Now TV Smart Box review

Basic Freeview and catch-up, and access to Sky's content, but still no Netflix or Amazon video

Now TV Smart Box

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

In my introduction I said that deciding whether the Now TV Smart Box was for you was a complicated question, and hopefully by now you'll have an idea of why.

There's nothing especially bad about the device, but it's usefulness to you will depend on what streaming services you use, how you like to watch live TV, and what your current setup is.

If you currently have a smart TV that offers you access to Now TV, then the Smart Box will add the ability to pause and rewind live TV.

Now TV Smart Box

Or, if you don't have a smart TV but do have a streaming box, then the Smart Box's contribution to your setup will be putting Freeview and streaming into one place – but you won't want to throw away your existing streaming box if you use Netflix or Amazon Prime.

We liked

The Now TV Smart Box is great at bringing Freeview and streaming services together into a single package. The two elements are combined nicely, and it's easy to jump between them.

Picture quality is good, and support for up to 7.1 surround sound systems is an welcome inclusion.

We disliked

The absence of Netflix and Amazon Prime is disappointing, and ultimately means that you'll have to have a back-up streaming box available if you want to enjoy these services. And, while many programs will be available on on-demand services, Freeview recording functionality is another unfortunate omission.

Navigating the numerous menus with the included remote can feel clunky, especially when it comes to the Freeview channels. The device's various apps feel very separate, and there's no ability to search for content regardless of platform.

Final verdict

At times the Now TV Smart Box can feel like a jack of all trades and master of none.

On the one hand it offers Freeview, but it doesn't have the ability to record – and dedicated Freeview boxes tend to be easier to navigate thanks to the number pads on their remote controls.

Now TV Smart Box

On the other hand it also offers streaming services, but the absence of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video prevents the Smart Box from being a one-stop-shop for all your TV and movie content.

So, if you want a budget box that combines a functional Freeview machine with a handful of catch-up services, the Now TV Smart Box could be exactly what you need.

But if you're big into your streaming or flexible TV viewing respectively, you might be better off going for a dedicated machine for each.

Jon Porter

Jon Porter is the ex-Home Technology Writer for TechRadar. He has also previously written for Practical Photoshop, Trusted Reviews, Inside Higher Ed, Al Bawaba, Gizmodo UK, Genetic Literacy Project, Via Satellite, Real Homes and Plant Services Magazine, and you can now find him writing for The Verge.