I've always been in the market for a basic pay TV service at a sub-£10 subscription, I've previously had OnDigital Prepaid, ITV Digital with 6 primary channels and the original Top Up TV. Was very happy with all of them for the price, but all went tits up and I wasn't willing to pay Sky's prices. The Now TV entertainment package is about the best bundle of channels a lower price than any of the previous services I've had. With the peanuts the hardware costs and the possibility of having multiple boxes/devices on the same subscription I was drawn into it, it just seems a bargain that's too good to be true - obviously Sky's business model for the service will rely on nutters paying a tenner a day for Sky Sports before getting Sky proper and ending up shelling out £50 / month for a contract, I guess I'll just have to rely on such nutters continuing to exist so I can pay 7 quid a month for the entertainment pack.
I picked up the £19.99 bundle with 3 months entertainment included last week, 2 days later got a second box for £9.99 - so for an outlay of £30 I now have it in 2 rooms with subscription paid up for the rest of the year and only one subscription of £6.99 covering both after that; seems a bargain to me.
The box is a bit sluggish, but how anyone seriously thinks they can complain about that for a tenner which also includes an HDMI cables and batteries for the remote is beyond me - the full Roku box costs 4 times more for a reason. There are also ways around some of the slowness - I have the Youtube app synced to my phone so I can search for videos on my phone and then push them to the device rather than use the search on the app itself, it's fine using it like that. The quality of the composite output (one of my TVs is still CRT) is surprisingly good, the menus are a little bit blurry but the picture quality is fine.
Slating isn't too bad, I was quite surprised by how few programmes were affected (would love to know what bizarre rights issues there are that makes Allo Allo on Gold slateable but no other BBC sitcom though). Only real bugbear for me is the insane amount of button pressing required to get into live TV - it almost seems like an afterthought (even down to being the very last option on the menu). When for me it was the live TV channels that I got it for I would expect there to be a button on the remote for it - or at least a direct option from the home screen. As an aside, the Android app suffers from the same problem - it took a day before I even realised you could get live TV on Android, I thought it was on demand only. Once you're in it though, I do like the now/next scan bar you have to move through the channels, it looks quite classy and responds quickly.
Sky don't exactly shout about the fact that Sky Sports News HQ and Sky News are also available live (and with any subscription), but for those you need to go back to the home screen and launch their own separate apps, why not just have them as part of Live TV and push them as bonus channels to bring the channel count up?
Moving away from the official offerings on the box, I've sideloaded Plex and am also using it to stream content from my PC, certainly an improvement on the original Xboxes with XBMC I've been using which are now really starting to struggle with modern content. With this though, can anyone recommend software which can just use SMB and stream directly (like XBMC can) rather than needing dedicated server software running on the pc? Sticking with Plex precludes me moving to NAS which I had planned to do.
All in all I'm a big fan. Even if you have no intention of subscribing, a tenner for a smart TV box isn't to be sniffed at.