* Prices may differ from that shown
We bought this box primarily for the free trial of Sky Movies and the use of Plex if you bypass the lock Sky put on it. For that, the box was perfect - the 30 day free trial was very good (although the supply of films quickly ran out, only leaving films from the 70s and even earlier - which we'd obviously seen!) and Plex worked flawlessly after a bit of tweaking on the box and the laptop. However, after the trial, the Now TV box fell into disuse. We haven't even turned it on since the free trial ended. It's easier not to use Plex through the box and we were not willing to pay the high premiums sky demand. If we had not been able to unlock the sky controls on it, this box would have been a complete waste of money. Although it does allow us to use iPlayer on a freeview TV (as well as other programmes such as YouTube), these can all also be accessed on the laptop or tablet (or even smartphone) leaving the hassle of setting up the box a bit pointless. I am glad I did not spend more on this box, as if I did I would have ended up demanding a refund of some kind for the low standard of content available through the box - it is clear sky have tailored it to their own ends (which of course they are entitled to do), which makes it pretty useless for anything not sky-oriented.
The box itself is quite dinky (84 x 84 x 24mm dimensions, it weighs merely 85g). that's a bit generous, but it is definitely palm-sized and easy to accommodate into any system set-up. It feels light and fairly trivial but finally once it's not disconnect assemble isn't much of an issue.
Round the rear you will discover an HDMI ouput, minijack AV out for video and analogue sound and a power connection. It's Wi-Fi only so there is no Ethernet input signal - a bit of a pity - while in the box you get a smart white remote control and also an HDMI cable.
The Now TV Box output signals at a maximum resolution of 720p via HDMI and also promises to deliver "5.1 surround sound where accessible", though there is no reference of Dolby Digital everywhere.
So what do you get? A simple row of program tiles outputs BBC News, Sky News, Demand 5, Flixster, Tunein, Vimeo, Facebook, TED, Spotify and IGN, amongst others. What you won't locate, we're pretty confident, is Lovefilm or Netflix - you'll want to turn to Sky Movies.
A smartphone program would make text entry a great deal simpler, although the remote control is good - sadly Roku's own app nor the Sky programs that are excellent are not incompatible with the Now TV Box.
Now TV is where you discover the juicy stuff, and is another tile on your home screen following the Roku Store: Sky Movies and Sky Sports. The 'grab' is of course that that is superior content. The primary draw is pay as you go Sky Sports, yours in 24-hour bundles for GBP9.99.
Expensive? It appears up for argument. In case you're dipping in and outside, once a month at most, and/or getting mates round who might share the cost, then for a day of content that is potentially rather a great deal of, it is not too terrible. It's certainly cheaper and easier than having a monthly subscription and also a Sky dish.
Sky Movies is obtained on a pay-monthly basis. These subscriptions can be canceled by you anytime, according to the Now TV T&Cs.
After having a couple of hours we like that which we see. It's not difficult to use and has shown little sign of flakiness (there was the odd long pause but no crashes or need to reset). The custom interface is speedy, extremely smart and glossy to move and instinctive with regard to finding content and important apps.
And the choice of content is not bad: GBP10 for a box that adds Demand 5, iPlayer and internet radio apps is a small deal on its own - pay for premium content for example Spotify and of course Sky's Sports and Films, and it could offer a whole lot. Complete HD could be fine but graphics seem decent at first, with only occasional syncing/buffering issues - which show the need for a wireless network connection that is good.
First impressions are definitely good for this particular streamlined, amazingly affordable Now TV flowing box. For free catchup TV services it appears a no brainer; for premium Sky Sports and Movies - it'll ultimately depend a fantastic deal on just how much you are prepared to pay for the premium programs- which is what Sky is actually after.
Sky continues to be pushing the idea of its own contract- Now TV sports streaming service and free movie for more than a year now.Superior content that is on demand is a burgeoning region that the likes of Lovefilm and Netflix is so far dominating - and the service of Sky was started to equal these non-contract, all-you-can-eat offerings.
Not content with Now TV merely being a program on set-top box or a TV, Sky or online has decided to release its hardware that costs less than the cost of a Bluray.
Sky's Now TV Box is a serious statement of streaming intention from the broadcaster. The size of the box might be tiny but it holds enormous potential for Sky to open up its superior movie package to customers who have yet to sign on to its merchandise.
At just GBP10 the Now TV Box is a bargain. It's inexpensive enough to purchase on impulse as well as on mass if you have a selection of televisions in your own home which can be not yet 'smart'.
For the money you get access to a host of catchup and streaming TV services, including the ever-popular BBC iPlayer, Sky News, BBC News and Demand 5, plus the possibility of viewing NOW TV services from Sky should you would like to fork out to get a day or month pass.
For those of you familiar with a Roku carton, you could have some fun playing spot the difference. The exact same design is brought by the Now TV Carton (although it's in blue and white) the same small size and even the Roku station store.
Which allows one to decide from a (comparatively small) number of other media stations that are available, and to add them to your 'house' screen so you've got easy accessibility as soon as they are installed by you.
The tiny box and cunning little remote arrive in small box that also contains an HDMI cable and power cable.
The box connects to your own WiFi, so there is no need to possess it close to your router. Given that Sky has only just declared that its boxes will come with Wi-Fi as normal, this is a good idea to see.
The remote is small and glossy white plastic - just like the carton itself - but is simple and intuitive. The buttons really are a home and back button, an arrow and acceptable pad, rewind, fast forward and play/pause a dedicated Now TV button and also along with a star key, an apps key
Before you can get going together with the carton, it will say that you need to register for Now TV.
As this Sky TV Carton is really all about pushing individuals to its on demand service, you would believe that this would be compulsory however there's a Continue without registering choice.
High definition (720p) and SD options are available - that is a bonus - although the former really suffers in the dearth of a super-fast link, so bear this in mind.
This is, we'd envision, something of a loss leader - so the Now TV service is inevitably notable. There's a Now TV button to the remote that is little plus it is center and front of your home screen, begging to be pressed.
Another default option 'programs' on the homescreen are BBC News, Sky News, the BBC iPlayer, the Roku channel store and Demand Five (Channel Five's catchup service).
And in August 2014, Sky also added a YouTube app, giving access to all that Google's video service provides to you.
Adding more homescreen apps is clear-cut: the Roku channel shop brings a limited selection of streaming stations (TED TV), some quirky content choices (Indian Food!) and a number of familiar programs like Picassa Facebook, Flickr and Spotify.
The program is put on your homescreen to get once picked. This is a great way to obtain something like Spotify through the body, in case you have a good home entertainment sound set up. This can place them on a screen that is great to display them with Flickr or Picassa, in case you love Facebook should you adore your pictures and now you can see updates in your TV.
It is surely a Roku box that is shut. There's absolutely no Plex on board, so media streaming isn't unavailable through the box (although a quick Google shows you might be able to side-load the program) and gaming is also non existent, but the cut-down price does reveal this.
It is a smart idea from Sky. For those who want to dip in and from superior film and sport content that is a valid choice, particularly for those people who need Sky but cannot get a dish.
And for the ones that have digital television, broadband internet, but no available catchup services this is a brilliant alternative. In fact, it's a vital choice - you won't find a way that is cheaper to upgrade your television anywhere.
It is a smart thought from Sky. For those who desire Sky but cannot get a dish this is choice that is valid, especially for those that want to dip in and out of premium movie and sport content.
And for the ones that have digital television, broadband web, but no catchup services that are accessible this is a dazzling option.
It comes with an HDMI cable (there's a 3.5mm to RCA A/V interface choice which limits you to SD) which itself largely justifies the total cost of the unit.
It really is prompt, though. Sport seemed to be streamed at a poorer bitrate than movies as well.
And then there's the cost. There are lots of fantastic offers going around right now, however there is a Sky Sports day pass GBP10 and complete cost for movies is GBP15 a month. You're spending a premium that is higher than, say, Netflix although it's amazing that they are contract free. But, you will be getting more recent films - Sky is quoting pictures up in advance of Lovefilm and Netflix.
It is sold with an HDMI cable (there is a 3.5mm to RCA A/V interface option which limits you to SD) which itself mostly warrants the cost of the unit.
Even merely registering for the service, although not subscribing, brings a powerful glut of streaming choices, making this box something of a no-brainer.
The apps bring an abundance of other Smart options - letting you make use of your television in several of of methods that are intriguing.
Interestingly, Sky also have begun months or day subscriptions in stores and to sell bundles using a Now TV carton, so for the ones that need to take a look before they order you could have a fondle.
If you are prepared to put up with filing for Now TV (although not necessarily paying for some of the content), you've a bare HDMI in port in your television and a broadband connection then this can be an amazing low-cost method of putting Smart functionality and catchup on your own TV.
I bought this on a bit of a whim. We have bt vision downstairs but then just a normal digital LCD upstairs and I wanted to be able to watch I player and things, so this really appealed to me. Basically, it is a small white box that you plug into your tv av socket, which then gives you access to a wide range ion on demand programmes and channels. The user interface has recently changed and is now much easier to navigate around.. Extra channels are being added all the time but at the moment, there is bbc I player, bbc news, demand 5 - which has shows that go back for years on there, I was ecstatic to find country house rescue and the hotel inspector and all the episodes ever made!, ign, sky store, sky news, 4od, and itv player which is a recent addition. There is a channel store, where you can add additional channels like spotty and Facebook, but I haven''t made best use of these yet. The box itself is very small, white, approximately 12 cm by 15 cm and the remote control is a dinky little white one. The box cost under a tenner which was a bargain and I did initially subscribe to the movie channel at a discounted price for about 4 months, but then when this reverted to its usual price of I stopped subscribing as didn''t think I''d used the movie channels/store sufficiently to warrant the cost. There is usually an offer for free high street vouchers from various stores when you purchase the unit. If you unsubscribe, there tends to be offers to tempt you to stay also. I wouldn''t hesitate to buy this box or recommend it, it''s such an inexpensive way of maximising your access to channels and programmes.
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Since discovering The Walking Dead through a friend, I went out and bought the season 1-3 DVD box set and finished watching them all. Knowing season 4 was being aired on Fox but not being able to watch it as we don't have Sky, was quite annoying! I was seriously thinking about getting Sky TV just so I could watch The Walking Dead. Then I heard about this Now TV box where you can buy a monthly subscription to a Sky Entertainment package.
What is it?
A Now TV box plugs into your TV and connects via wi-fi making your TV into a Smart TV by letting you watch catch up TV. It can also be used as a streaming service that doesn't require you to have a normal sky subscription package; all you need is a wi-fi connection.
The box comes with catch up programmes such as Demand 5, BBC iPlayer and 4OD. You can also download apps such as Facebook and Spotify. You cannot get the Netflix or Love Film app on this though which is a shame but I guess they are Sky's big competitors.
If like me, you decide you would like to add packages to have a choice of some of the channels you'd normally see on Sky, you can buy subscriptions to the following:
-Sky Entertainment Month Pass: This includes Sky One, Sky Atlantic, Sky Living, Sky Arts, Fox, Comedy Central, Gold, Discovery Channel, MTV and Disney. You can watch these channels live through streaming or on demand and there will be a few box sets of programmes you can watch, although this isn't the case with all of the programmes, some only stay on there for 30 days so you can catch up if you missed a show. The monthly cost is £4.99 at the moment, I think it might go up in the future as says "introductory price."
-Sky Sports Day Pass: You can watch all 6 Sky Sports channels but this is only a day pass at £9.99.
-Sky Movies Month Pass: You can stream over 800 movies on demand and up to 16 premiers are added every month. You can also watch the Sky Movies channels live. This costs £8.99 a month.
You can watch Now TV on 4 other wi-fi devices (iPhones, iPads, PC's etc) but it will only let you watch 2 devices at the same time.
One of the annoying things I found with the entertainment package was that some live programmes could not be shown (such as The Simpsons) due to licensing restrictions. Apparently this will vary on a daily basis and should reduce over time as licenses are agreed.
I bought my Now TV box from Argos for £24.99 which included the box and a pass for 4 months of Sky Entertainment. But you can buy the box on its own for £9.99 from the Now TV website.
-Now TV box
-Remote control and batteries
(And with the one I purchased, it had a card for 4 months Sky Entertainment package)
Setting it up
There are three connections on it, the power socket, HDMI output and A/V line out. It was easy to set up, the Now TV box is plugged into the mains and then connected to the TV using a HDMI cable which is supplied. You will know the box is working as the tiny light on the front of the box will be lit. You then wait for it to load up and enter your Wi-Fi code. It will then take you to the main screen where you can use iPlayer and other catch up programmes or if you click on the Now TV icon you can use the Sky features, but first you will need to go to nowtv.com to set up an account and buy/activate a subscription. Once this is set up you can log into your account via the Now TV box using the remote control supplied. You do not have to log in every time you start up the Now TV box. I found it fairly straight forward to set up. You can also set up pin codes so others cannot purchase movies etc.
If when you purchased the box, like me, you bought a subscription to Sky Sports, Sky Entertainment or Sky Movies, this will be on a little card in the box. On the back of the card it explains how to activate this, which involves you scratching away to reveal a code and going to nowtv.com to set up an account and enter the code. Or if you have just bought the basic box but fancy subscribing to one of the sky packages later on you can go to the Now TV website and buy a pass from here.
You are able to get a 30 day free trial for movies, entertainment or a one day's sports package and then you will need to remember to cancel this if you do not wish to pay for it.
I found it really simple to use and streaming live TV from the entertainment bundle seems fine. There wasn't as many box sets as I thought there would be, I wanted to watch Game of Thrones but couldn't see it on there. I did however manage to watch Mad Dogs 1-3 and an Idiot Abroad 1-3, both I've wanted to see for a while. I think Box Sets are added occasionally for a certain amount of time and then taken off. You can also catch up on new episodes and these are stored for 30 days.
The picture quality could be better; Now TV is able to output 720p but has limited HD support which is a little disappointing. Whilst watching An Idiot Abroad, it did buffer a few times and the picture quality wasn't brilliant, but I didn't find this when watching Mad Dogs, so I'm not sure if it was my internet connection or the actual box.
I have a month's free trial of Sky Movies and have found it really good, there is a great selection and I've not had any problems with buffering. It is hard to find a film you want though as you have to search through the films via genre or collection there is no feature (that I can see) where you can just type in a film. Sky Movies is £3 more expensive than Love Film and Netflix, although it has more of the current blockbusters in its library, so to some people the £3 extra a month might be worth it if that is what you're after.
I can't comment on Sky Sports unfortunately as I have not subscribed to this package.
The catch up apps are generally good, Demand 5 and BBC iPlayer I have had no problems with but 4OD has frozen on me a few times. This app has only just been added to Now TV, so it may just have a few teething issues.
The main reason I got the box was to be able to watch The Walking Dead when season 4 part 2 is aired in February, I have been able to catch up with part 1 as the episodes have been airing on Fox on Monday evenings, so all in all I'm pleased. The catch up features are good but not brilliant just because they do not stay on there for that long, but I think this is the same with a lot of catch up devices. It would also be nice to see more TV box sets on there for longer. I think I will be keeping my subscription to the Entertainment package unless it goes up to over £10 a month, I don't think it would be worth this just to watch 10 Sky channels.
I think this box is worth the price and the package prices are reasonable if you are not a Sky customer already. I only wanted it for a few of the entertainment channels and that is what I got so it works well for me.
Smart TVs now have the ability to go through the internet to pick up programs on demand through services such as iplayer or 4-on-demand. That's great unless you've got a fairly decent TV you don't want to upgrade. We got this for an upstairs TV for £10 in Tesco. This is cheap to start with, more so when you discover that currently, when you buy it, you get Sky Movies free for three months.
I was pleasantly surprised by the size of this. I'm getting used to our downstairs TV being surrounded by gadgets to the point where our TV cabinet is full to bursting, but this is tiny. It's about as long as a CD case, as tall as three CD cases, and as wide as 2/3 of a CD case. There's a little light on the front where you can see if its turned on.
Installation took less than ten minutes - I know we're fairly technical, but I'd still call it a really easy set-up. Once you've set it up there's an equally easy menu to navigate to the to your programs.
If you want a SMART TV but can't replace your current TV I would highly recommend this. It's hard to beat the price, easy to set up, and so small you'll hardly know it's there.
In our house we never really considered getting a subscription to sky or virgin as Freeview fulfilled most of our needs. However, we've recently wanted to start watching some sky programmes (including Game of Thrones) and so when the Now TV box came out it was really tempting especially as you can watch films etc on your TV rather than laptop.
***What is the NowTV Box***
The box is simply a way of turning your tv into a smart tv -so not only can you watch Now TV on your TV set you can also watch BBC iPlayer as well as things like 4OD all on your TV screen which I find really useful as I don't really like watching TV on my laptop as I am generally using my laptop for other purposes.
***How to use your NowTV box***
When it arrives you get a little white box which has built in WiFi (there is no Ethernet cable) it also has an HDMI and AV output. These just need to be plugged into the back of your TV (if you have an older TV you just need to buy a mini-jack) and then plug in the power and you are ready to go.
Once you plug it in you need to find the right place to watch it (we press input selection and go to the one that says HDMI) and it brings up the home selection which scans for available internet connections and you just type in the password. You do need to have a NowTV account and at this stage you are asked to sign in to your account. From here you have a really simple interface with the NowTV option, BBC iPlayer, Sky News, Demand 5 and 4OD. To launch an app all you need to do is scroll across and press the OK button and to exit just press the home button or back button. You can also add more Apps including Facebook, Flickr, Flixster, Fox News, Vevo, Tunein, Spotify and CNET.
With NowTV you can subscribe to three channels - sport, movies and Entertainment and you pay subscriptions for each one individually (I pay for Entertainment and Movies which works well for my needs).
I've heard that the box doesn't quite have the specs of some highend boxes but at £10 for the box itself it works really well for my needs and I like the choice on NowTV and being able to watch iPlayer and 4OD is a massive bonus.