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Sky’s new Now TV move preempts full streaming switch

NOW TV StickSky has unveiled a new Now TV streaming device, which the European operator is due to start selling in the UK next month priced at £14.99 (US$21.40), as a plan to make all of its channels available via streaming gets under way.

The Now TV Smart Stick will be powered by Roku and will undercut rivals in this space, with Roku’s own-brand Express streaming stick retailing for £29.99 in the UK, while Google’s Chromecast sells for £30 and Amazon’s Fire TV stick costs £39.99.

The Now TV Smart Stick comes with a remote featuring Voice Search technology. It also lets users pause live TV on all Now TV’s premium channels – including Sky Sports, Fox, Comedy Central and Sky Atlantic.

At the same time Sky said that by the end of the year, Now TV will introduce the option of streaming the service both live and on demand in full HD.

“If you’re looking for a flexible way to stream great TV, contract free, our plug-and-play Now TV Smart Stick is the cheapest in the UK,” said Now TV managing director Gidon Katz.

“Just add one of our content passes to stream premium live sports, binge over 300 Box Sets, watch a new movie premiere every day, or keep the family entertained with thousands of kids episodes.”

Now TV is Sky’s standalone digital service that lets users pay to access bundles of on-demand content and live channels on a non-subscription basis. These are divided into four ‘TV passes’ –Entertainment, Sky Cinema, Kids and Sky Sports.

The Now TV Smart Stick launch comes after Sky rolled out a Roku-powered Now TV Smart Box in June 2016 – a hybrid set-top box that gave Now TV customers access to live linear TV channels.

The Now TV Smart Stick will be on sale in the UK from next month for £14.99. For £19.99, users can bundle the Now TV Smart Stick with a two-month Now TV Entertainment Pass or a one-month Sky Cinema Pass. For £29.99 users can get the device with a one-month Sky Sports Pass.

“The Now TV streaming stick is big news,” said Paolo Pescatore, vice-president of multiplay and media at CCS Insight. “Sky is looking to jump on the bandwagon of this segment given the popularity of these small form factor devices. People will be blown away with the price of the new Now TV streaming stick as well as the bundles of stick and passes.”