Sky unveils revamped, hybrid Now TV box

now tv uiSky will launch a new Roku-powered Now TV box later this year, giving users access to live linear TV channels for the first time, alongside on-demand content.

The revamped, hybrid set-top box will let Now TV customers access more than 60 live, free-to-air TV channels – as well Now TV’s on-demand packages of content and other web-powered services like the BBC iPlayer, All 4, YouTube, Facebook and Spotify.

Sky will be the first company to deploy the Roku-produced box, which will also be available to other operators as part of the ‘Roku Powered’ partnership programme.

now tvRoku’s vice president of pay TV, Andrew Ferrone, said that the new set-top will allow operators to “bridge the gap between linear broadcast and streaming TV services”. Gidon Katz, director of Now TV, added the device will be a “one-stop box to get a contract-free, flexible way of watching the best of pay TV and free-to-air content all in one place”.

Customers using the current generation of Now TV box will get a new user interface from February, which will include a new homepage and editorial recommendations of what to watch on Now TV.

Separately, Sky announced today in its fiscal second quarter results that it will launch a new Sky+HD box in Germany and Italy later this year, featuring updated features and technology.

“The box will be compatible with Sky Q functionality, giving our customers the ability to access Sky Q features,” said Sky.

In the UK and Ireland the new, advanced Sky Q TV service will launch in February and will sit alongside Sky+HD and Now TV as one of three products available to customers.

Announcing pricing details today, Sky said that set-up costs for Sky Q will start at £99 (US$141.60) and the typical monthly cost for Sky+ customers will be “around £12 extra compared with their current Sky+ package”.

For new customers joining Sky, the ongoing monthly cost for the Sky Q bundle will be £42. A Sky Q Silver bundle – which lets users watch Sky TV in more rooms, stream to more tablets and record and store more content – will cost £54 per month. Adding Sky Movies will cost £17 extra per month, Sky Sports will cost £25.50 extra and both together will cost an added £34.50.

“The launch of Sky Q will redefine our top-end TV experience and extend our market-leading portfolio of products to serve the needs of every customer,” according to Sky group CEO Jeremy Darroch.

Sky first unveiled its Sky Q home entertainment system at a launch event in London in November. Sky Q lets viewers pause content on one TV screen and pick up in another room, save recordings onto a tablet to watch anywhere, and watch different programmes on up to five screens simultaneously whilst also recording four other channels.

Sky Q is also Ultra HD-compatible, with Sky planning to launch “the UK’s most comprehensive Ultra HD service” later this year.

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