NOW TV streaming
By Phil Wilkinson-Jones | Friday, January 29th 2021
NOW TV is one of the UK’s biggest streaming services, offering a wide range of movies, box sets, live sports and more. There are five different NOW TV ‘memberships’ – Entertainment, Sky Cinema, Sky Sports, Kids and hayu – each requiring a separate subscription.
In this guide we’ll tell you everything you need to know about streaming NOW TV including how to sign up, what devices you can use to watch the service and the type of things you can expect to watch. We’ll also take a look at the newest offering from the streaming service – NOW TV Boost.
How to stream NOW TV
The first thing to do is to head over to the NOW TV website and create an account. Once that’s done, you can subscribe to as many NOW TV memberships as you wish. For the Entertainment, Sky Cinema, Kids and hayu memberships, you can take a seven-day free trial before you commit to a monthly membership. The memberships themselves renew automatically at the end of each month, but you can choose to cancel at any time.
The Sky Sports membership works a little differently. There is a monthly membership that renews automatically but there’s no seven-day free trial available. You can also purchase a Sky Sports Day membership that gives you access to the Sky Sports channels for 24 hours – this costs a one-off fee and does not renew.
Once you’ve subscribed to your chosen membership, you’ll need to download the NOW TV app onto whichever devices you’d like to use to watch it (more on that below). There’s only one NOW TV app, so you won’t have to worry about downloading another if you choose to subscribe to another membership later on.
NOW TV is streamed over the internet, so in order to do any of this you’ll need an internet connection. NOW TV suggests you’ll need a speed of at least 2.5Mbps over wifi, or 450Kbps over a 3G or 4G connection. A standard NOW TV membership only streams at 720p, so unless your broadband is painfully slow, you shouldn’t have any problems.
What devices support NOW TV?
You can watch NOW TV on a wide variety of devices including mobiles, tablets and laptops. There are also a number of different ways to watch NOW TV on your actual telly. You can connect up to six devices to one NOW TV account and you can watch simultaneously on any two of those devices.
NOW TV Smart Stick
The NOW TV Smart Stick is a pretty cost-effective way of turning your TV into a smart TV, although it is by no means the only way. The newest version of the device supports HD (although you’ll need the NOW TV Boost to watch NOW TV content in HD) and voice search. As well as the NOW TV app, you can also use the Smart Stick to access apps including Netflix, iPlayer, BT Sport and Disney+, although some of these will require a separate subscription.
The stick allows you to pause and rewind live TV channels for up to 30 minutes but there’s no recording function. You can also connect it to hotel wifi and enjoy NOW TV when you’re staying away.
Watching NOW TV on your TV
If you want to watch NOW TV on your biggest screen, there are alternatives to the NOW TV Smart Stick. Other streaming sticks, such as a Roku device, Chromecast or Amazon Fire TV Stick, will also support the NOW TV app. Selected Sony, LG and Samsung smart TVs will allow you to download the NOW TV app without the need for a streaming stick, as will fourth and fifth generation Apple TVs.
Watching NOW TV through a set top box
If you’re a BT TV or TalkTalk TV customer, you’ll be able to access the NOW TV app via your YouView set top box. EE uses Apple TV to deliver its TV content so its customers can also access the NOW TV app through their set top box.
NOW TV is not supported by Virgin Media, so Virgin customers will need to use one of the other methods we’ve mentioned to access the app. It’s also not supported on Sky Q, despite Sky owning NOW TV.
Watching NOW through a games console
You can access the NOW TV app via certain games consoles, making another way to watch through your TV. Compatible consoles include the PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.
Watching NOW TV on a laptop or mobile device
Most smartphones and tablets will be able to support the NOW TV app. Just make sure you’re using iOS version 11.2 or better on an Apple product or Android version 5 (Lollipop) or newer on an Android device. If you’re watching on a laptop or desktop computer, you’ll need to be using Windows 8.1 or better to run the NOW TV app. For the web browser, you’ll need at least Windows 8 or Mac OSX 10.9 (Mavericks).
What shows can I stream on NOW TV?
There’s absolutely loads of top content to stream on NOW TV, but what you can access will be determined by which membership, or memberships, you’ve subscribed to.
- Entertainment Membership – This membership gives you access to thousands of box sets and TV shows on demand, including some of Sky’s biggest hits like Game of Thrones, Chernobyl, Billions and Bulletproof. And 11 live channels including Sky One and Sky Atlantic
- Sky Cinema Membership – Tonnes of movies to watch on demand here including new releases, Sky originals and old favourites. And you can watch the Sky Cinema channels
- Sky Sports Membership – The sports membership lets you watch the Sky Sports channels, which are home to Premier League football, Test match cricket, F1 races and more
- Kids Membership – Loads of kids shows to watch on demand and six live channels including Nickelodeon
- hayu Membership – The hayu membership offers hundreds of episodes of US reality TV, released at the same time as they premier in the States
For a full breakdown of the live channels available with each of the five NOW TV memberships, check out our guide to NOW TV channels.
What is NOW TV Boost?
People have been calling for NOW TV to start streaming in 1080p (full HD) for years. The time has finally come, but you will have to pay extra for the privilege. As with the NOW TV memberships, you can get NOW TV Boost on a seven-day free trial, it will then auto-renew for as long as you have an active monthly membership, unless you cancel it. As well as being able to watch in HD, you’ll also get to enjoy Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound and be able to stream on three devices simultaneously as opposed to the standard two.
The addition of NOW TV Boost will be welcomed by some, but it still leaves NOW TV lagging behind some of its competitors. Netflix already makes a good chunk of its content available in 4K with its premium package, as does Amazon Prime Video. Relative newcomer Disney+ is another to stream programmes and films in the highest quality available to the viewer, up to 4K.
NOW TV recommends you have a speed of at least 12Mbps in order to make full use of NOW TV Boost. It also warns that there is “limited hayu and Kids content available in full 1080p HD with surround sound”.
Frequently asked questions
What broadband speed do I need to stream NOW TV?
NOW TV recommends you have a wifi speed of at least 2.5Mbps in order to stream in its standard 720p quality. To use NOW TV Boost, which allows you to stream selected content in full 1080p HD, it is recommended you have at least 12Mbps.
Can I stream Box Office events with a NOW TV Sky Sports Membership?
No, a Sky Sports membership will not give you access to pay-per-view Box Office events like boxing and WWE. You can download the Sky Sports Box Office app to buy these events individually and watch it via a streaming stick, smartphone or other device.
How can I watch NOW TV for free?
You can get a free trial of the Entertainment, Sky Cinema, Kids or hayu membership and watch for seven days without paying anything. After the trial, the membership will renew and you’ll be charged for your first month, unless you cancel.
Can you still buy a NOW TV set top box?
No, the NOW TV Box is no longer available to buy. It has been replaced by the NOW TV Smart Stick.
How many devices can I use to watch NOW TV?
You can connect up to six devices to a single NOW TV account and watch on two of them simultaneously. With NOW TV Boost, you can stream on up to three devices at the same time.