platform and exclusive video content to innovative social media integration, a new electronic programme guide that lets you look back and look forward, and the ability to manage your data consumption.

Its launch coincides with Quickflix announcing major new content deals and TVNZ appointing Jason Foden its successor to general manager of digital Tom Cotter.

It’s not clear how many of Quicklfix’s acquisitions will be in HD but the new pacts with Disney, NBC Universal and BBC Worldwide Australia & New Zealand includes Agents of SHIELD, Downton Abbey, Mrs Brown’s Boys, Revenge,Doctor Who, Sherlock and at least one SoHo exclusive, Orphan Black .

They will be offered through Quickflix’s pay-per-episode service, which launches in the next few weeks and will add “hundreds of hours of additional premium viewing”.

According to Australia’s Channel News, “Quickflix is seeking to boost user numbers after running into severe financial troubles last year, but announced growth in its last quarter.”

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3 Responses to “House of Cards to Be Flagship Box Set for 3NOW”

  1. As I saw Doctor Who mentioned I’m going to the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular Saturday afternoon … be exciting hearing the amazing music LIVE 🙂

  2. “But unlike their box set showcasing on Netflix a year ago, they won’t be streamable in HD.” Sort of a deal breaker as far as I’m concerned. This is the 21st century.

  3. Agreed! HD or nothing!

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