BSkyB started investing in Roku last year and it's leveraged that involvement to develop this new Now TV set-top box. Going on sale today for just £9.99 (including shipping), it brings a rebranded Roku 2 XD (no gaming remote) with software built for Sky's IPTV platform and a curated list of additional channels. Notably missing from the list are Netflix, Lovefilm, ITV Player, and 4oD, however Now TV (of course), iPlayer, Demand Five, Spotify, Facebook and several Sky channels are included. It gives up a bit in flexibility compared to the standard player, but the ultra-low entry price certainly makes for a compelling option. Roku is facing more competition than ever with new game consoles, Google's Chromecast and even Apple's TV ambitions, we'll see if partnering with traditional providers makes it the "operating system for TVs" CEO Anthony Wood wants it to be.
For Sky, this is just part of a multi-pronged plan to move its TV offerings into the future, detailed in today's earnings report. Starting in September it will offer a WiFi equipped Sky+HD box to customers as the standard, and low cost wireless adapters to those with older hardware that isn't already connected. It's also enhancing Sky Go, with plans to add 10 new channels in the next year while marketing Sky Go Extra more. Finally, it's adding more content to the Catch Up TV and Sky Store VOD bundle -- check the PDF linked below for more details.
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CONVERT YOUR TV INTO A 'SMART TV' FOR UNDER £10 WITH THE BRAND NEW NOW TV BOX
Millions of people can now transform their normal TV into an internet-connected 'smart' TV for just £9.99 with the launch of the NOW TV Box.
Available from today at nowtv.com, the compact and easy-to-use box connects your TV wirelessly to the internet. Once connected, homes with the NOW TV box will enjoy convenient and contract-free access to BBC iPlayer, Demand 5, BBC News App and Sky News, plus NOW TV – offering instant access to Sky Sports and Sky Movies. They can also access other popular online services such as Facebook and Spotify – all delivered over broadband to the big screen TV.
Despite the explosion in connected devices such as Sky set-top boxes, games consoles and connected TVs, there are still up to tens of millions of regular TVs in the UK that cannot currently connect to the internet. The NOW TV box provides an affordable and simple way for any broadband-connected home to join the online TV revolution.
Until now, unless receiving catch-up as part of a pay TV subscription, consumers have needed to pay tens or even hundreds of pounds to purchase internet-streaming devices to watch catch-up TV on a regular TV. With the new NOW TV Box, for less than a tenner, customers can access the best in catch-up TV. But on top of this, they also have the opportunity to upgrade to access live sport and on demand movies from NOW TV.
Smaller than a pub beer mat, the NOW TV Box measures in at a trim 84mm x 84mm x 24mm and can be up and running in minutes. Simply plug the box into your TV set via the HDMI cable provided, connect to your wireless internet connection and you're away.
The box launches as new research from NOW TV reveals the nation's ever-increasing appetite to watch what they want, when they want. Over two thirds of Brits have now taken advantage of on demand services on their main TV sets – whether via Smart TVs or other connected devices, with two in five of us streaming must-see shows or settling down to a movie on a weekly basis.
Over half the nation (56%) use more traditional internet-connected devices such as tablets, smartphones or laptops to access TV on demand whilst in the home. For these people, the NOW TV Box will offer a simple and affordable way to enjoy catch-up TV, live sport and on demand movies on the big screen.
From launch, the NOW TV Box will let people access:
· Sky Sports: Experience the best sporting action from Sky Sports with the Sky Sports Day Pass. In the next month alone, sports fans can enjoy the climax of The Ashes series, the return of the Premier League and Football League, Formula 1® Belgium Grand Prix™, the start of Andy Murray's defence of the US Open title and much more, across 6 channels all for just £9.99 a day.
· Sky Movies: Sign up for a Sky Movies Pass to access hundreds of films from Sky Movies – the UK's most popular subscription service – including more of the latest and biggest movies 12 months before Netflix or LOVEFiLM Instant. New customers can also take advantage of a 30 day free trial of the Sky Movies Pass and enjoy the likes of Skyfall, The Dark Knight Rises and Argo in the next month.
· Sky News: Stay up-to-date with all the latest breaking news from Sky News. Access a 24/7 live feed of Sky News' award-winning coverage including all breaking news from home and abroad, as well as dedicated business, political and entertainment coverage. In addition, catch up on specific stories at any time of the day via an exclusive on demand news library.
· BBC iPlayer: The BBC's popular video on-demand service which received 2.32bn programme requests in 2012 gives you the option to catch up on your favourite BBC programmes when you want to – and now on your TV set through the NOW TV Box.
· BBC News app: Giving viewers access to BBC news reports, interviews and videos at the touch of a button on their TV
· Demand 5: Catch-up on a wide selection of Channel 5 shows for at least 7 days after they first broadcast.
· Spotify, Facebook and flickr: Listen to music, catch up with friends and even share your photos all through your TV set.
Over time there will be even more for people to enjoy with the addition of new content and apps to the NOW TV Box.
Gidon Katz, Director of NOW TV, comments: "Millions of people are switching on to the convenience and flexibility of on demand TV, choosing when and how they want to watch. Now there's an easy and extremely affordable way to make every TV a 'smart TV'. For under a tenner, the NOW TV Box offers the best terrestrial catch-up, plus pay-as-you-go access to must-see sport and the option to enjoy latest blockbuster movies on demand - all on the big screen. It's also easy for anyone to use – simply plug in to your TV, connect to your WiFi and you're away."
NOW TV is already available on PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, selected Android smartphones, Xbox, PS3, YouView and Roku.
More information on NOW TV is available from www.nowtv.com, or join us on Twitter via #NOWTVBox, @NOWTV and @NOWTVSport and www.facebook.com/NOWTV.