Right here, and Now right
FOR 1080p and 7.1 surround sound; easy to use; low cost AGAINST No automatic resolution setting
Smart TV service
For a moment, Sky's Now TV box had fallen slightly behind its rivals. It wasn’t so much that we were particularly bothered about being unable to stream from competing services such as Netflix or Amazon Instant Video – after all, you wouldn’t expect to buy Sainsbury’s products at Tesco. No, what concerned us most was that Now TV couldn’t match its competitors’ 1080p Full HD video output, and that was enough to drop its fifth star.
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But if you were reading the news report on our excellent website whathifi.com back in March 2015, then you’ll know this has now been remedied. The box – essentially a rebranded version of the Roku 2 – also has 7.1 and 5.1 surround-sound pass through.
We sign up for our free 30-day trial of the Movies package, which is easy – although after typing our username and password in with a remote control, in hindsight we wish we had chosen shorter ones.
Now with ethernet
£15 plus subscription
The new ethernet input now bypasses any issues you might have with temperamental wireless broadband, and once you're signed in there’s nothing much for you to do except visit the settings and change video output from 720p to 1080p.
Just one slight gripe. It would be nice to have an ‘automatic’ setting here, to see the content in its native format. It would save unnecessary scaling and, in theory, could give a better picture. In terms of general picture and sound quality, Now TV performs as well as the standard Sky+ box, with no noticeable drop in quality.
Now TV claims the new box is five times faster than its predecessor and we’re inclined to believe that. Navigation is simple, tidy and quick. Not once do we have to wait for the box to catch up, something that many Smart TVS can't boast.
We find and select everything we’d like to see – whether it’s from Sky Movies’ catalogue, the live channel stream or other catch-up TV services. All of the main players are here – BBC iplayer, ITV Player, All 4 (formerly 4OD) and Demand 5 – and our selected content plays almost immediately.
We can have no complaints about the box itself, or the apps that come with it. Most of what you’ll need is already there, but there’s also a microsd slot so you can expand storage and add more. You can also access a range of additional apps, from Spotify to Facebook and Flickr. Sure, they have ostracised competitors, but the plethora of content is quite incredible – especially for such a modest asking price.
The box is £15, then monthly passes for Movies and Entertainment are £10 and £7 respectively. Sports channels are steeper, beginning at £7 for a day pass, but if you were adamant on watching every mid-table Eredivisie clash or F1 practice session, you’d probably have a full subscription anyway.
Starter packages are also available for just £25, which includes the price of the box and either two months of Movies, three
“Sure, Now TV has ostracised competitors, but the plethora of content is quite incredible – especially for such a modest asking price”
months of Entertainment or two days of Sports programmes.
For Smart TV and Sky content on a budget, this can’t really be bettered. If the available content suits your needs and your viewing habits, we struggle to see how this could be achieved more simply or at more reasonable cost.
Now TV has 1080p Full HD output, 7.1 surround sound and an impressive array of features and content
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