Sky’s NOW Discontinues Its Own Streaming Devices

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NOW (formerly NOW TV), Sky’s streaming service, has stopped selling the Smart Streaming Stick in the UK, as well as its older streaming boxes, and has in essence gotten out of the streaming hardware business.

Instead, NOW is planning to focus on improving its app, which is available on most of the third-party streaming devices and Smart TVs sold in the UK (see a full list below).

In addition, there are plans to finally add 4K and HDR to NOW, as well as a number of new personalisation features.

NOW on devices formerly NOW TV

Now, which is owned by Sky, is a streaming-only service (See our full NOW review here), which you stream via broadband. It offers several flexible “Memberships” – Entertainment (with TV shows), Cinema, Sports and Kids.

The service was meant to be Sky’s answer to Netflix and the other streaming services, and unlike Sky, it doesn’t require a long-term contract. Known for years as NOW TV, the name was changed to NOW earlier this year.

Over the years, NOW sold its own streaming boxes and sticks – from the original “White” box that came out in 2013 (and stopped being supported last year), to the “NOW TV Black Box”, the NOW TV Smart Box, and the NOW TV Smart Stick.

NOW TV Smart Box
The NOW TV Smart Box

NOW’s streaming devices were all powered by Roku (which also sells its own streaming devices), and were offered at a variety of price points.

The “Smart Stick”, which was the most recent NOW device, was quite useful as an entry-level streaming device, with support for many of the major streaming services in the UK. 

NOW TV 4K Smart Box with Netflix

However, the Smart Stick hasn’t been available for purchase on NOW’s official website for a few weeks – and today we can confirm that it has been discontinued.

With so many other streaming devices on the market, NOW has re-evaluated the needs of its customers and will no longer be selling new NOW devices.

The Smart Stick (and even some of NOW’s older devices) can still be bought on some websites, but once stocks are gone, the stick is not likely to return – at least in the foreseeable future. 

Also, the Smart Stick is still being sold on NOW Ireland, which is a separate service.

NOW’s Future Plans: 4K, Profiles And More Personalisation

In a press briefing held today, Sky’s Group Chief Production Officer, Fraser Stirling spoke to us about some of NOW’s plans for the future. 

With Netflix, Disney+ and even Sky (via Sky Q) already supporting 4K/HDR content, many have wondered when 4K will finally reach NOW.

At the moment, the basic NOW service doesn’t even support Full HD (1080p) – for that, you need to add the NOW Boost membership, which is an extra £3/month, on top of any content membership you’re subscribed to.

4k ultra hd tv screen 700

According to Stirling, 4K / HDR support is being worked on, though it would also require the NOW Boost add-on. “There’s no lack of desire to get it”, he said, “but it’s a question of priorities.”

In addition, Dolby Atmos audio support is also likely to be added to the Boost add-on at some point – as it currently only supports Dolby Digital 5.1.

Stirling also addressed the work they’ve been doing on the NOW app, which is available across a wide range of streaming devices.

Their main focus has been on adding more personalisation, with content recommendations based on what the user has watched before, and even on the time of day.

The software will learn what you prefer to watch in the mornings (cartoons, for example), and in the evenings (gritty cop shows perhaps) – and adjust its content recommendations accordingly.

NOW Entertainment titles

Furthermore, their aim is to only show you recommendations for content you’re already subscribed to. So if you’re only subscribed to the Entertainment plan, for example, you won’t get film recommendations, because that would require you to pay extra. 

When big events are happening, however (presumably a major sports match, or a major blockbuster movie release), you will still see a message about that piece of content.

One glaring omission, however, is User Profiles, which are currently absent from NOW, and are available on almost every other major streaming service. 

Without separate profiles, your watchlist, watch history and recommendations get mixed up between the different members of the household.

According to Stirling, they want to make sure profiles are done right, with the proper personalisation features in place, before they implement separate profiles – “otherwise, all you’ve done at that point is create another click every time you open the app”.

Where Can I Watch NOW?

With NOW no longer selling their own streaming devices, their focus is on making the NOW app available on as many platforms as possible.

Some of the devices you can use to stream NOW, are:

All in all, there are 20+ devices that support the NOW app, with more possibly coming in the future.

7 thoughts on “Sky’s NOW Discontinues Its Own Streaming Devices”

  1. Hi, my NowTV stick, perhaps by fluke, works just great. Despite the endless moaning about various issues on Now Community lol.
    A ‘single touch’ turns on the Telly, switches HDMI source (Control other devices setting I think ), & presents the Now curated landing page: a clever mix of new, trending, carry on watching, & on demand content but only from apps downloaded. They’ve obviously worked hard at the nailing both instant access & blended home page into an impressive seamless one press experience. A feature I like a lot.
    I’ve just purchased the new Amazon 4k Firestick & Roku 4K Stick+ based on Cord Buster reviews (great blog btw – tks!). However am bit reluctant to give up my Now TV stick due to this instant integration. I know the new kit is more powerful, following the Netflix & Disney+ biz models etc, but at the cost of one touch methinks?
    As a non expert, it surprises me none of the UK streamer remotes appear to have ‘programmable’ hot launch buttons that would duplicate the seamless experience, that I am aware of anyway? Only fixed btns supporting a parent/affiliated provider, or maybe sponsored to shove the channel who pays the most in your face – even if zero interest, a non subscriber & at the loss of needed remote personalisation – annoying!
    Do any of the clever bods here know if there’s a hack or alt remote perhaps to duplicate the great one touch launch experience for apps of your own choosing?

    • In theory, both the Roku 4K stick and Amazon 4K stick can control your TV (and switch HDMI source if necessary). I say in theory because these things don’t always work – it depends a lot on your TV model and whether it plays nice with the streamer.

      As for remapping buttons – there’s now a new Fire TV remote that comes with shortcut buttons. You can’t officially remap those buttons, but AFTVNews has an app for remapping Fire TV Editions buttons in the US – I believe they haven’t tested it with the new Fire TV Stick remotes yet, but maybe it’ll work…

      • Thanks for that. Have already ordered the new 2021 Amazon shortcut remote as im currently in update mode – not heard of this remapper – v nice tip! Cheers

        There’s also IR learning remotes w mini KBs, but mostly aimed at the TV mkt. Have to research if that works for IR streamers. Point anywheres are bluetooth of course so no universal solution.

        HDMI CEC works OK controlling the telly using the new 4K Firestick. Hitting home flips source & hitting power turns the TV on, but the Roku remotes still feel and act more naturally somehow.

        I see the Now app is available on the new Firesticks at last. Works well – watched Mare of Easttown finale & Friends Reunion – sound more sparkly & picture brighter/sharper than before – poss too bright – so different pic settings for different devices – ugh.

        4K content good but not as amazing as hoped, need to do some tweaking, & 4K library availability still only a sprinkling.

        The downside of going 4K in 2021, apart from limited content, is as I suspected is no cross app curation like on the Now stick. The UK user is utterly reliant on whichever host platform is chosen to curate not only their stuff well, but some from others too. A tall ask in such a splintered competing UK mkt. Esp with different UK providers chopping up US content between them. And agnostic streamers dont curate anything. In a nutshell, its one step fwd & one step back here. I fear without a regulator saying all main providers have to contribute to a universal EPG with preview – nothing will change. Now Stick was probably the closest to a decent crossover. The Freeview/Freesat merger will hopefully bring with it an improved joint EPG with streaming to fill in the reception and channel holes in each svc. But again as a competitor.

        Things have improved enormously of course in the last few years & 2021 does feel like a step forward year for cord cutters. Tech, falling tech prices & content quality is all way better than say 2015, but still feels a tiny bit like we are getting US hand me downs & hindered by the endless jockeying for position in the UK & lack of central steer from the regulator. I guess every country outside the US is the same.

        Thanks for your help

  2. Now tv app on Samsung tv’s isn’t working correctly but only on live football and F1. Now customer services uninterested. They advise to buy a stick. What now

  3. I already pay for Now Boost, which I don’t really mind, but will it be yet another financial hit for hdr and atmos ?, Also you said Now is available on fire tv, all except fire tv cube 2nd gen which is why I’ve ordered the new Apple TV 4K, coming tomorrow, then the cube is being relegated to the kitchen, really hard trying to find a streaming device that supports all the major streaming services, the cube is a brilliant device, but I bought it because NOW came on fire tv, was a bit surprised to find it wasn’t on the cube, I contacted NOW customer service they said they had no plans to bring it to the cube, bit of a shot to the foot that was,keep up the excellent reviews.


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