NOW TV is a subscription-based streaming service that allows you to watch top Sky content on a flexible month-by-month basis. You don’t need a satellite dish and you can choose any combination of NOW TV’s sports, movies, kids, entertainment or reality TV passes.
|Channels||Up to 11 depending on the pass|
|Can bundle with broadband?||Yes|
|Set-top box||NOW TV Smart Box or NOW TV Smart Stick|
|Entertainment Pass from||£7.99 per month|
All NOW TV Passes offer a mix of live channels and on-demand content. The channels you get depend on which passes you choose to take.
The NOW TV Entertainment Pass gives you access to 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. That's only a third of the number of channels that you get with a Sky TV subscription, but it does include arguably Sky's most popular channel, Sky Atlantic. Most people will probably find it plenty.
You also get access to on-demand content with the Entertainment Pass, and catch-up is available for up to 30 days. There are more than 300 box sets from premium channels, with must-see content including Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead.
With NOW TV's Sky Cinema Pass you get more than 1,000 movies on demand, with a wide range of classics and new releases. There are themed movie collections, including science fiction, horror, action, comedy, Disney and romance. Even if you manage to watch your way through the lot, there's a new premiere every day to keep you entertained.
You also get access to 10 live Sky Cinema channels. They are Sky Cinema Premiere, Megahits, Greats, Disney, Family, Action, Comedy, Thriller, Drama and Sci-Fi & Horror. And all this comes in at a price that's noticeably cheaper than getting Sky Cinema through Sky itself or even through a rival provider like BT.
The NOW TV Kids Pass gives you access to six children's channels that aren't on Freeview: Boomerang, Cartoonito, the Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr and Nicktoons. There’s also catch-up and on demand content. There's a simple, picture-based interface, which means that your kids shouldn't be badgering you for help all the time.
There are thousands of episodes to choose from, with plenty of content for kids of all ages, from babies up to teens. Parental controls mean you can choose what your kids are able to watch. However, the lack of Disney channels may leave some customers disappointed.
The Sky Sports Pass works rather differently from NOW TV’s other passes, enabling people who just want to watch occasional sporting events to do so. Whatever length Sports Pass you buy (a day, a week or a month), you'll get access to the same ten channels.
There's a dedicated channel for the Premier League as well as football, cricket, golf, Formula 1 and horse racing.
The Sky Sports Action, Arena and Mix channels cover Rugby Union, Rugby League, boxing, darts, NFL, tennis, athletics and more. There's a Main Event channel dedicated to the biggest live events from across Sky's range of sports channels. And of course there’s Sky Sports News – what else are you going to watch on transfer deadline day?
The Hayu Pass allows you stream the latest reality shows from the US and stay up-to-date with programmes such as Keeping Up with the Kardashians. There are no live channels included but there are more than 5,000 episodes to watch on demand.
You don’t need a NOW TV Smart Box (or Smart Stick) in order to watch NOW TV. You can do so via any device that supports the NOW TV app, such as a games console, streaming stick or tablet. But if you just have a basic TV and are looking for beef up your viewing options, it might be worth getting a NOW TV device.
With the NOW TV Smart Box, you get HD capability, allowing you to choose from 12 HD channels. You can also pause and rewind live TV. Some customers, though, complain about the fact that the programme guide only shows the current programme and the next one: you can’t browse any further ahead.
The NOW TV Smart Box allows you to search for your favourite films and shows using just your voice. And as well as using it to watch your NOW TV passes, you can access apps including BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, My5, UKTV Play and even Netflix.
The cheaper of NOW TV's two hardware options, the Smart Stick turns an ordinary television into a smart TV. And it now comes with HD and voice search and voice control capability. You can also pause live TV for up to 30 minutes. You'll need to sign up for a NOW TV account first; then you just plug the stick in to a spare HDMI port on your TV and away you go.
The NOW TV Sky Sports Month Pass does allow you to watch on the go, but if you're going to be watching mainly on your phone then there is a cheaper way. Ok, this isn't so much an add-on as an alternative to a standard pass, but anyway.
The Sky Sports Mobile Month Pass allows you to watch Premier League action and more on your mobile, but not on your telly. And it costs quite a bit less than the full Sky Sports Month Pass. There’s only five channels included here so it depends what you’re into as to whether this is appealing. The included channels are Sky Sports Premier League, Action, Arena, Racing and for some reason Sky News.
NOW TV doesn't offer a Multiroom package and installation in the same way that Sky or BT does. But it is possible for two of you to watch NOW TV in different rooms at the same time. You can register up to four devices to your NOW TV account and then use two of them simultaneously. Compatible devices include PS4, Xbox One, smart TVs, tablets and phones using iOS or Android.
As with the individual NOW TV passes, you can sign up for either NOW TV or NOW Broadband separately or take both. There are also times when NOW TV bundles them together and it’s at time like these that you can save yourself quite a bit of money.
The bundles vary over time, so sometimes it’ll be a NOW TV Smart Box and NOW Broadband bundled together. At other times it’ll be a specific pass, such as the Sky Cinema Pass that is bundled in with NOW Broadband. Free anytime calls are often included with NOW Broadband deals.
NOW TV doesn’t insist on you being a NOW Broadband customer before you can sign up for NOW TV. You can order the NOW TV Smart Box on its own or with a few months’ worth of passes included. The NOW TV Smart Stick tends to come with a month of Sky Sports, a month of Sky Cinema or two months of Entertainment.
If you don’t want a set-top box or streaming stick and it’s just a NOW TV pass you’re after, that’s ok too. You can start a 14-day free trial of the Entertainment, Kids, Sky Cinema or Hayu pass and then either pay the monthly price or cancel. There’s also often introductory offers and discounts for taking multiple passes at the same time.
The Sky Sports passes work a bit differently. The Sky Sports Month Pass will automatically renew unless cancelled and there’s no free trial period available. The day and week passes are treated as one-off purchases so there’s no need to cancel. Again, look out for special offers and discounts.
In some ways NOW TV is a cut-down version of Sky TV, but it still offers some cracking content. It’s an easy and commitment-free way to access Sky Sports for those important events. And the Entertainment pass is a much cheaper way of watching Game of Thrones than if you were to take out a full Sky subscription. All this without the need for a satellite dish or a lengthy contract.
The NOW TV stick is a really cheap way to turn your standard television into a smart TV, and even comes with voice control. On top of that, the company offers truly unlimited broadband at a decent price. All in all, if you're looking for solid content on a flexible contract and at a good price, NOW TV is fantastic value.
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