Our Verdict 
For the outlay, Now TV offers a very satisfactory package
For 
Box has caught up with 1080p and 7.1 surround sound spec
Easy to use
More-than-reasonable cost
Against 
Sky doesn’t yet broadcast to the box’s full potential
No auto resolution setting
Reviewed on

Sky’s Now TV box had fallen slightly behind its rivals. It wasn’t so much that we weren’t able to stream from competing services such as Netflix or Amazon Instant Video – you wouldn’t expect to buy Sainsbury’s products at Tesco, after all.

What concerned us was that Now TV couldn’t match its competitors’ 1080p Full HD video output, and that was enough to drop its fifth star.

But if you read our news report in March, you’ll know that has now been remedied. The box – essentially a rebranded version of the much-heralded Roku 2 – also has 7.1 and 5.1 surround sound pass through.

MORE: Now TV Smart Box review

Ease of use

We sign up for our free 30-day trial of the Movies package, which is dead easy (though, spending 15 minutes typing in our username and password with a remote control makes us wish we'd chosen shorter ones).

The new Ethernet input now bypasses any issues you might have with temperamental wireless broadband, then there’s nothing much for you to do once signed in except visit settings and change video output from 720p to 1080p (it would be nice to have an ‘automatic’ setting here, to see the content in its native format).

More after the break

Picture

Now TV claims the new box is five times faster than its predecessor and we’re inclined to believe them. Navigation is simple, tidy and ever so quick.

Not once do we have to wait for the box to catch up, which is more than many, far more expensive Smart TVs can say for themselves. 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 service (BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, All 4 – formerly 4OD – and Demand 5 are all here) – and it plays almost immediately.

Features

We can have no complaints about the box itself, or its apps; most of what you’ll need is already there and there’s a microSD slot to expand storage for more (you can access a range, from Spotify to Facebook and Flickr). Sure, they have ostracised competitors, but – and especially for the asking price – the plethora of content is quite incredible.

Having paid £14.99 for the box – the price of three or four pints in most places – monthly passes for Movies and Entertainment are only £9.99 and £6.99 respectively.

Sports channels are a tad steeper, beginning at £6.99 for a day pass, but if you were adamant on watching every mid-table Eredivisie clash you’d probably have a full subscription anyway. (For £24.99, starter packages are also available for the box and two months of Movies, three months of Entertainment or two days of Sports.)

Verdict

If Sky isn't your particular cup of tea and you're looking for a 4K fix, there's always the excellent Amazon Fire TV (2015) box.

But, for Smart TV and Sky content on a budget, this can’t really be bettered. If the available content suits your needs, we struggle to see how this could be achieved more simply or at more reasonable cost.

MORE: Best streaming TV 2015

Where to buy View all »

Now TV box (2015)
£24.79
New, used, refurbished and collectable products at great prices, safely and securely from third parties, at Amazon.co.uk.
£14.99
Buy Online and Get Delivered the Same Day, 7 days a Week Including Sundays.
The Competition 

Roku 2

Our Rating 
40%
Price from £59

Roku 3

Our Rating 
80%
Price from £69

Amazon Fire TV (2015)

Our Rating 
0%
Breakdown 
Sound
Picture
Features
Ease of use