Disney+ fans using older NOW TV streaming boxes, which were once a favoured choice for UK customers, are in for a surprise – as support for the popular streaming service will be discontinued soon.
Although Sky no longer sells its branded NOW TV streaming boxes (they were discontinued in 2021), these devices were quite popular at the time – therefore it stands to reason many people still own them.
Recently, customers who own the affected NOW TV boxes, have started getting on-screen notifications, telling them the Disney+ app will stop working after May 30, 2023.
This change, which was first reported by What’s On Disney+ (and later confirmed to us by NOW) is not directly caused by Sky or NOW. Instead, streaming giant Roku is to blame in this case.
NOW TV’s streaming devices were all powered by Roku, and the company recently announced that devices based on Roku 4 (an older version of the hardware) would stop supporting the Disney+ app.
So, although Roku confirmed to us that “Roku 4” boxes were never officially sold in the UK – some of NOW TV’s boxes were based on Roku 4 – therefore they’re losing Disney+ as well (see more details below on which devices are affected).
NOW TV’s Streaming Boxes – A Quick Recap
NOW TV – or, as they’re now called – NOW, is Sky’s no-contract streaming service – a cheaper TV platform that gives you flexible packages (“memberships” of content), that can be watched on a large variety of streaming devices.
These days, there’s a clear distinction between NOW – which is a streaming service that works on many devices, regardless of their manufacturer – and Sky Stream, which is a streaming box from Sky that is ALSO based on streaming and broadband, but relies on specific hardware (see our Sky Stream VS NOW comparison).
But back in the day, Sky was also in the business of selling dedicated NOW TV streaming boxes. Those devices were – first and foremost – NOW TV players, but since they were powered by Roku, they were also capable streaming devices, with apps for other 3rd party services (one model even had a Freeview tuner built-in).
The Disney+ streaming app was added to NOW TV’s boxes in April 2020.
Over the years, there were several models of these NOW TV boxes (all powered by Roku) – starting with the “White Box”, then the 2nd box (known as – yes – “the black box”), the “Smart Box” (1st generation), the 2nd generation of the “Smart Box”, and finally – the NOW TV Smart Stick.
In September 2020, NOW stopped supporting its oldest box – the NOW TV “White Box”.
Then, in May 2021, NOW stopped manufacturing streaming devices altogether.
Support for these devices continued (except for the ‘White Box’), and many people still use them to this day – but with some of the models dating back more than five years – they were bound to start losing support at some point.
Disney+ Leaving NOW TV’s Boxes
Recently, customers who own some models of the NOW TV devices, started seeing this message on their screens:
“Disney+ will no longer be available on this Roku model after May 30 2023. To continue using the Disney+ app, along with all of its newest features and functionalities, please upgrade your device to a newer model.”
Similarly, users who still own any type of Roku 4 box are also seeing this message – but there aren’t many of those in the UK, as those boxes weren’t directly sold here. NOW TV’s boxes, however – which are based on Roku 4 – were quite popular here.
Update: We were able to confirm the affected devices with NOW:
The only affected device is the original NOW TV Smart Box, model number 4500SK.
The NOW Smart Stick, The 4K Smart Box (4631) and the old “Black Box” (4200SK) will NOT be affected by this, and Disney+ will continue to work on them.
That’s because those boxes are based on different versions of Roku.
The best indication as to whether Disney+ will continue to work on your device or not – is to run the Disney+ app on it, and check whether you’re seeing the on-screen notification.
At this point, there are no other apps that have stated their intentions to remove their apps from NOW’s boxes – and the boxes themselves will continue to work as usual (except, of course, for the Disney+ app).
NOW TV Streaming Box Replacements
If you still own one of those older NOW TV boxes, and you’re now looking for a replacement device that will support both NOW and Disney+, you have quite a few options.
Some of the streaming devices you can use to stream both services (along with many others) are:
- Roku’s Newer Streaming Devices
- Amazon Fire TV
- Apple TV (Some of the older Apple TVs don’t support NOW)
- Samsung Smart TVs
- Gaming Consoles
- Mobiles phones (both iOS and Android)
- Android TV and Chromecasts
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