What is Now TV? Ultimate guide to Now TV channels and how to get Now TV for free
So you’ve watched everything on Netflix and Amazon Prime. What now? It’s time for Now TV. Here’s everything you need to know, including Now TV channels, Sky Sports access, what the Entertainment Pass offers – plus how to get free Now TV.
Sky’s very own online streaming service offers top-quality TV but without the box, satellite dish or having to sign up to a lengthy contract. Sounds ideal, right? But what exactly is on offer, how do you get it and how much does it cost? Here’s everything you need to know about Now TV in 2018.
Related: Now TV box review
Now TV channels – what can I watch and how much does it cost?
Now TV essentially offers access to Sky’s on-demand catalogue, but, much like its full-fat satellite subscription packages, what you can watch depends on what you pay.
There are four passes – Entertainment, Sky Cinema, Kids and Sky Sports – which you pay for on a rolling monthly basis. As such you can cancel whenever you want to, but be aware that Sky will continue taking the money until you say stop.
You can opt for just a single pass or a combination, and each one provides access to a different range of shows.
At £4 a month, the Kids pass is the cheapest – but if you decide your own bedtime and are no longer afraid of the dark, then there probably won’t be much here that’s aimed at you.
For those with children, however, this pass offers access to six live channels, plus thousands of shows on-demand, including The Thundermans, iCarly, and Blaze and the Monster Machines (whatever they are).
What’s more, they’re ad-free, so you won’t have to worry about little Jemima and Saxon becoming indoctrinated by capitalism too early.
Related: Best streaming sites
The Entertainment pass offers over 300 series for £7.99 a month. It’s here that you’ll find most of the good stuff, because it includes shows from 11 Sky channels including Fox, Comedy Central, Viceland and the programmes Sky buys off HBO for Sky Atlantic. There’s even the odd good show from Sky One.
Whether you’re looking to keep up with recent shows such as Westworld, The Walking Dead and the return of Twin Peaks, or catch up on classics you missed the first time round such as The Sopranos, Mad Men and True Detective (although you can stop after the first series of that one), the Entertainment pass gives you access to an ever-growing library of Netflix-challenging TV.
Look out for lesser-known but no less brilliant shows such as Gomorrah, Atlanta and The Jinx, too, which are just a click away.
The only issue is that programmes come and go – there’s no Game of Thrones available at the moment, for example. Without the ability to download anything, you could find yourself four episodes from the end of The Sopranos when it’s suddenly removed, with no idea if or when it’s coming back.
If you want to check whether a particular show is available, justwatch.com is your friend – although it won’t warn you if a programme is about to disappear.
Related: Best TVs
The most expensive monthly pass is Sky Cinema, which will set you back £9.99. However, if you want to stream recent movies without paying having to pay rental charges then it’s only here that you can access such big flicks soon after they stop showing at your local Odeon.
A Sky Cinema pass will let you watch Wonder Woman, Baby Driver, and the much-better-than-you’d-expect-it-to-be remake of Ghost in the Shell, while also offering an excellent back catalogue that includes such classics as The Godfather, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Big.
Unlike Netflix and Amazon, whose film catalogues drastically drop off in quality once you get through the top layer, there’s real depth to Sky’s offering, with critically acclaimed cult indies sitting alongside family favourites, self-satisfied Oscar winners and easy-watchers to get you through a hangover.
Does Now TV have Sky Sports?
Sky’s major selling point is its unmatched offering of Premier League football, Formula 1 and golf, so if there’s a big match or race on that you want to watch, a £7.99 Sky Sports Day Pass will provide access to Sky’s sports channels for, you’ve guessed it, 24 hours.
For an additional £4 you can have access for a whole week, while £33.99 gets you a month. The latter works like one of the other auto-renewing monthly passes – and while it sounds pricey, it’s cheaper than a regular Sky subscription with access to the sports channels. However, obviously you can’t record and there’s no access to any of the non-sports channels.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that you’re relying on a decent internet connection. If it goes down during the big match, you won’t be able to pick up where you left off once it’s up and working again.
Related: Sky Q review
How do I watch Now TV?
You can access Now TV via a web browser on your computer, via your phone or tablet using the dedicated app, or from a huge range of devices from games consoles to streaming sticks and TVs.
Now TV has its own range of hardware that you plug into your TV, including the tiny, voice-controlled Now TV Smart Stick (£14.99) or the Now TV Smart Box (£49.99), which also includes a Freeview tuner and allows you to pause and rewind live TV as you can with Sky Q.
Smart TVs from Samsung and LG have a dedicated app – those from Sony and Panasonic are excluded for now – and you can also access Now TV via a Google Chromecast, Apple TV, and all Roku streamers. That only really leaves Amazon’s Fire TV devices out in the cold.
Got a PS4 or Xbox One? Well you can access Now TV through those devices, too, and if you have a PS3 or Xbox 360 kicking around then you can use them as very large Now TV boxes as well. Unfortunately, Nintendo’s Switch is yet to join the fray.
In short, it’s almost more difficult to find a device that doesn’t support Now TV than one that does.
Your account can be registered for use on up to five devices, plus you can watch on two of them at the same time, which opens up the possibility for a bit of sneaky account sharing. Not that we’d ever condone that sort of thing.
Related: Game of Thrones season 8
Can I record Now TV?
The short answer is no. Now TV is built as a streaming platform so there’s no recording mode – and none of the Now TV boxes have storage or timer functions anyway. So if you’re hoping to ditch your Sky box but still pile up the recordings while you’re away, you’re out of luck. If you’ve missed a show, your best bet is to use Now TV’s catch-up features, which go back anywhere between seven to 30 days.
Can Now TV do 4K?
And now we get to Now TV’s other major caveat. No matter what you watch it on, output is limited to 720p HD, which would be fine if this was 2010, but it isn’t. At least it means the service doesn’t demand too much from your internet connection.
Considering Sky started broadcasting HD in the UK before any of the terrestrial channels, it’s something of a surprise that Now TV is limited in this way – but the idea is to keep something back for its ‘proper’ subscribers.
Netflix and Amazon don’t have that to worry about, hence the existence of their 4K tiers, but with Ultra HD now part of the package for Sky Q’s most high-rolling customers, you’d think Now TV could at least stretch to 1080p.
Best NOW TV Deals
An easy and cheap way to get the best that Sky offers alongside all the catch-up services you could want.
How to get Now TV for Free: Get Now TV for less
Apart from the Sports Pass, the other three all offer 14-day trials for free – but you’ll have a job getting through everything you want to watch in just two weeks.
If you’re a new customer then there are deals available if you sign up for multiple months in advance, rather than the rolling payment option, but after that you’ll revert back to the prices quoted above.
As long as you’re not a sports addict, the bottom line is that Now TV is the cheapest way to access Sky’s excellent roster of films and TV shows – but only if you’re not an HD snob and you don’t want everything at once.
Got any further questions about Now TV? Tweet them to us @TrustedReviews.