Sky has a new Now TV box, and it’s a big step up from the old one.

We’re used to seeing devices get incremental tweaks, but the Now TV box has just undergone a complete overhaul.

Whereas the old Now TV box was capped at 720p, the Now TV (2015) box (as we’re calling it) can output video at 1080p Full HD. The audio has had a bump too: now you get up to 7.1 surround sound passthrough over HDMI.

There’s also an ethernet port, which means it’s no longer limited to wi-fi connections. That will be good for those with dodgy broadband.

Other additions include a USB port which allows you play your own stuff (H.246 MP4 and MKV, AAC, MP3, JPG and PNG), while a microSD card slot lets you expand storage space for apps.

MORE: Sky announces Now TV upgrade plans

The new Now TV box has all of the UK’s main catch-up apps: BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, All 4 (former 4OD) and Demand 5. Subscription-based video seems limited to Now TV – hardly surprising seeing as this is Sky’s show, and Netflix and Amazon Instant Video are its chief rivals.

Sky hasn’t yet revealed what’s under the hood, but it has promised five times the processing speed of the original.

Despite the various additions, the box itself is similar to its predecessor. Sky have used a rebadged and simplified Roku device, using the Roku 2 and 3 boxes as a template. It's a welcome move, considering how much we enjoy the Roku 3.

MORE: Sky Now TV box review

More after the break

The Now TV app is a video streaming subscription service with a twist, allowing you to get Sky content without installing a satelite dish. You can buy monthly or daily passes to Movies, Entertainment (mostly TV shows) and Sport.

Tempted? The Now TV (2015) box is available for £15. You can also get it in bundles: £25 gets you a box, plus a two-month Movies Pass, a three-month Entertainment Pass, or a two-day Sports Pass.

We have one in the building, so expect a full review shortly.

MORE: Sky Now TV app review

Comments

ellebaek's picture

Now TV 5.1 sound?

I see other reports that even though the box is now capable of 1080p+5.1/7.1 the Now TV app still only outputs 720p, which is disappointing.

But what about the sound? The old app only gave 2.0 sound on the old box, I was hoping that the new box will give at least 5.1 sound in the Now TV app?

Ced Yuen's picture

That's a very good point.

That's a very good point. According to Now TV's webpage about streaming quality (last updated as recently as 9 July 2015) the maximum video output is indeed 720p, and I don't believe the box is capable of native upscaling. As for sound, the Now TV box product page only mentions 'passthrough' so I imagine it's the same deal as video - in need of an update. That's the first thing we'll look at when we review the new Now TV box later this month. Meanwhile, I'll have a word with Sky to see if there are changes planned.