Why choose NOW TV?
NOW TV is a flexible streaming service owned by telecoms giant Sky. Will it work out better than a contract for you? Read on and find out.
- Contract-free TV subscription
- Daily and weekly Sky Sports passes
- No credit checks
- 7-day free trial for Cinema, Entertainment and Kids passes
- You can get Sky Atlantic
- You can watch NOW TV numerous ways
Contract-free TV subscription
NOW TV allows you to dip into paid-for TV channels without committing to a long contract. There are four NOW TV Passes: Entertainment, Kids, Sky Cinema, and Sky Sports. Entertainment, Kids and Cinema are loosely based on the Sky packages of the same names and cost just a few pounds a month. Sky Sports is more expensive (it always is), but you can buy a Pass for a day, week or month.
Daily and weekly Sky Sports Passes
There are several providers that sell Sky Sports on a monthly basis: Sky (obviously), Virgin Media and BT, to name a few. But no one else sells Sky Sports on a daily or weekly basis. Perhaps you just want to watch one match or one tournament? Then a daily or weekly Sky Sports Pass is for you.
Daily and weekly Passes don’t need to be cancelled – they just end – but you’ll need to cancel the monthly Sky Sports Pass if you don’t want to keep watching.
Whatever length pass you opt for, you get the same 10 channels: Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Premier League, Sky Sports Football, Sky Sports Cricket, Sky Sports Golf, Sky Sports F1, Sky Sports Arena, Sky Sports Action, Sky Sports Mix, and Sky Sports News.
No credit checks
Setting up a NOW TV account is easy. If you’re young, new to the country or have a bad credit history, there’s no need to worry as NOW TV doesn’t credit-check customers.
When you sign up for a NOW TV account, NOW checks your bank card is valid by taking 10p out of your account (it pays this back later).
Once you have NOW TV, it’s easy to add NOW Broadband. No further checks will be carried out so a NOW TV account is an easy way to sign up to broadband without going through a credit check.
Plenty of content on the cheap
NOW TV Passes don’t totally replicate the corresponding Sky TV packages – but you get the best stuff. The NOW TV Entertainment Pass gives you access to some of Sky’s best channels including Sky One, Sky Living, Sky Atlantic, Gold, Comedy Central, SYFY, Sky Arts, ITV Encore, Fox, MTV, Discovery, Nat Geo Wild, Challenge, ITV, Pick, Viceland and ABC Studios. There’s also on-demand content and more than 300 boxsets.
NOW TV's Sky Cinema Pass offers more than 1,000 films on-demand, up to 30 new films every month, and 11 live Sky Cinema channels, including Sky Cinema Disney.
The Kids Pass gives you access to Boomerang, Cartoonito, the Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr and Nicktoons, plus catch-up and on demand content.
In addition to the Passes, you can also access various apps, including Netflix, via the NOW TV streaming stick or box.
You get a 7-day free trial for the Cinema, Entertainment and Kids Passes
Want to try before you buy? Or perhaps you just want a free week of TV binging? Either way, you get a 7-day free trial when you sign up for the Cinema, Entertainment or Kids Passes. Your pass will auto-renew after your free trial ends, so make sure you cancel if you don’t want it to carry on.
You can get Sky Atlantic
NOW TV’s Entertainment Pass includes Sky Atlantic, arguably Sky’s most popular channel. It shows brand new episodes of hit shows such as Game of Thrones, Westworld and The Affair.
There are only two ways to get Sky Atlantic: Sky itself or NOW TV. You can’t get it included on TV packages with Virgin Media, BT or TalkTalk. So if you don’t fancy a Sky satellite dish or Sky contract, you can sign up to NOW TV and watch through a games console, online or through a NOW TV box.
NOW Broadband is pretty good
NOW also sells broadband and calls packages. All its broadband products are unlimited and not subject to traffic management, so you don’t have to worry about going over your limit or having your speed restricted.
NOW Broadband’s download speeds are standard (averaging 10Mbps for standard broadband, 36Mbps and 58Mbps for fibre), but its upload speeds are slightly above average. Its Brilliant Broadband deal offers uploads at 1.3Mbps, its Fab Fibre deal at 10Mbps, and the top-end Super Fibre package at 19Mpbs.
NOW Broadband customers receive a Hub Two router which is very similar to the Sky Q: a dual-band 802.11ac router with two 1GB LAN ports.
You can watch NOW TV numerous ways
If you want to watch NOW TV on your Windows PC, laptop or Mac, you'll need to download the NOW TV Player. If you want to watch on your smartphone, tablet, smart TV or games console, you can download the app.
You can also watch NOW TV on your TV using a NOW TV box (which you’ll have to pay for). This gives you HD capability and you can also pause and rewind live TV.
Another option is the voice-controlled NOW TV Smart Stick which basically turns your television into a smart TV. If you buy the stick as a bundle with one of NOW TV’s passes, you’ll get a reduced price.
Downsides to choosing NOW TV
- Picture quality is lower than similar services
- You can’t get it on some popular platforms
- NOW TV Sports Pass is more expensive than Sky Sports
Picture quality is lower than similar services
Back in the early days of high definition (HD), the standard was 720p – that is, the number of lines fo resolution on the screen (determining the sharpness of the picture) was 720. Shortly after we got what was then referred to as ‘True HD’ with a resolution of 1080 lines, referred to generally as 1080p. Most streaming services (Netflix, Amazon, iPlayer, iTunes and more) deliver content at 1080p.
NOW TV, however delivers only 720p, the old standard, and as a result the picture quality it delivers is somewhat lacking by comparison. It’s not terrible by any stretch, and you probably won’t notice on a screen of 40 inches or less. However, the bigger your screen the more this will matter. NOW TV plans to upgrade its stream to 1080p towards the end of this year (2018).
You can’t get it on some popular platforms
Unlike Netflix, for example, which you can get on practically everything, NOW TV isn’t available on every device. In fact there are some notable absences. You can’t get the app on Amazon Fire TV and there are a great many smart TVs you won’t find it on either. Just be sure an check NOW TVs list of compatible devices before signing up, or alternatively scoop up a NOW TV box or NOW TV Stick along with your subscription.
NOW TV Sports Pass is more expensive than Sky Sports
When it comes to sport, NOW TV is sort of an ‘in case of emergency, break glass’-type situation. It’s one of the most expensive ways to watch Sky Sports. Handy if you don’t want to subscribe every month, expensive if you want to be a full-time Sky Sports subscriber.
NOW TV – how to get the best deal
NOW TV’s big selling point is flexibility. Should this make you favour it over the contracts offered by Sky, Virgin Media, BT and the like? Follow these steps to figure it out:
1. You need broadband
It might be obvious, but you need a broadband connection to watch NOW TV. It doesn’t have to be NOW Broadband – any provider will do. NOW TV requires a minimum speed of 2.5Mbps for standard definition and 5Mbps for high definition. However, you generally need speeds a bit faster than this to be on the safe side, especially if you live in a household with other people online. In general, a standard connection will do. If you live in the middle of nowhere where getting a decent speed is an issue, you might struggle.
2. Determine which Pass(es) you want
Unless you live in a household full of kids or full of sports fans, you’ll probably want more than one pass. New customers can take advantage of introductory bundles offering three or six-month Passes for Entertainment, or six-month Entertainment and Sky Cinema, for a reduced price.
NOW TV also advertises special offer bundles from time to time – keep an eye out for them on its offers, discounts and deals page.
3. Would you be better off with a contract elsewhere?
If you know for sure you’ll want one or more of the passes every month, then you should compare the annual cost of this with how much a similar package with other TV providers such as Sky, BT, or Virgin Media would cost you. Flexibility is great, but it can end up costing more than a fixed contract if you're not careful.
With Entertainment, Kids and Cinema passes, and the monthly Sky Sports pass, you'll automatically be charged for another 30 days if you don’t cancel within a month. So you need to be on the ball. If you mainly want to watch boxsets and films, you might be better off with Netflix (no contract required).
4. Do you want NOW Broadband and a calls package?
Have a look at NOW Broadband – it’s a good mid-market offering. You can add a calls package either for evenings and weekends, or anytime, to UK landlines and mobiles, but you may be able to get away without one and just use your inclusive mobile minutes.