Now TV Stick overview: Now you may get two months of Leisure free

Now TV Stick review: You can now get two months of Entertainment free


Deal substitute: By clicking onto the Sainsbury’s website, It’s possible you’ll in the mean time select up a Now TV Wise Stick with Voice Search and a two-month subscription to the Now TV Leisure bundle deal for the worth of £15. That’s the usual worth of the stick by itself, which implies that you just’re efficiently getting two months of top of the range TV reveals with out spending a dime.

Jonathan’s overview continues beneath.

{The marketplace} for premium TV inside the UK is altering. After years of being a straight battle between cable and satellite tv for pc television for laptop, Sky has lastly accepted that the long term is on-line and, by the highest of the yr, it should probably be upgrading its Now TV streaming service to 1080p. The company’s new Now TV Stick, priced at a phenomenally low value £15, is arriving at an essential time for the company and its transition to a further streaming-centric world.

The {{hardware}} itself is way much less attention-grabbing than the change of route it represents, the long term it ensures and the content material materials it enables you to entry. Nonetheless, there’s no doubting that it’s a compelling offering.

READ NEXT: Sky Q review – why Sky’s premium TV system is still the best


Sky Now TV Stick overview: What you get and setup

In your £15, or the value of a cinema ticket, there’s no denying that the Now TV Stick is excellent value for money. Throughout the area, there’s the stick itself, a USB cable and an affect adapter, plus a distant administration. All of its big-name rivals are £30 or further.

You be part of it as you may a Chromecast or Amazon Hearth TV Stick. The stick plugs proper right into a spare HDMI port and the USB cable is used to feed it with power; you be part of that to a spare port on the once more of your TV or use the mains adapter in case you don’t have a free USB port.

READ NEXT: Sky Now TV passes explained

A number of points to concentrate to. First, the Stick doesn’t embody an HDMI extension cable, which suggests that in case your TV has rear-facing HDMI ports, you’ll need pretty somewhat little bit of clearance on the rear to swimsuit it in. Second, should you want to draw power from a TV’s USB socket you’ll wish to be certain the output is 1A or above.


In another case, setup is a breeze, as you’d anticipate of a instrument manufactured by streaming TV veteran Roku. As quickly because the stick has booted and likewise you’ve transformed to the appropriate provide in your TV, you choose your Wi-Fi neighborhood (the stick helps dual-band connection), enter its password after which log in to your Now TV account. All the course of takes decrease than 5 minutes – besides your protection is to utilize a masochistically prolonged Wi-Fi password, full of numbers and specific characters.

Get a 14-day free trial to Now TV Entertainment

Throughout the technique of setting points up, you’ll moreover get your first experience of the distant administration, which has seen a lightweight redesign over the outdated Now TV Wise TV Subject. It’s nonetheless correctly rounded and isn’t overladen with an entire lot of varied controls, nonetheless this time there are a number of additional shortcut buttons to the Dwell TV and Youngsters sections, plus an affect button on the prime and amount controls on the side which can be utilized to handle your TV.

Oh, and it’s moreover a Wi-Fi distant, so that you just don’t need to stage it at one thing particularly to get your directions to register.


Sky Now TV Stick overview: New choices, voice administration and client interface

There’s one different new button on the Now TV Stick’s distant administration, too, and that’s a telltale sign of the Now TV Stick’s marquee operate. Press and preserve the model new microphone button and likewise you’ll activate the Stick’s voice-search facilities, which could be utilized to hunt for TV programmes, actors and so forth, in its place of tortuously using the distant’s five-way pad to navigate the onscreen keyboard.

It actually works pretty correctly, too. It picked up my fairly incoherent mumblings exactly most of the time, although it does seem to have only a few odd gaps in its capabilities. When you possibly can shout the names of TV reveals, movies, actors, genres and directors into your distant to hunt out what it’s essential watch, and even launch apps with a single utterance, it’s possible you’ll’t navigate to specific particular person channels by voice, not even contained in the confines of Sky’s private content material materials.


So, while you possibly can ask for “Sport of Thrones”, or movies directed by “Steven Spielberg”, it’s possible you’ll’t ask for “Sky Atlantic”. You’ll should navigate to the channel you want using the TV info. It’s irritating, nonetheless it’s a reasonably easy system to familiarize your self with, significantly as a result of the effectivity of the Stick is so snappy.

One different new operate is which you’ll be able to pause TV on all of Now TV’s reside channels, along with reside sport, which is a nice contact. The operate wasn’t accessible on the time of writing – it’s coming as quickly because the Stick formally hits the cupboards – so I’ll substitute this overview as soon as I’ve had the chance to supply it a test drive. It’s really an excellent issue to have, though, significantly for sports activities actions followers.


To associate with the model new choices, the Now TV Stick moreover debuts a brisker client interface. It’s clearly been carefully influenced by the Sky Q system and the good news is that it’s far more easy to utilize than on the bigger set-top area.

Click on on the Residence button on the distant administration and likewise you’ll be taken to a show with a sequence of six shortcut hyperlinks down the left-hand side. There’s moreover a grid of thumbnails to the suitable displaying quite a few bits of promoted content material materials, plus a line for programmes to “proceed watching”.

There are further sections on the left, too. “Higher of Catch Up” is further promoted programming, this time drawn from all sources, not merely Sky. You then’ve the TV info, minimize up into “Leisure”, “Movies”, “Sports activities actions” and “Youngsters” for less complicated navigation. There’s moreover a text-search risk on the homescreen and entry to the Stick’s settings.


It’s all pretty easy stuff, nonetheless there are nonetheless only a few areas the place it’s decided need of enchancment. The so-called TV info for the reside channels, for example, is nothing of the sort. All you get should you click on on on it is what’s on now and subsequent. There’s fully no strategy of seeing what’s arising previous that, and so there’s no strategy of planning your evening’s TV-watching slobbery.

If that wasn’t harmful ample, it’s possible you’ll’t use the search to hint down specific TV channels contained in the quite a few apps – a search for “BBC 2” ends within the digital equal of a noncommittal shrug – and the onscreen keyboard stays to be, infuriatingly, not QWERTY. While you would possibly in no way accuse the Now TV Stick of being troublesome to utilize, these quirks do grate significantly.


Sky Now TV Stick overview: Content material materials

It’s moreover worth declaring, sooner than I’m going any further on this overview, that the Now TV Stick is inside the Stone Ages in relation to image top quality. That will change in route of the highest of the yr when Sky says it might probably begin to stream at Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) resolution. Until that happens, though, you’ll be caught watching your TV, movies and sports activities actions at a smeary, snug, detail-free 720p. Ugh.

On small kitchen and mattress room TVs, that will not be an issue, nonetheless on better TVs, notably 49in and above, you’ll uncover this instantly. The Now TV Stick is, subsequently, not the product for you in case you’re avidly rebuilding your Blu-ray assortment in UHD 4K. And in case you’re trying to find a product in order so as to add snappier effectivity to your frustratingly sluggish good TV, don’t bother. The lower top quality outweighs any revenue that the voice search, ease of use and effectivity could convey.


And what it’s possible you’ll watch on the Stick is pretty restricted as correctly. Acquired a Netflix account? You gained’t be watching it on this. Have an Amazon Prime account? Go buy an Amazon Hearth TV Stick in its place. Positive, it does have BBC iPlayer, My5, All 4, ITV Hub and YouTube (as soon as extra, all in 720p) and, certain, it’s possible you’ll arrange a bunch of various fairly low-grade TV streamer apps. Nonetheless, you’ll be able to do all this in 1080p – and watch Netflix and Amazon Video – in case you spend £15 further on a Roku stick in its place. (As an aside, should you want to stream in 4K, you’ll need the dearer Roku Streaming Stick+, which is £69 on Amazon.)

There are a number of causes it’s possible you’ll must buy the Now TV Stick as we converse, though, and the first one is that it’s most definitely essentially the most inexpensive, most versatile strategy of watching Sky Sports activities actions correct now. Presently, a month-to-month subscription to the non-HD channels on Sky Q costs from £18 month-to-month on prime of your widespread Sky TV subscription; that’s in all probability not cost-effective in case you solely want to observe the occasional Premier League match involving your mid-table side and don’t have any actual curiosity in following the cricket or Technique 1.

Get a 14-day free trial to Now TV Entertainment

With Now TV’s day (£6.99) and week passes (£10.99), it’d work out cheaper, significantly in case you’re mixing and matching with completely different suppliers equal to BT Sport. Nonetheless, it’s most definitely best to stay away from habitually paying for the month-to-month go, which costs a hefty £34 month-to-month.

The Now TV leisure bundle deal may probably be worth grabbing, too, for early entry to Sky-exclusive programmes equal to Sport of Thrones or Westworld. I’m going to reiterate, though, that they don’t look good watched at 720p on an infinite TV.


There are moreover Cinema (£9.99 month-to-month) and Youngsters (£2.99 month-to-month) passes accessible, although with associated content material materials accessible in elevated top quality on completely different platforms, that’s a lot much less of a draw.

So, what about Now TV’s much-vaunted contract-free broadband packages? They’re tempting in case you really don’t just like the idea of being tied to a provider for 18 months at a time. Nonetheless, they’re not tied into the company’s Now TV merchandise as they as quickly as had been, since it’s possible you’ll be part of the service with out shopping for a Now TV go or TV {{hardware}} first.

NOW TV Smart Box with 3 Months Entertainment Pass

Sky Now TV Stick overview: Verdict

The Now TV Stick is definitely low value. Who thought only a few years up to now you’d be succesful to buy a 1080p-capable TV streaming stick for the worth of a (very) fast spherical of beers in a London pub? And it has some smart attraction to those decided to take a look at Sky Sports activities actions and distinctive TV reveals with out having to enroll to an 18-month Sky TV, Virgin Media or BT TV bundle deal.

It’s moreover easy to utilize, simple to rearrange and – as long as Sky retains its phrase – will ship programming at 1080p top quality by the highest of the yr as correctly.

If, nonetheless, you’re merely after an trustworthy streaming stick to boost the responsiveness and worth of your TV, I’d counsel you to look elsewhere. There merely isn’t the breadth of content material materials accessible on Now TV as there’s elsewhere and, on completely different {{hardware}}, it’s possible you’ll get 1080p and above correct now.

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