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NOW TV: Stream contract-free Sky TV

NOW TV is a convenient way to enjoy Sky Entertainment, Movies and Sports without a contract. It's fast, flexible and easy to set up, and you can simply add or remove NOW TV passes when it suits you. Find out how NOW TV compares to other digital TV packages in our handy guide.

By on July 22, 2014 at 12:00 PM
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NOW TV: Stream contract-free Sky TV

What is NOW TV?

NOW TV offers affordable, flexible access to Sky services via a compatible smartphone, tablet, computer or the dedicated NOW TV box, which is available for only £14.99. It's ideal for customers who do not wish to be tied into a lengthy contract or need access to hundreds of extra channels, but want to enjoy Sky TV.

Now TVPass

 

There are two NOW TV passes available through Simplifydigital:

 Our experts say:

If you're considering an upgrage to Sky TV this could be a good way to test the waters before committing to the contract, or if you're into a particular Sky Atlantic show like Game of Thrones, you can keep a subscription going until the season ends, then renew it when next season comes out.

 How do I get NOW TV/ what are my options?
There are a few ways to enjoy NOW TV services:

  • Choose a Sky Entertainment, Movies or Sports pass and sign up for NOW TV online.

    Then...
  • Option 1: Download the NOW TV application for your compatible device: Most smart TVs, newer Apple iPhones and iPads, high end Android-powered tablets and phones and the Sony PlayStation 3 can use NOW TV, among others.
  • Option 2: Purchase a NOW TV box for a one off payment of £14.99

 The best option for you will depend on whether you already have a compatible device that can use the app (nothing wrong with saving £10 by skipping the physical box) or would want to be tied into NOW TV for 12 months via contract.

A word on the NOW TV box

The benefit of purchasing the NOW TV box of course is that it gives you an internet streaming device that's discrete, speedy and powerful for just £10 a month - not necessary if you already have a Roku Player or Apple TV, but certainly one of the cheapest ways to get into TV streaming with a physical device right now.

It also gives you access to catch up TV services, including BBC iPlayer and 4OD, plus a variety of apps, including BBC News, CNET and IGN, via your home broadband connection.

What's the NOW TV box like?

Sky was kind enough to send Simplifydigital a review unit to have a play around with, so we could tell you what using the NOW TV box is really like.

NOW TV Box tech spec:

Size: 84mm x 84mm x 23mm
Weight: 85 grams
Networking: 802.11n Wi-Fi (b/g/n compatible) with WEP, WPA and WPA2 support
Video outputs: 480i (NTSC over composite video) 480p (over HDMI) 720p (over HDMI)
Video modes: 720p 16:9 anamorphic 4:3 standard
Audio output:

Analogue Stereo (mini-jack to left/right/composite video RCA)

Digital over HDMI

Remote:

Infra Red

Compatible with various universal remotes

Ports: HDMI (cable included)
Power consumption: Less than 2W (typical) when streaming video
Power input: 5.2V - 1.0A power adapter

Getting set up with NOW TV

The first thing we noticed was how small and discrete the box is - it's stylish in pearly white with a neat little controller, and looked great next to our Editor's 50" HDTV. Set up was pretty easy - we went online to the NOW TV registration page, entered our details and Entertainment Pass code, then got our account verified. The box comes with a HDMI lead - nice for a £10 product, and once it's hooked up to your TV's HDMI port it just needs your wireless network details to get online. You'll sign in once, with the account details you made just now, and stay logged in all the time.

Scrolling through the NOW TV interface is pretty easy - you can see the latest content on the channels and services you subscribe to, catch up with the last 7 days worth of shows and it's easy enough to access the apps from the main menu.

We liked the way catch up content was dished up to us via the main menu, but would have liked to have seen featured shows like True Detective having all episodes available to view and not just the most recent few.

Top apps on NOW TV

Here are our picks of the top apps on NOW TV (aside from the obvious BBC iPlayer and 40D):

  1. CNET - all the latest tech news and gadget reviews, to watch on your nifty little streaming box via your broadband connection. How very 22nd century of you.
  2. Crunchyroll - anime fans whisper the name 'Crunchyroll' in hushed tones. It's the best and easiest way to enjoy full-length episodes of the latest Japanese anime and movies.
  3. Facebook photos and videos - what better way to enjoy your selfies and mug shots of your mates than on your big HD telly?
  4. Musiclouds - access your Soundcloud, 8tracks or Jamendo content on your TV and listen through your speakers
  5. TED Talks - brush up on your dinner party speaking topics with TED and enjoy rather smart talks from the globe's key thinkers

You can add and remove a 'Pass' every month - so you pay in advance for the services, use them for a month, and then either continue to pay or cancel your subscription. This is especially convenient if you have kids to entertain over the summer and a spot of Sky Movies is likely to do the trick. The Sky Sports Day Pass is more expensive and can be turned on for a single 24 hour period, which wouldn't appeal to serious arm chair fans but might be perfect for a family with visiting relatives who want to watch an important match, or a group of friends pooling their resources to enjoy a particular sporting event.

How much does NOW TV cost?

Sounds interesting, what do I need to know?

  • Sky recommends that you have a broadband connection with speeds of at least 2.5Mb to use Now TV, with an unlimited data allowance.
  • You can register 4 devices with NOW TV and watch 2 at the same time, streaming to your telly through your Xbox®360, PS3™, Roku, YouView or the dedicated NOW TV Box
  • You can also watch NOW TV on LG Smart TVs and selected LG media devices, or watch on the go on your PC or Mac, iPad, or compatible iPhone/Android-powered smartphone

What's on NOW TV?

What's on NOW TV is up to you! Sky has three add-on services available for NOW TV; sports, entertainment and movies. You just pick the service you're interested in and sign up online by creating an account on the NOW TV website.

The NOW TV Box turns your telly into a smart TV and gives you access to BBC iPlayer, Demand 5 as well as cool apps like Facebook, BBC News, Spotify, Sky News and Vimeo. The apps come pre-loaded, so you can just plug your Now TV box in to start using them.

Now TV Entertainment Pass - £6.99/month with 30 day free trial

The Entertainment pass is currently £6.99 a month. You sign up for it a month at a time, and get access to 10 pay TV channels, including Sky Atlantic, Fox, Discovery and Comedy Central. You can watch live TV or catch up TV, and also enjoy box sets like Ugly Betty and Grey's Anatomy at no extra cost.

Please note: From 4th May Nat Geo Wild joins Entertainment Month Pass, and does not effect the price of the pass; it still renews at £6.99 a month. The Disney Channel, Nickelodeon and Nick Jr channels will be leaving the Entertainment Month Pass on 21st June due to changes to NOW TV's rights.

24 hour Sky Sports Pass - £6.99 for 24 hours access

If you're interested in the occasional major sporting events and you've got a few mates to split the £6.99 pass with, then NOW TV's daily Sky Sports pass could be great value compared to a long term Sky Sports subscription. You get 24 hours access to every Sky Sports channel, with no contract required.

Sky Sports Week Pass - £10.99 for 7 days access

For when one day just isn't enough, The Sky Sports Week Pass is available at just £4 more than the daily version. Catch up on all the biggest matches, games and events whether your an F1 fan or football crazy.

Sky Movies Pass - £9.99/month with 30 day free trial

Got a bit of free time coming up and fancy checking out a few movies, maybe over the festive period? A monthly Sky Movies Pass lets you stream over 800 movies on demand, with up to 4 new premieres added every week, including The Guilt Trip, Gangster Squad, The Life of Pi and Zero Dark Thirty. You also get access to over 20 Sky Movies collections, to inspire you and help you discover new favourites.

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