When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Here’s how it works

Home / Features / What is Now TV? Sky’s pay-as-you-go streaming service explained

What is Now TV? Sky’s pay-as-you-go streaming service explained

Your complete guide to the platform that's now known as Now - and how it differs from Sky Stream and Sky's other packages

Now logo

Ditch the dish and get Sky on demand at a significantly discount over the regular service? That’s what Now TV offers. It’s he best of Sky distilled into a Netflix-like on-demand service. And you can get it on various streaming devices.

Now has been doing this for years, but with the arrival of Sky Stream you might be wondering if (a) Now’s days are numbered and (b) how it differs from the company’s newer, shinier streaming platform. Well, we’re here to answer those questions and more, with our complete guide to What is Now TV.

What is Now TV?

Now is a streaming service, a little like Netflix, Prime Video or Disney+. It offers a wealth of content on demand, as well as live broadcasts. And it streams the lot via your home’s broadband link (or your mobile data, if you’re watching on a smartphone or tablet on the move). Now is owned and operated by British broadcaster Sky, with a content offering that reflects that.

How much does it cost?

Now interface on Now Smart Stick

Now TV works on a “pass” system. You purchase passes (usually billed monthly) to add to your membership, with each pass giving you access to different content.

Cinema Membership costs £9.99 a month. It gives you access to all the current Sky Cinema movies and 1,000 other on-demand films.

Entertainment Membership is £9.99 a month. It gives you access to 24 live Sky channels (including six kids’ channels) and on-demand shows from all of them.

What about Now TV sport?

Sports Membership works slightly differently and can be purchased in three different forms.

There’s also Now Boost, which costs £5 a month on top of whatever you’re already paying. This increases streaming quality to 1080p from the usual 720p, adds Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound and ups Sky Sports channels’ frame rate to 50fps (except on Xbox consoles and LG TVs, for some reason). Plus it enables you to stream on three devices simultaneously rather than the usual one. It also removes the ads you otherwise occasionally see with on-demand content.

We have strong opinions about Now’s video and audio quality and device limitations. They are quite poor and very stingy compared to just about every other streaming service on the planet. Most rival platforms now offer 4K UHD content and allow simultaneous streaming on multiple devices at no extra cost. And don’t even get us started on Now’s love of unskippable pre-roll ads.

Boost goes some way towards fixing these issues (although it really should be offering 4K UHD by now). But the fact it’s an extra £5 on top of everything you’re already paying is hard to swallow.

What can you watch?

Matt Smith in House of the Dragon on Now Entertainment

Now’s big strength lies in the fact that its best content can’t be found anywhere else. That is aside from Sky Q, Sky Glass and Sky Stream: see below for more on that. The sports offering is unmatched in streaming. And it’s particularly appealing if you want to watch live Premier League football or Formula 1 racing. Sky’s deal with HBO means it’s also the only UK service to watch the likes of The Sopranos, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Game of Thrones and The White Lotus. Some of the best TV shows around, in other words.

The Cinema Membership is appealing for slightly different reasons. Sky’s original movie offerings are merely decent rather than a huge draw. But Sky Cinema tends to premiere big movie releases ahead of the other streaming services. It must be said that this doesn’t always quite apply. Disney/Marvel films will be on Disney+ first, while Netflix and Prime Video get a few big films first too.

Where can I watch it?

Now Smart Stick

Now TV is mostly app-based. There are apps for mobile devices, computers, consoles, streaming devices and smart TVs. Mpst people will watch via one of these: just install the app, sign in and you’re ready to go.

Now also offers its own hardware streaming devices in the form of the Now Smart Stick and Now Smart Box. These are handy if you’re watching on a non-smart TV or projector.

What about Sky Stream?

Sky Stream close up lifestyle

Don’t get it twisted: Sky Stream and Now are two totally separate services, despite their shared Sky heritage. Sky Stream is newer and a bit shinier. It supports 4K UHD, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos and requiring its own (very compact) set-top box. Its price of entry is also higher than Now, meaning the two will continue to peacefully co-exist.

Find out more about Sky Stream in our guide here: Sky Stream: What you need to know about Sky’s new TV service

Profile image of Sam Kieldsen Sam Kieldsen Contributor


Tech journalism's answer to The Littlest Hobo, I've written for a host of titles and lived in three different countries in my 15 years-plus as a freelancer. But I've always come back home to Stuff eventually, where I specialise in writing about cameras, streaming services and being tragically addicted to Destiny.

Areas of expertise

Cameras, drones, video games, film and TV

Enable referrer and click cookie to search for eefc48a8bf715c1b 20231024b972d108 [] 2.7.22