The iPlayer has been live since 2009. American equivalents years earlier. Today’s twenty-somethings have been watching TV on their laptops for nearly a decade now. On this basis, initial impressions of the NOW TV Box aren’t great. It’s initially difficult to imagine it being an improvement for anyone with a little web savvy.
However my view changed once I’m reminded by monogamous friends and elderly relatives of two things. Firstly that watching anything on a laptop screen requires enormous patience and a high tolerance for low pixel counts. Secondly that the first choice snuggling spot of couples is the sofa, somewhere there is usually a TV with a far bigger screen than any computer can offer.
Available online, the £9.99 Now TV box will require an internet connection but won’t need a subscription. It will offer access to Sky Movies and Sports and will turn any TV with an HDMI port into a highly competent web content portal. To keep things simple, everything works via WiFi which means that anyone with a dodgy signal might be better off seeking other alternatives.
The interface is fairly basic, but easy to navigate. It also offers access to iPlayer, Demand 5, Facebook, Spotify, BBC News, Sky News, Vimeo and Flickr. The Now TV Box claims that it outputs at a maximum resolution of 720p via HDMI and also promises to deliver “5.1 surround sound where available.”
For those with a reasonably basic setup at home, at this price, it could be a welcome addition. However for anyone with greater TV and film watching ambitions, it won’t be much more than a stopgap solution before something bigger and better arrives in the future.
NOW TV is available now on PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, selected Android smartphones, Xbox, PS3, YouView and Roku.