All this has nothing to do with NOW TV (non-HD) picture quality.
Clearly the average customer bandwidth is enough for an SD
compressed signal at full SD resolution.
The fact is that most of NOW's channels are not their own and they
probably receive it at 3/4 or 1/2 resolution and perhaps after various
format conversions including NSTC-PAL or what not.
The result are blurry pictures which NOW can do nothing about because their source is inherently at fault. The ancient computer law holds true - - Garbage In, Garbage Out.
Why do they receive channels at 1/2 or 3/4 resolution? I have never seen this elsewhere in the world, and a lot of the channels offered here are offered in higher quality elsewhere.
National Geographic and Discovery look awful here, yet look fine in other Asian countries on standard definition TVs.
No matter by fiber or satellite, just about all tv channels get compressed and multiplexed to save bandwidth.
The demand for quality overseas overrides any stupid executive who thinks he can save money by squeezing another 4 or 5 channels on a 10 channel list. Australia/Singapore/Malaysia and probably Japan/Korea probably have good quality, again because of customer perception and demand.
The rest of Asia/India though, quality is at best 2nd priority. Some people are quite happy that they can get a picture at all. They are probably more focused on content.
Knowing this, the TV distribution heads will try to save on costs. They're very clever, and only change the horizontal resolution, thereby keeping the same number of lines, but the whole picure softens and any sharpening (which I doubt they do) will make it blocky.
On top of this, the signal might go through more than one country, and number of companies before reaching NOWtv. I don't why, but countries like to stick to their formats, i.e NTSC or PAL, even
though any new telly we buy is multi. This means if you get a nice
picture in NTSC, NOW will probably convert it to PAL and seeing as the signal is probably already degraded, they'll probably use a cheap converter.