It's been a busy six months for Sky. Between launching a new powerful set-top TV box, sinking billions of pounds into original shows and exclusive sporting rights, the company has quietly been developing a new Now TV product for consumers who like to dip in and out of its ecosystem without having to commit to a fixed-term contract. It's called the Now TV Combo and it pulls together Sky's TV, broadband and phone services into one simple package.
The Now TV Combo is what Sky calls the UK's first commitment-free triple-play bundle. It offers a Now TV streaming pass (whether it's movies, entertainment or sport), broadband, calls, a Now TV Hub router and the all-important streaming box. Packages are flexible, but Sky says an Entertainment Pass, "Brilliant" broadband and "pay as you use" calls will set you back £9.99 a month. Cinema passes start at £12.99 and expand up to £27.99, while Sky Sports bundles range from £36.99 up to £51.99.
Prices rise if you add faster broadband packages (including 17Mbps, 38Mbps or 76Mbps options) and you'll also need to factor in the £17.99 monthly line rental charge. You can cancel at any time, unless you choose to take out a 12-month contact -- it's optional and means you won't have to pay any installation fees.
At the centre of all this is the new Now TV Smart Box, developed by Roku, which combines 35 paid TV channels and over 60 live TV channels via Freeview. Like the Sky Q box, curated channels are key to the viewing experience, matching content to your tastes instead of delivering the standard TV guide. The 1080p streamer (no 4K, sadly) comes complete with a Live Pause feature, allowing you to come back to your content, whether it's normal TV or streaming, whenever you feel like.
"We want people to watch what they want, when they want and on their terms." says Director of Now TV Gidon Katz. "We're taking the very best technology and packaging it with the best content."
With its rivals often beating it on price, Sky has decided that Now TV customers will benefit from the bundling of its content and services. TalkTalk has already combined its traditional YouView service with the Blinkbox TV platform it bought from Tesco, solidifying its position as a quad-play provider, and Virgin Media is expected to unveil its answer to Sky Q in the coming months, giving the TV part of its own quad-play package a much needed boost.
Sky says that when the Now TV Combo will launch in July, customers can choose to pay a £40 set-up fee for broadband and £50 charge for fibre options that lets them abandon broadband and call contracts and upgrade or downgrade packages at will. The Smart Box can also be purchased for £40 if you've already got landline and broadband sorted but want an easy way to switch between live TV and paid content.