Right here, and Now right

FOR 1080p and 7.1 sur­round sound; easy to use; low cost AGAINST No au­to­matic res­o­lu­tion set­ting

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - First Test -

Now TV

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.

Read all about it

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.

Mid-ta­ble clash

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

Choose a shorter

user­name and

pass­word than we

did – you have to

in­put with the

re­mote con­trol

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