Now TV Smart Stick FIRST LOOK Review : Is Now TV’s answer to the Fire TV Stick the best-value streamer yet?

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The cheap Now TV Smart Stick allows you to pause live TV and stream in Full HD, but is it any better than the Fire TV Stick? 

A new Now TV streaming device is launching in the UK very soon. Take a deep breath: the Now TV Streaming Smart Stick is the firm’s first departure from the set-top box of old, offering an enticing – and cheaper – alternative to Amazon’s Fire TV Stick.

But what’s so special about this dirt cheap media streamer? Well, I drew the short straw and it’s my job to help you find out. Below, you’ll find out everything you need to know about the Now TV Streaming Smart Stick (I’ll be calling it the Smart Stick from now on), including UK release date, price and fancy features. Let’s get started.

Now TV Streaming Smart Stick: Everything you need to know

*** Note : £1 = $1.42 (correct at time of post)
UK price and release date

The Now TV Smart Stick launches in the UK for just £15 later this year, and can also be purchased with a 2-month Entertainment pass for £20. Alas, we have no firm release date just yet, but I will update this article as and when we hear more official details.

But the Smart TV Stick is a good deal cheaper than its media streamer competition. Amazon’s Fire TV Stick is yours for £40 for instance, and Roku’s Express Streaming Player currently costs £29. The latter, of course, isn’t limited to using Sky’s selection of apps, so you can also use it to stream Netflix and Amazon Video.

Features

The Now TV Smart Stick comes with a Wi-Fi remote, which includes a similar voice-search feature to Amazon’s recent Fire TV Stick and the Apple TV. What’s more, you can also pause TV on all of Now TV’s live channels, a feature that was previously limited only to lengthy Sky premium TV contracts.

Now TV is also launching a handful of improvements to its streaming service before the end of the year. From Spring, you’ll be able to download Now TV shows and movies directly to your smartphone or tablet. The company says that this feature will be available for kids’ content first, so don’t expect to watch Teen Mom or The Blacklist offline anytime soon.

And – perhaps most importantly – all Now TV passes will be available to stream in Full HD by the end of the year. Being forced to stream only in 720p has always been one of the services’ biggest criticisms, and while it might not sound like a big deal in 2018, it’s exciting that the cheaper streaming service is no longer lagging behind Sky’s premium TV contracts.

Packages

As for the packages on offer, the Smart Stick can take advantage of Now TV’s selection of movies and TV streaming passes. Here is a brief summary of each pass Now TV offers:

Entertainment Pass 

The Sky Entertainment pass offers 11 Sky TV channels and 250 box sets, featuring Curb Your Enthusiasm, Twin Peaks, Tin Star and more. The Entertainment Pass costs £8 a month.

Sky Cinema Pass

The Sky Cinema Pass offers 1,000 on-demand films included in the monthly fee. At the time of writing these movies include Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find ThemAssassin’s CreedT2: Trainspotting and Sing.  The Sky Cinema Pass costs £10 a month.

Kids Pass

Sky’s Kids TV offers thousands of episodes from the likes of My Little PonySpongebob SquarepantsAdventure TimePaw Patrol all without adverts. The Kids pass costs £3 a month.

Sky Sports Pass

There are three flavours of Sky Sports Pass – daily, weekly or monthly. The day pass lasts for 24 hours from the time its bought and costs £7. This rises to £11 for a week, or £343.99 for a month. The latter will renew automatically each month unless cancelled whereas the daily and weekly passes expire at the end of the time period.

Early verdict

Now TV’s beloved streaming service isn’t a stranger to UK homes, but it was never flawless. 2018 is set to be a big year for the service, with Full HD streaming, the ability to pause live TV and this new media streamer rivals the dominance of Amazon’s Fire TV Stick.

However, there is one issue worth mentioning. You see, you can still pick up Now TV’s existing set-top boxes, which typically come bundled with free entertainment or movie passes, for the same price as the Smart Stick. Now TV’s latest could be a hard sell come launch.

(expertreviews.co.uk, https://goo.gl/55wwBt)

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