Last week Sky launched it’s latest product, the Now TV Box, in an effort to hook non-subscribers into its internet TV service; essentially a white labelled Roku box with fewer services but retailing at a bargain £9.99 as opposed to £50, the NOW TV Box is a tiny piece of kit measuring 84x84x24mm, which turns any television set equipped with an HDMI port into a fully fledged smart TV and provides access to a range of apps including BBC iPlayer, BBC News, Sky News, Demand 5, Spotify, Facebook, Flickr, Vimeo – along with Sky Movies and Sky Sports, for an additional subscription fee, of course.
The Now TV Box is fairly simple to set up, and even the most ardent technophobe should have this up and running in a matter of minutes. Simply hook the box up to your TV’s HDMI input with the cable provided, and follow the on-screen instructions to connect to your home’s Wi-Fi network. You do have to register online for access to the services, and supply credit / debit card details, although you’ll not be charged anything assuming you only want access to the free apps. However, should you want access to Sky’s premium services, then you’ll be looking at £9.99 for a daily Sky Sports subscription, and for Sky Movies’ on-demand it’s £8.99 for the first 3 months and £15 a month thereafter. That’s more than Netflix and LOVEFiLM combined, but you do get a free thirty day trial, so there’s certainly no harm in giving that a whirl if you fancy access to over 700 movies, many of which aren’t available on other subscription services.
Overall, the Now TV Box is a solid piece of kit, especially for the price. I’ve watched a couple of films from the Sky Movies line-up and the image quality was good (the box offers a resolution of “up to 720p”), while the iPlayer and Demand 5 apps also perform admirably. Of course, this isn’t for everyone – if you’ve already got an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, you’d not be getting anything you don’t already have – but for those who don’t and are looking for an affordable way to access iPlayer etc. on your TV set, then you can’t really go wrong.
Gary Collinson is a writer and lecturer from the North East of England. He is the editor-in-chief of FlickeringMyth.com and the author of Holy Franchise, Batman! Bringing the Caped Crusader to the Screen.