We go hands-on with Now TV's new Smart Box, the set-top telly box that comes bundled with the Now TV Combo deal. Here's our hands-on Now TV Smart Box review, including specs, connectivity, file support and UK price and release date.
Along with the new Now TV Combo deal, which gives you full flexibility over your TV, broadband and calls package with no binding contract, the company also just revealed its new Now TV Smart Box. This chunky set-top box connects to your telly and turns it into a smart TV, with access to whatever Now TV channels you sign up for.
The Now TV Smart Box looks an awful lot like the Roku 4, a £70 set-top box that's already taking on the likes of Amazon's Fire TV and the Nvidia Shield TV. Now TV's gizmo is another glossy box, this time with the Now TV branding stamped on top, plus the usual selection of ports for connecting to your TV.
What ports does the Now TV Smart Box have?
Housed on the back you'll find an aerial port, Ethernet connection (if you want a super-nippy alternative to WiFi), HDMI port and a DC port for powering the Smart Box. There's also a microSD memory card slot, so you can fill a card with your favourite media and play directly through the box.
Swivel to the right edge and you'll spot a USB port too, so you can connect a drive and do the same. See the Now TV Smart Box specs guide below for info on supported file formats.
What are the Now TV Smart Box specs?
The Smart Box weighs just 432g and measures 165mm x 165mm x 21mm.
Now TV's Smart Box is powered from the mains, using a 12V - 2A power adapter. Power consumption is less than 14.2W when active and less than 0.5W when in standby.
As well as 10/100 Base-T Ethernet connectivity, you can connect to the internet using 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi, with support for WEP, WPA and WPA2.
The Now TV Smart Box's visual output is in 720p or 1080p, with a 16:9 anamorphic aspect ratio.
Audio output is via HDMI, with suppport for 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound.
Files supported via USB include MP4 (H.264) and MKV (H.264) for video; MP3, AAC and WMA for audio; and JPG, PNG and GIF for images.
Now TV Smart Box remote and accessories
The Now TV Smart Box comes bundled with a dinky remote, which is a lot more basic than remotes from the likes of Sky Q, but similar to rivals such as the Nvidia Shield TV. It's not sexy like the Shield's remote, but it's perfectly functional with easy-to-find buttons (good news if you like channel-surfing in the dark). It's also quite light, and a bit of a chunky monkey.
You also get an HDMI cable bundled with the Now TV Smart Box, so you can get connected to your TV without hassle.
Now TV Smart Box apps and features
As well as giving you full access to your chosen Now TV channel passes, the Smart Box can stream free-to-watch channels such as the BBC. The new pause and rewind feature works with all channels, so you can stop a show if you need an urgent bathroom break. In fact, with up to thirty minutes of pause time supported, you can even fix yourself some lunch.
The Now TV Smart Box also gives you access to Catch Up TV, such as BBC's iPlayer, the ITV Hub and All 4.
And you can download over 50 supported apps onto the Smart Box, including YouTube, Spotify and Sky News, to stream other media and stay up to date with the world's happenings.
Now TV Smart Box UK price and release date
The Now TV Smart Box will be available to buy in the UK from early July for £39.99. It's also bundled for free with the new Now TV Combo deal.