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What is Now TV? Sky TV without a dish or contract

What is Now TV?

Now TV is an on-demand streaming service that gives you access to some of the best Sky content without needing Sky TV.

Maybe you can’t get a dish fitted to your house, you can’t get Virgin Media cable in your area or you simply don’t want a lengthy pay TV subscription – but you wouldn’t mind live Premier League football, the latest movies on demand and all the Game of Thrones you can shake a Valyrian steel sword at.

If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to any of the above, then Now TV is for you. Offering access to a range of flexible channel packages, there’s no obligation to sign up for longer than a month with Now TV in most cases. In some, Now TV offers daily and weekly passes.

There’s no connection fee or lengthy installation process. Once you’ve decided what you want from Now TV, you can be signed up and streaming within minutes.

This feature breaks down all of the Now TV packages and prices; we explain how you can access Now TV streams on various devices, browsers and platforms here.

What’s on Now TV?

How to watch Game of Thrones, Star Wars and Premier League football onlineWith Now TV you get the choice of either entertainment, kids, movies and live sports content.

A Now TV Entertainment Pass will give you access to some of the best shows from Sky TV channels including Game of Thrones, Girls, Mad Men, The Tunnel (via Sky Atlantic) Grey’s Anatomy, Elementary, Scandal (via Sky Living) South Park, The Daily Show (via Comedy Central) and 11.22.63 and American Dad! (via Fox), which can be streamed as they’re being broadcast or watched on a catch-up basis. Kids channels Nickelodeon and Nick Jr – home to SpongeBob SquarePants and Peppa Pig – are currently available with an Entertainment Pass but will be moving to the Kids Pass later this year.

The forthcoming Kids Pass, launching June 21, will be the new home of Nickelodeon and Nick Jr as well as Cartoon Network, Cartoonito, Boomerang and Nicktoons.

With a Now TV Movies Pass, you’ll be able to live stream all 11 Sky Movies channels plus tap into a movie library that’s filled with over 1,000 tiles (at the time of writing).

Current movies on offer include all six Star Wars movies and a multi-year deal with Disney means that Now TV will be the first places you’ll be able to watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens later this year. Other recently added Sky Movies titles include Terminator Genisys, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Chappie and Cinderella.

A Now TV Sports Pass gives you access to live streams from all Sky Sports channels, that’s Sky Sports 1-5 plus Sky Sports News HQ and Sky Sports F1.

One drawback of Now TV is that content library refreshes pretty quickly – stuff doesn’t stick around for long, so if you see something you want to watch, don’t let it sit there. The length of time a show sticks around varies (depending on rights) but you tend to get 21 days to catch up on something you’ve missed.

How much do Entertainment, Kids, Movies and Sports passes on Now TV cost?

Trial Period Daily Pass Weekly Pass Monthly Pass
Entertainment Pass 14 days n/a n/a £6.99
Kids Pass 14 days n/a n/a £2.99
Movies Pass 14 days n/a n/a £9.99
Sports Pass n/a £6.99 £10.99 £31.99

Does it cost any more to watch Now TV in HD?

What is HD? The difference between 720p, 1080i and 1080pNo. That said, the maximum streaming quality also peaks at 720p HD. Even if you’ve got sufficient bandwidth, there’s no way for you to enjoy any Now TV content in 1080p Full HD.

Even though devices like the Now TV Box are capable of handling 1080p streams, Now TV content is still currently capped at 720p.

What channels do you get with a Now TV Entertainment pass?

The Entertainment pass gives you live and catch-up content from Sky 1, Sky Living, Sky Atlantic, Gold, Comedy Central, Sky Arts, ITV Encore, Fox, MTV, Discovery, Nickelodeon, Disney Channel and NickJr.

Come July with the launch of the Now TV Kids Pass, the Entertainment Pass line-up of channels will change – see our report on the changes for more details.

Note that while the great majority of content that’s available to watch live can also be watched on a catch-up basis, not absolutely every show that’s broadcast live will be available to watch later on demand – Law and Order: Criminal Intent and Monk, both Fox programmes, are two examples.

Additionally, box set content from ABC Studios is also available to watch on catch-up – but not on live TV.

What children’s shows do you get with a Now TV Kids Pass?

Now TV announces Kids Pass: Adventure Time for £2.99When the Now TV Kids Pass launches later this year, you’ll get access to cartoons like Adventure Time, Powerpuff Girls, SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer and other shows from Boomerang, Cartoon Network, Cartoonito, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr and Nicktoons.

As well as this you’ll get access to on-demand content from the BBC’s CBBC and CBeebies channels and Channel 5’s Milkshake!.

The Kids Pass will also boast a new user interface that’s been designed specifically for kids. As well as promising easier navigation, Kids Pass subscribers (in other words, Mum and Dad) will be able to make use of age restriction tools and a screen lock feature, stopping any little hands from accidentally pausing or exiting a TV show.

What films do you get with the Now TV Movies pass?

There are currently more than 1,000 movies available to watch on demand with Now TV. You also get access to all 11 Sky Movies channels – Sky Movies Premiere, Sky Movies Drama & Romance, Sky Movies Greats, Sky Movies Family, Sky Movies Action & Adventure, Sky Movies Comedy, Sky Movies Crime & Thriller, Sky Movies Showcase, Sky Movies Sci Fi & Horror, Sky Movies Select and Sky Movies Disney.

Five new movies are added to the on-demand library every week and you’ll get to watch up to 16 premieres a month.

What Sky Sports channels can you get on Now TV?

All seven Sky Sports channels – Sky Sports 1-5, Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports News HQ – are available with the Sports Pass.

These channels give you live Premier League football, PGA EuroPro golf, Rugby League, T20 cricket and the Ashes, Formula 1 racing and more.

What is the Now TV Box like?

The Now TV Box is an inexpensive Apple TV-like device that plugs into a spare HDMI port on your TV and connects to your router via WiFi or Ethernet. It’s one of the easiest and best ways to watch Now TV streams on your TV.

We’ve posted the key specifications for the Now TV Box (2015 edition) below, but check out our review for a lowdown on the full specifications.

  • Size: 89x89x25mm
  • Weight: 141 grams
  • WiFi: 802.11 dual-band (a/b/g/n), WEP, WPA and WPA2 supported
  • Ethernet: Yes (10/100)
  • USB: Yes (currently unsupported)
  • MicroSD: Yes (currently unsupported)
  • Video output: Up to Full HD 1080p
  • Audio output: Digital over HDMI (5.1 and 7.1 surround supported via passthrough)

Later in the year Now TV will release a new Now TV Smart Box which promises to offer the same digital terrestrial TV channels you’d get on a Freeview HD box plus streamlined access to Now TV content.

Is the Now TV Box easy to set up?

The Now TV Box is very much a plug and play type device; set up takes a matter of minutes. All you need to do it connect it to your TV, plug in the mains adapter, turn your TV’s source to the correct HDMI port and follow the simple on-screen instructions.

If you’re connecting to the Internet over WiFi make sure you’ve got your password to hand.

What other apps can I get on the Now TV Box?

As well as giving you streamlined access to Now TV’s live streams and catch-up libraries, the Now TV Box also comes with apps including BBC iPlayer, YouTube, All 4, ITV Hub, Demand 5, Vimeo, GoPro and many more, meaning you can catch up on the best content available from the UK’s public service broadcasters and the best from the web.

You can even install third party apps on the Now TV Box by turning on developer mode, which we show you how to do here.

Read next: How to get Now TV – Streaming online, on your phone and on your TV