Sky TV is the most popular satellite TV service in the UK to date, Virgin Media can’t touch Sky for channels and services so for this reason you might ask ‘why the heck release NOW TV then?!’ well to be completely honest with you i felt exactly the same when i first heard about the streaming service but it then dawned on me.a lot of people might not be able to afford any of the Sky TV packages.
So for that reason alone the Sky NOW TV box represents insane value for money because at £9.99 delivered you gain access to Sky’s entire catalogue of Sky Movies and also access to all of the Sky sports channels, plus BBC iPlayer, Sky News, BBC News and Demand 5. There is one downside to this though, none of it is free as well, this is Sky after all! You get a free trial for 30 days of Sky Movies and in my particular box i received a free 1 day Sky Sports Pass which will last 24 hours. Otherwise to gain access to both Sky Movies and Sky Sports it will cost you (after the 30 days trial) £8.99 for 3 months and then £15.99 thereafter for just the Movies package, to get Sky Sports too it is a whopping £9.99 per day! This would be ok as a once a month thing but for Sports fans its a shocking deal!
That’s the pricing details out of the way so lets talk about the box for a bit then i will tell you about the viewing quality.
Now you will see that it is an absolutely tiny box which is brilliant because it means it is very light and also very simple to use too, the box is actually based on a Roku TV box so we know it’s reliable. The box has three connections on the back: HDMI, A/V Out and the DC in for power, then the only other thing of note is the infrared sensor on the front of the box and the NOW TV logo on the top. As for the remote this is very simply laid out to make usage very easy indeed, at the top there is the back and home buttons, right underneath those is the 4 directional keys with an ok button in the middle. Next there is the rewind, play/pause and fast forward buttons, with a star button beneath that which acts as an info button in most cases. There are two final buttons, a dedicated NOW TV launch button and an apps button takes you to the Roku app store to download more content apps to your ‘Home screen’.
Settings the box up is an absolute doddle, plug it into a power socket, plug it into your TV and away you go with the setup process, the setup screen has just three steps: Connect to the internet (wirelessly), Get the latest Software and Sign in to NOW TV. It really doesn’t get much simpler than that these days! Once you’ve completed the setup stage you will be greeted with a screen that shows the following:
There are just five default apps pre installed and ready to use right away, NOW TV, Sky News, BBC News, BBC iPlayer and Demand 5 but there is however a way to add quite a few more by way of visiting the Roku Store, at the moment in the UK there aren’t that many services that are worth your time, but there are a couple to choose from like Facebook, Flickr, Flixster, Vevo, Tunein Radio and Spotify with a lot of US content channels too like MLB.com etc. I will be totally honest with you guys now, i wasn’t at ball interested in any of the other apps on this box as i love my sport and i love my movies so it was a no brainer to simply sign up to NOW TV for a month and enter the SKY Sports Day pass at the weekend, plus i browsed through the BBC News app and watched Top Gear on iPlayer.
Like i have just mentioned i watched a couple of movies and a couple of football matches, as well as Top gear and all in all i was pleasantly surprised with the quality of all video services available on this tiny box. The NOW TV app is by far the best for video quality as it closely resembles watching the same movie on Sky Movies itself on my Sky box, plus football was just as smooth as on the sky box too! it is a win win situation for anyone who’s short on cash but still want access to Sky TV. There is news of Sky adding actual TV channels to the Box in the future too and these will be accessible inside the NOW TV app in the ‘My TV’ section of the app, as yet there is nothing inside.
If i were the kind of reviewer to give a star rating then i would definitely give the NOW TV Box a solid 4.5 stars as it really does represent excellent value for money and for the services that you receive in return of your hard earned cash is definitely worth it if you are unable to afford SKY TV or want an easy way to catch up on your favourite BBC shows without forking out for a Smart TV.
Review by: Chris