NOW TV unveils new NOW TV Box and interface
James R | On 16, Jun 2015
NOW has unveiled a new NOW Box and interface.
The VOD service, which offers contract-free access to Sky, breaks down into three packages: Sky Movies for £9.99 a month (over 1,000 movies on-demand), Sky Sports (all 7 Sky Sports channels live) for £8.99 a day or £14.99 a week, and Sky Entertainment (13 pay TV channels live and on-demand, including Sky 1, Sky Atlantic, Sky Living, FOX, MTV, and Nickelodeon).
The streaming site first launched its own set top box in July 2013. The streaming media device, which is powered by Roku and includes all Freeview catch-up apps (but no Netflix or Amazon Prime), has since become the most popular way for customers to use NOW. Indeed, the box has been a success for Sky, largely thanks to its affordable price tag of £9.99, far below its rivals, such as Amazon’s Fire TV and Google Chromecast.
Now, the current box is being given an upgrade. The new box will include an Ethernet port to support a wired, as well as wireless, connection and a processor that is five times faster. There is no word on whether it will include rival SVOD services (it is unlikely), but Sky says it will offer customers an “even faster and smoother experience”.
The next generation NOW Box will have a next-gen price to go with it: the box will go on sale in August for £14.99.
The all-new box will be accompanied an upgrade to the user interface, with changes rolled out over the coming months to make it “even quicker and easier” for customers to find the channels and content they want. Updates, which will be rolled out later this year, will include an improved search function and introduce an autoplay function that will allow customers to play the next episode of a TV show mid-binge. Users will also be able to tag and save favourite shows to make them easier to find.
The announcement follows a strong period for the VOD service. In the most recent quarter, NOW customer growth jumped 30 per cent versus the same period in the previous year.
“NOW has established real momentum since it launched nearly three years ago. The acceleration in our customer growth shows NOW is attracting customers in a way that is complementary, not at odds, with the Sky TV service,” says Stephen van Rooyen, Chief Marketing & Digital Officer.
“As with the Sky platform we are committed to constant improvement so we can produce the best experience for customers as well as developing exciting new services and features for them to enjoy.”
It also marks an ongoing string of improvements in the VOD sector: rival Netflix has just announced a new interface for web browsers, putting pressure on Amazon to improve its own website layout – despite the integration of Prime Instant Video in the past year, the retailer’s interface dates back to before both of its competitors.