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, 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 pass, Sky Cinema pass, Kids pass and Hayu memberships each last a month, while there are daily, weekly and monthly versions of the Sky Sports pass.
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, including two you can buy from NOW TV itself. 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, Kids 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 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's 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 One, Sky Atlantic, Sky Witness, Sky Arts, FOX, Comedy Central, MTV, Gold, Discovery Channel, SyFy, ABC Studios, Vice, Pick, Challenge and Nat Geo Wild, 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, Hits, Superhero, Disney, Family, Action, Comedy, Thriller, Drama, Horror and Select (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 Membership – The Kids membership gives you 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 the day and week memberships, which don't renew automatically when they expire, and the month pmembership, which does. All three include the full range of 11 Sky Sports channels – Main Event, Premier League, Football, Cricket, Golf, Racing, F1, Action, Arena, Mix and Sky Sports News.
- Sky Sports Mobile Month Membership – This lets you watch five Sky Sports channels – Premier League, Arena, Action, Racing and Sky Sports News – on your mobile, but not on your TV. As the name suggests, it lasts a month and renews automatically unless you cancel.
- NOW Broadband – NOW Broadband offers both ADSL and fibre broadband packages. You can choose whether to go for a 12-month contract or a monthly rolling deal, while there's also the option to add a landline call package.
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.
- NOW TV Smart Box – Plugs into your TV and has voice search capability. You can access more than 50 apps including Netflix, iPlayer and YouTube as well as watching your NOW TV memberships. You can also pause and rewind live TV channels for up to 30 minutes, but there's no record function.
- NOW TV Smart Stick – This plugs directly into your TV's HDMI port and, like the Smart Box, lets you watch your NOW TV memberships on your TV as well as lots of other apps. It also has voice search and lets you pause and rewind (but not record) live TV. The Smart Stick is portable and can be connected to hotel wifi when you're on your travels.
- Streaming sticks and smart TVs – LG smart TVs and newer (2015 onwards) 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 – EE's TV service, which is available to its broadband customers, includes access to the NOW TV app. NOW TV is also available on Apple TV and you can access the Sky Cinema Membership on newer YouView boxes.
- 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, 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.
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. We'll mention here that Plusnet does offer a TV service, but you need to already be a Plusnet broadband customer and then phone up to get it.
- Sky TV – Sky's basic package is Sky Entertainment, which offers more than 300 channels and the Sky Q box, which lets you record three shows while watching a fourth. 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 of Virgin's TV bundles come with the 4K-ready Virgin V6 set top box, which lets you record six channels while watching a recording or something on an app. Its top TV package, Ultimate Oomph, offers more than 260 channels plus Sky Sports, Sky Cinema and BT Sport as well as Virgin's fastest broadband speeds.
- BT TV – BT's TV bundles are only available with BT broadband and all include BT Sport as well as the AMC channel, which is exclusive to BT in the UK. BT's top TV bundle, Max TV, comes with a 4K-enabled YouView box and 55 premium channels on top of the Freeview channels.
- TalkTalk TV – TalkTalk TV's basic package comes with a Freeview box that can pause and rewind live TV, or for an upfront fee you can have a box that records. Both come with Freeview channels and a line-up of 31 premium channels. TalkTalk TV is only available with TalkTalk broadband.
- EE TV – EE's TV offering is a set top box that will store up to 600 hours of TV. It comes with Freeview channels and lets you constantly record up to eight of them with a feature called Replay. There are also loads of apps so you access NOW TV, among other things.
Frequently asked questions
Does NOW TV stream in 1080p?
No, NOW TV doesn't stream in 1080p or full HD. It streams in 720p, known as standard HD. Other streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon deliver content in 1080p but unless you have a big TV (or sit very close to it) then you probably won't notice the difference.
Is NOW TV cheaper than Sky?
It depends on what services you want. If you just want to watch Game of Thrones or 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 range of day, week and month-long memberships makes it possible to just dip in and out when there's something you want to watch.
Can you watch Netflix on a NOW TV box?
Yes, both the NOW TV Smart Box and the NOW TV Smart Stick support the Netflix app.
Can you get NOW TV in 4K?
No, NOW TV only streams in HD (720p).
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