Now TV Smart Box Review: dish-free Sky content meets Freeview tuner

What is the Smart Box TV now?

Want to watch Sky's Now TV service but do not have a smart TV or compatible game console? Connect a TV Smart Box now and you can subscribe to any combination of your monthly passes, which offer unsubscribed access to Sky's excellent catalog of world-class movies and TV shows.

For a little more cash you can get daily or weekly access to the full range of sports channels, which offers Premier League football, Formula 1, NFL and several other live sports.

The Smart Box RTV TV now even allows you to download the catch-up applications for all major terrestrial channels. However, what distinguishes it from all other streaming devices is that it has a built-in DTT tuner, but in this time of demand of all, does anyone really need such a feature?

Related: Revision of Roku Express

Now TV Smart Box – Design

The size of a small side plate, with a Now logo TV stuck on the top, the Smart The glossy black finish of Box makes it look like a Wi-Fi router. It is also quite flat, and the top is a dust magnet and absolute fingerprints: you will regularly look for the duster.

Around the back there are terminals for your HDMI cable, TV antenna, power cable and Ethernet cable (although it has built-in Wi-Fi), plus an inactive microSD card slot. There is also a USB port on one side (more on this later).

The included remote control feels light and lacks volume buttons. However, with a four-way D-pad, playback controls, plus the dedicated buttons Now TV and Sky Store, you have most of the main functions covered.

 NOW TV Smart box

Now TV Smart Box – Configuration

The configuration is not as simple as the Smart Stick of Now TV, which simply connects to the HDMI port and stays in place, but It is not far behind.

The Smart Box comes with an HDMI cable and batteries for the remote control, so once you've connected the power and connected it to your TV, you're ready.

Well, it will be once you sign up for an online account first. Once you have done that and have selected the Now TV channel that you would like to register (from a selection of movies, entertainment, children and sports), you should connect the box to your Wi-Fi network, or you can use Ethernet if You feel in the old school.

Using a remote control's D-pad to enter your Wi-Fi details, email addresses and passwords is annoying enough, but even more annoying is the fact that the unit supplied with the Smart Box is too flashy , producing an annoying sound every time you enter a character.

 NOW TV Smart box

Fortunately, you must perform this process only once; but entering details to log in to your Now TV account, the YouTube application and Sky Store can become tedious. The same to scroll through the license agreement.

My box required a software update that took less than a minute, and after automatically adding all the default applications, it also detected the type of TV I was connected to.

All Now the content of the TV is restricted to 720p, but the box recorded that it had a compatible 1080p TV. At first I thought I was just rubbing it, but Sky says that compatibility with the high-resolution transmission will come later this year.

The final piece of the configuration puzzle is the built-in Freeview tuner. Connecting an antenna and looking for channels seems outdated, but it only took about a minute to tune the 152 channels (that includes all the radio channels that nobody uses).

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The main screen of the Smart Box shows a grid of the highlights of Sky, in addition to programs that you have seen recently but have not finished If you have an antenna connected, there is also a section that shows your most recently viewed live channel, so you can easily re-enter.

Scroll down through the menus on the left side and you will see a EPG standard for live Liveview channels (depends on the antenna, of course) My applications show all the applications that you have installed, while App Store allows you to add more.

The Smart Box has all the main covers: BBC iPlayer, All 4, Demand 5 and ITV, as well as YouTube, Vevo, Vimeo and UKTV Play, which offer updates for channels like Dave and Yesterday, although having Consider how many shows are repeated in Dave, this seems unnecessary.

At this time there is no Netflix or Amazon, although with the previous arriving at Sky boxes later this year, that could well change.

 NOW TV Smart box

The Best of Catchup screen offers a fairly random selection of suggested apps and TV shows of all services, while the Setup menu is self-explanatory .

But the reason to buy Smart Box is Now TV, which can be accessed by pressing the dedicated button on the remote control or navigating to the application.

It takes a few seconds to load, but it divides the available content in accordance with the ifferent passes that are available: Movies, Entertainment, Sports and Children.

Whether you're impressed by what's available, it's personal preference, but there seems to be more depth in the catalog than Amazon or Netflix, particularly in the front of the movie.

 Now TV Smart stick

It also means that you can access shows without the need for a satellite dish or having to sign a long contract. If it is cheaper, it will depend on what you want to see, but if you are a football fan, it will depend on the Sky Sports passes at £ 7.99 per day or £ 12.99 a week.

In general, the Now TV Smart Box is not as elegant as the Sky Q box and feels a step behind the Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Fire Stick. However, it is quite easy to navigate, although sometimes it is a little complicated.

You must skip several rings on the Now TV website to cancel a pass, but at least you can do it before the renewal date and take it with you. watching until it ends As such, there is no risk of being stung for another month if you forget to cancel the penultimate day.

 NOW TV Smart box

Now Smart Box TV – Performance

The resolution of Now TV content could be limited to 720p, but on my 37-inch and 1080p Samsung it looked good enough, with Many details and no quality drops related to Wi-Fi. If you have already upgraded to 4K, then the lack of pixels may be evident, but the Now TV Smart Box is not really aimed at those who watch so much television.

Follows with BBC One and the quality is clearly standard-definition, but that's because the DTT channels are buried much lower in the EPG; by default, it starts at the top. Without the ability to search or use the shortcuts of numeric channels, they are a real pain to reach. In general, however, the interface is more polished than many dedicated Freeview boxes.

There is no built-in storage, so you can not record any program; for that, the applications of updating, grandfather, but you can pause and rewind live TV, which is an advantage.

 Now TV Smart stick

Whether you're watching a DTT channel or a transmission, fast forward or rewind is not exactly science with this box, but there are no signs of pixelation or buffering as you go.

On Now TV, stop looking completely and you can continue where you left off later, with the My TV menu keeping track of what you rescued outside, plus an observation list to which you can add shows.

According to Sky, Now TV's Smart Box is already capable of displaying 1080p content, but good luck finding it. I thought that the USB port on the side could allow me to play with my own memory from a memory device, but plug it in and nothing would happen.

However, it does offer power when the box is on, which would have made it perfect for recharging the remote control if it did not work in antiquated triple-Ace. At least you can plug in your phone to charge while it is updated at Westworld .

 NOW TV Smart box

Why buy a Smart Box TV?

Considering most televisions come with a Freeview tuner built these days, what's the point of buying a Smart Box over the Smart Stick of £ 15?

Good question. And unless you have a TV without a tuner and you're really a big fan of Dave Ja Vu, it's hard to answer. Having everything in one place and being able to change live TV is quite useful, but is it worth it to pay the additional £ 35?

Of course, none of the above makes the Now TV Smart Box a bad device; it simply means that you need quite specific circumstances to make a necessary purchase.

Some will point out their lack of 4K, especially in front of Amazon's Fire TV, but Ultra HD TVs come with the necessary integrated applications, so these are increasingly sending transmission boxes to the second TV, where This is not a big problem.

Verdict

An elegant transmission frame that offers Sky access without problems: but unless you need the Freeview tuner, there are cheaper ways to get it.