In the modern era of streaming TV, the idea of signing up to a pay-TV contract can seem like an outdated concept. In the US, over-the-top (“OTT”) online platforms have become increasingly widespread, as a growing number of people choose to cut the proverbial cord and watch what they want without the pesky commitment of a 12-month contract or being trapped on a service for even longer.
In the UK, Sky has smartly moved ahead of the competition by offering its own over-the-top service: NOW TV. Effectively cutting into its own business before anyone else can think to do it, NOW TV is a move that has paid off royally for Sky, offering easy access to Sky’s TV channels without a contract through an Entertainment Pass, for £7.99 a month. That includes Sky One, Sky Living, Sky Atlantic, Sky Arts, GOLD, Comedy Central, SyFy, ITV Encore, MTV, Challenge, Pick, Viceland, Discovery, Nat Geo Wild, ABC Studios and FOX UK (perfect for anyone wanting to watch The Walking Dead online legally in the UK). Alternatively, you can also get on-demand access to the entire Sky Cinema catalogue with a Sky Cinema Pass for £9.99 a month.
But, of course, Sky’s unique positioning of its NOW TV service means that it cannot be quite as good as Sky proper: there needs to be some reason to sign up for the full premium package. And so NOW TV has traded contract-free access, with 14-day free trials, for slightly lower streaming quality: at a time when Ultra HD is starting to become the new standard, NOW TV’s streaming picture is good enough, but not as good as it gets.
The NOW TV Black Box, Smart Box and Smart Stick are capable of streaming up to 1080p, but NOW TV content is streamed at up to 720p. For other devices, here’s the maximum available streaming quality:
Tablets and smartphones Android & iOS
Windows tablet (using NOW TV app)
Windows tablet (using browser)
Windows PC (using browser)
Windows PC (using NOW TV app or NOW TV Player)
iMac (using NOW TV Player)
Apple TV, Chromecast, EE TV, LG TV, NOW TV Box, NOW TV Smart Box, NOW TV Smart Stick, Roku, PS3, PS4, Samsung TV, Xbox 360, Xbox One
The question on users’ lips, then, is this: Will NOW TV get 4K? Or will it get full 1080p HD?
This year, finally, NOW TV has given an answer, as the streaming service steps up its quality to match rival platforms. By the end of 2018, it will officially introduce full HD live-streaming of NOW TV’s premium channels and sports, as well as full HD on-demand streaming. Neither will be up to 4K quality, which is the key selling point of Sky’s premium Sky Q service, but it will match the most popular package chosen by Netflix subscribers. And, to cap it off, NOW TV will also begin rolling out downloads to mobile apps during spring 2018.
Interested in signing up for NOW TV? Click here for more.