Not fussed about 4K, however have a sports activities itch that free-to-air telly simply received’t scratch? The NowTV Smart Stick is the TV-toting sharp stick assured to achieve the locations Freeview can’t.

Sky and {hardware} accomplice Roku have mixed forces for a diminutive £15 dongle – the most cost effective streaming stick within the UK proper now, and a very good various to a satellite tv for pc dish.

Some big-name omissions imply it’s not fairly a one-stop store for all of your TV desires and wishes, however should you’ve been eyeing up some Sky-exclusive reveals or sport for some time, this seems like the most cost effective, best technique to watch all of it.

Design & setup

The stick itself is not any larger than a USB flash drive, and is dwarfed by its distant, so shouldn’t have any bother squeezing into certainly one of your TV’s HDMI ports. Unless you’re hooking it right into a small bed room or kitchen telly, it’ll be invisible as soon as put in.

There’s a microUSB port on the top for energy, which you’ll want to hook up with your TV, or the wall utilizing the bundled adapter. You’ll want Wi-Fi to get related, too, as there’s no wired choice.

The streamlined distant management is a step up from the fundamental one bundled with the NowTV Smart Box – it beneficial properties quantity controls and an influence button that may management your TV, in addition to the stick itself.

A number of further shortcuts allow you to soar on to the reside TV information and Kids sections now, in addition to the returning My TV and Sky Store keys. You’ll nonetheless have to maintain some batteries in a drawer, although, as USB recharging is asking only a bit an excessive amount of from a £15 machine.

Once you’re plugged in, setup is as simple as turning in your TV, tapping in your Wi-Fi password, and logging in to a NowTV account. It takes two minutes, and then you definately’re good to begin binge-watching.

voice search

Finding a specific TV present or film is a lot simpler now, because of voice search. Hold a button down on the distant, communicate into it, and have your outcomes immediately revealed on display.

Actors, administrators, genres, years of launch – the search classes are fairly complete, and the detection appears spot on, too. It’s a complete lot extra handy than tapping in searches with an onscreen keyboard, and the quicker UI means you’re not ready round on your outcomes, both.

Voice search has its limitations, although. It can’t work out what’s presently exhibiting on reside TV, so asking for “NFL” introduced up no outcomes, regardless of an NFL recreation enjoying on one of many Sky Sports channels. You’ll have to stay to the TV Guide for that.

reside TV

The redesigned UI will nonetheless really feel acquainted to anybody that’s used NowTV earlier than – or a Roku field, for that matter.

Easy-to-follow menus allow you to soar between reside TV, catch-up, apps and a brand new Home display that pulls highlights, belongings you might need missed, and reveals you solely acquired half-way by into one easy-to-find location.

Adding Search to the homescreen makes issues a lot simpler to search out now, should you’d reasonably not bark orders at a distant management. The complete factor feels that rather more responsive than the outdated Smart Box, with barely any ready between opening apps or streaming a specific present. Live TV has its personal entry on the menu, with an EPG that permits you to scroll by what’s on and channel logos to make it apparent what you’re about to flick over to. Pausing and rewinding TV is being added at launch, too, so you possibly can pop the kettle on with out lacking an important second.

Unlike the NowTV Smart Box, although, which comes with its personal aerial hookup for free-to-air channels, you’re restricted to Sky’s personal choices right here.

That means 11 diversified leisure channels, 10 sports activities channels, 11 film channels, and 6 children channels – however provided that you pay for his or her respective NowTV passes.

The leisure cross will set you again £7.99 a month, the Cinema cross £9.99, and children cross £2.99. Sports is a bit more difficult, with in the future entry for £6.99, every week for £10.99 or a complete month for £33.99. You did not assume the £15 entry charge was going to allow you to trip the rollercoaster all day, did you?

On-demand and Apps

There’s a little bit extra to it than that, in fact: the leisure and films passes include a complete load of on-demand video to spend your lazy weekends in entrance of.

Sky field units have all of the TV reveals you missed the primary time round, like The Sopranos, The Wire or Sex and the City. Sky’s acquired over 300 to select from now, so that you received’t be brief on issues to look at.

The solely draw back is that Sky nonetheless restricts streaming high quality to 720p. It doesn’t look wonderful on a Full HD TV, so anybody with a 4K telly goes to actually discover the drop in high quality. The excellent news is that 1080p streaming is on the way in which – it simply received’t be right here earlier than the tail finish of the 12 months.

It’s not simply Sky content material on provide, both. There are round 50 downloadable apps, curated down from Roku’s frankly unmanageable 4000+. Big hitters like YouTube and Vevo are there, together with BBC Sport, however there’s no Netflix or Amazon.

That’s not precisely a shock – Amazon would like to procure a Fire TV, and Sky desires you to remain glued to its personal channels as an alternative of sending more money to Netflix.

Then once more, there’s loads of options, with catch-up from BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, All four and My5. Only BBC enables you to watch reside, although – the remainder are strictly on-demand solely. But on the plus aspect, any 1080p content material will really be streamed at that decision – not like Sky’s choice.


Whether you’ll get a lot use out of the devoted children part relies upon solely on whether or not you’ve got sprogs to maintain entertained or not. If you do, although, it’s nicely well worth the £three a month.

With all of the hoo-ha about YouTube’s decidedly kid-unfriendly content material just lately, Sky’s curated children channels are quite a bit safer to pop your tots down in entrance of. There’s an enormous choice, and you’ll dial it all the way down to particular reveals in case your children love Peppa Pig, however are performed with Dora the Explorer.

You may even hand them the distant and allow them to select their very own leisure: should you attempt to again out of the Kids display, a warning message pops up asking should you really meant to depart – Sky reckons that’ll cease most toddlers from unintentionally heading again to the principle menu. And even when they get that far, all of the age-rated on-demand content material is PIN-protected, anyway.

Sky NowTV Smart Stick Verdict

By ditching free-to-air TV for on-line streaming, Sky has managed to strip its NowTV {hardware} all the way down to the naked necessities, and the worth together with it.

The Smart Stick seems like an absolute discount for telly addicts, and solely stands to get higher as soon as 1080p streaming comes into impact later within the 12 months.

OK, you don’t get on-demand content material from Netflix or Amazon, so should you’re nonetheless holding onto a TV with no smarts in any respect, the Smart Stick might sound a little bit restrictive.

If you’ve purchased a TV prior to now few years, although, these providers ought to actually come built-in anyway. Sky’s built-in apps aren’t practically as frequent, so £15 isn’t asking quite a bit so as to add an enormous quantity of additional content material to an already good TV.

You’re nonetheless paying each month to maintain that content material flowing, in fact, however this allows you to slender your viewing all the way down to the belongings you’ll really watch, as an alternative of a full Sky sub crammed with channels you’ve by no means tuned in to.

Even factoring within the further price of NowTV passes, it’s nonetheless one thing of a discount. Any time there’s a little bit of sport on, you possibly can simply escape the bank card and activate a weekend of entry, no satellite tv for pc dish required.