(Pocket-lint) - Sky's Now TV box has had an update bringing with it a number of new features, but should you upgrade from the original, should you just bite the bullet on the extra costs and go for the Roku 2, or should you just stick with what you've got already?
We've been playing with all three devices to find out what the best option is for streaming Now TV in your home, via a dedicated mini set top box.
Design isn't worth worrying about
There are some nuances in the design of all three boxes, but not enough of a difference in terms of size to warrant a change in your purchasing decision. All three boxes are small, require power from the wall, and come with a remote that is virtually identical in design and performance.
Do you need extra ports and a wired connection?
Both the Roku 2 and Now TV Box (2015) feature built-in, dual-band wireless, an Ethernet port, USB port, and a microSD. Audio is handled via the HDMI connection. By comparison, the original box is wireless only and has no expansion ports at all.
The original Now TV Box has an AV jack that has been ditched for the new Now TV Box (2015) and the Roku 2.
To 1080p or not to 1080p
All three are compatible with any HDMI television, however while the Now TV boxes do support 1080p streaming for other services, Now TV broadcasts in 720p. It's the same whatever device you use at the moment, but at least the 1080p support is now there. Previously the original Now TV Box was only 720p.
Now TV Boxes are cheaper, but don't offer Netflix
All three boxes: The original Now TV Box, the Now TV Box (2015) and the new Roku 2 (2015) let you stream Now TV services and the Sky Store.
The original box, first launched in 2013, is getting a bit slow in terms of what's available so you will notice a difference upgrading.
If you're a fan of Netflix, or think you might be in the future, then the Now TV boxes aren't going to be for you. They don't come with Netflix and you can't simply download the service onto the boxes either.
As for price, the original Now TV Box was £9.99, the new Now TV Box 2 is £14.99, while the Roku 2 is significantly the most expensive of the three at £59.99.
Faster and more zippier
Both the Now TV Box (2015) and the Roku 2 feature a faster processor which means using the menus to get to the content is quicker. It's noticeably faster, but between the two newer boxes there is little in it in terms of performance.
Software options and interface
The original Now TV box is still using the same software it did when it launched in 2013, but Sky has promised the new interface on the new box will come to the older device.
With the Roku Feed, the box can alert you when new movies have released for services like Now TV or Netflix. You can then add any film to your feed, such as Furious 7, and Roku will let you know the moment it's available to stream from a content channel in its catalogue. Roku 2 also comes with a search feature that allows you to search across channels for movies, TV series, actors, directors, channels, and games.
Both those features aren't available on Now TV, although Sky has promised further updates will be rolled out later in the year. These will include an improved search function, along with the ability to automatically play next episodes, easily tag, save and find favourite shows in the same way Netflix already does.
Which to buy?
The obvious answer is to go for the Roku 2 because you can still get the Now TV services, as well as getting the 1080p support and of course the ability to play Netflix.
The catch with going with the Roku 2 box, is that you'll have to find an extra £45 to start with. If budget isn't an issue, it's a box that will give you greater scope in the future beyond the Sky services.