NOW TV deals explained
In this guide
- Why choose NOW TV?
- What does NOW TV offer?
- How to watch NOW TV
- What are the alternatives?
- Frequently asked questions
NOW TV is Sky's streaming service, giving you the chance to watch the best of Sky's content without having to sign up for the full service. You'll need a broadband connection in order to watch it, as it's delivered over the internet, rather than requiring a satellite dish, and the thing that really differentiates it from Sky is that there's no contract so you can cancel whenever you like.
In order to get started, you buy a membership, which gives you access to certain channels and on demand content for a set length of time. The Entertainment (and kids) membership, Sky Cinema membership, and Hayu memberships each last a month, while there are daily, weekly and monthly versions of the Sky Sports membership.
Why choose NOW TV?
The main selling point is that you get the best on offer from Sky, but with the same flexibility you get from other streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Let's look at what makes NOW TV an attractive proposition.
- No contracts – Each NOW TV membership lasts a month, unless you go for the daily or weekly version of the Sky Sports membership. At the end of the month the membership will automatically renew unless you cancel it – something you can do at any point.
- Watch on multiple devices – There are more than 60 different devices that support the NOW TV app. Once you've signed up, you can register up to six devices on your account and watch on two at the same time.
- Free trial – If you want to try before you buy, you can sign up for a seven-day free trial for the Entertainment, Sky Cinema or Hayu membership. After seven days are up you'll be charged the standard monthly fee unless you cancel. There's no free trial available for the Sky Sports membership.
- The best of Sky TV – As we've mentioned, NOW TV gives you access to some of the best content offered by Sky. This Includes top shows like Game of Thrones and Tin Star on Sky Atlantic, Premier League football on Sky Sports and movie premieres on Sky Cinema.
- No credit checks – As there are no long contracts involved and you pay for what you watch in advance, NOW TV doesn't run credit checks. This makes it an attractive option if you have a poor credit score.
What does NOW TV offer?
- Entertainment Membership – The Entertainment membership includes the live channels Sky Showcase, Sky Atlantic, Sky Max, Sky Witness, Gold, Sky Comedy, Comedy Central, MTV, Sky Documentaries, Sky Crime, Sky Nature, Sky History, SYFY, Sky News and Sky Arts, as well as more than 300 box sets available on demand.
- Sky Cinema Membership – This membership includes access to all 11 Sky Cinema channels, which at the time of writing are called Premiere, Wizarding World, Hits, Action, Animation, Family, Comedy, Sci Fi/Horror, Thriller, Greats and Christmas (they're often rebranded in honour of an event, season or movie release). There are also more than 1,000 films available on demand and a premiere every day.
- Kids – The Kids membership is now included as part of the Entertainment membership at no extra cost and offers six channels that aren't on Freeview – Boomerang, Cartoonito, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr and Nick Toons. There are also thousands of episodes of popular kids shows available on demand.
- Hayu Membership – Hayu is the home of US reality TV and features more than 5,000 episodes available on demand as well as the chance to watch new shows at the same time as they're first broadcast in the States.
- Sky Sports Membership – You can choose from one-day or one-month membership. The one-day membership automatically expires, whereas the one-month membership rolls on unless you cancel. Both options give you the full range of 11 Sky Sports channels – Main Event, Premier League, Football, Cricket, Golf, F1, NFL, Darts, Racing, Mix and Sky Sports News.
- NOW TV Boost – Boost is a monthly add-on that gives you Full HD, the option to stream on three devices at once (rather than two as is standard), improved sound with Dolby Digital 5.1 and ad-free streaming.
- NOW Broadband – NOW Broadband offers both ADSL and fibre broadband packages. Contracts last for 12 months, and you can choose to add a landline call package if you want.
How to watch
There are more than 60 devices that support NOW TV so it's simply a case of downloading the app and signing in. You can register up to six devices on your account and watch on two at the same time.
- Streaming sticks and smart TVs – LG smart TVs and newer (2015 onwards) and Samsung smart TVs support the NOW TV app, as do devices including Roku's Streaming Stick and Express, and Google's Chromecast. Our guide tells you what you need to know about turning your TV into a smart TV.
- Set top boxes – NOW TV is available on Apple TV and YouView.
- Games consoles – The NOW TV Membership is supported on both the PS4 and Xbox One platforms.
- Mobiles and tablets – You can download the app from Apple's App Store or from the Google Play store on Android devices.
- PC & Mac – If you want to watch NOW TV on a PC or Mac, you'll need to download the NOW TV Player as you can't watch directly in your browser. In order to trigger the Player download, you'll need to choose something to watch then hit the download button when it appears.
- NOW TV Smart Stick and box – Although NOW TV no longer sells its own branded devices via its website, they are available via Amazon, often in a bundle with a Cinema or Entertainment Membership.
What are the alternatives?
If you're not convinced that NOW TV is for you – maybe you want a wider range of channels or a set-top box that can record programmes – then it's time to look at the competition. Here are the other providers offering pay TV services.
- Sky TV – Sky's basic package offers more than 300 channels, including all those offered by NOW TV Entertainment, and the Sky Q box, which lets you record three shows while watching a fourth. Netflix is also included as standard. You can add extras such as Sky Sports or Sky Cinema for an additional monthly fee. You can have Sky TV on its own or bundled up with Sky broadband.
- Virgin Media TV – All Virgin's TV bundles come with the 4K-ready Virgin 360 set-top box, which lets you record six channels while watching a recording or something on an app. Its top TV package, Ultimate Volt, offers more than 260 channels plus Sky Sports, Sky Cinema and BT Sport as well as Virgin's fastest broadband speeds The one thing you cannot get with Virgin Media is Sky Atlantic.
- BT TV – BT's TV bundles are only available with BT broadband and come with a NOW TV Entertainment membership at their core, along with a Netflix subscription and BT exclusive channel AMC. Sports fans can choose sports packages with either BT Sport or BT Sport and Sky Sport.
- TalkTalk TV – TalkTalk offers a very basic TV package that comes with the option to add on NOW TV memberships. TalkTalk TV is only available with TalkTalk broadband.
- EE TV – EE no longer offers its own TV service, but EE broadband customers can choose to bolt on Apple TV, which provides the option to watch NOW TV memberships for an extra monthly fee.
Frequently asked questions
Does NOW TV stream in 1080p?
NOW TV streams in 720p as standard, rather than in 1080p. However, the NOW TV Boost allows you to watch in full HD, but costs an extra fiver a month.
Is NOW TV cheaper than Sky?
It depends on what services you want. If you just want to watch Sky Atlantic or the latest movies on Sky Cinema, getting a NOW TV membership will work out cheaper. But if you find yourself buying multiple memberships then you might be better off getting a Sky subscription.
Sky Sports is always cheaper if you're a Sky TV customer, but NOW TV's day and month memberships make it possible to just dip in and out when there's something you want to watch.
Can I get a NOW TV box or Smart Stick?
NOW TV no longer offers its own devices, but you can watch your memberships on around 60 different devices, including phones, tablets, laptops, computers and games consoles. It is also supported on YouView.
Can you get NOW TV in 4K?
NOW TV streams in HD (720p) as standard. The NOW TV Boost enables you to watch in full HD (1090p), but the option to watch in 4K/Ultra HD is not available.
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