NOW TV box gradually becoming new Roku, adds YouTube
It's a well-publicised fact that the NOW TV set-top-box is made by Roku. After all, Sky owns a significant stake in the streaming device manufacturer. And a recent system update even changed the user interface to look more like the Channels grid found on branded Roku devices.
Now the barriers between the Roku box service and the one offered by the NOW TV box are further eroding as Sky has added YouTube to its own device.
An app to access YouTube videos may seem innocuous to some, but its inclusion means there are now 48 channel applications available on a NOW TV box which was originally designed to drive subscriptions to Sky's entertainment, movie and sport streaming service. And they include BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD, Demand 5, Spotify, Facebook, Vimeo, Flixster and many more big name services.
Considering the NOW TV is just a tenner, that's a mighty media streamer for the money. You can even side-load an additional app - such as Plex - almost negating the need to purchase a fully-fledged Roku box at all. As for Apple TV, it's not in the same ball park in the amount of content available, and that's almost £70 more expensive.
Admittedly, the NOW TV box is limited to 720p output, currently only outputs stereo sound and has no Netflix, but for the price that won't matter for many.
The NOW TV service itself is available with three different subscription options. The Entertainment Month Pass is £4.99 a month for access to a range of Sky and partner channels and their catch-up content, including Sky Atlantic, Sky 1, Gold, Disney and the recently announced Nickelodeon and Nick Jr.
The Sky Movies Month Pass costs £8.99 a month for access to all Sky Movies channels, both on demand and live. And the Sky Sports Day Pass costs £9.99 for 24 hours access to all Sky Sports channels, including the new Sky Sports News HQ and Sky Sports 5 when they launch on 12 August.