When it comes to the wide world of TV and streaming, Sky is a major player.


The media company has been a household name since the 1990s, thanks to its wide offering of products and services, which now include Sky TV, Sky Glass and Sky Live.

In addition to all of these, Sky officially owns NOW (formerly known as NOW TV), first launched in 2012, as well as Sky Stream, which was set up in 2022.

At first glance, it may seem like there's some overlap between the two. Both services are owned and operated by Sky, this may run the risk that they can compete against each other. However, both services are aimed at different audiences who have different needs.

If you're finding it difficult to decide between the two, we've put together the ultimate guide to help you do just that. We've taken into consideration a range of factors, including price, audio quality and user interface to help you find out which service is best for you.

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Sign up for NOW from £6.99 a month

Sign up for Sky Stream from £29 a month

Want to learn more? Check out our guide to Sky Stream and our roundup of the best NOW offers live this month.

Sky Stream vs NOW: What are the key differences?

While Sky Stream and NOW have plenty of things in common, there are a number of key factors that set the two apart.

Both services are an excellent choice if you're searching for a streaming service that offer freedom and control.

When it comes to channel offerings, Sky Stream offers hundreds of channels with the option of more with add-on packages, while the full package at NOW offers 45 channels. There are also more options to personalise your viewing experience on Sky Stream.

However, when it comes to price, this is where NOW takes the advantage, with prices starting from just £6.99 a month, compared to Sky Stream's £29 a month.

But what you get depends on how much you're willing to pay. Sky Stream offers personalised playlists, as well as searching across streaming services and a higher standard resolution of 1080p compared to NOW's 720p.

However, you can bring NOW with you on the go: all you need is your login details, compared with Sky Stream which requires a physical device.

All in all, these differences mean that customers receive the streaming that best suits their individual wants and needs.

Sign up for NOW from £6.99 a month

Sign up for Sky Stream from £29 a month

Sky Stream vs NOW in detail

NOW logo (formerly NOW TV)

There are plenty of factors that come into consideration when choosing your new streaming service. One of the major ones has to be the content and channels you'll have access to.

Sky Stream is the clear leader in this area, with access to over 300 satellite channels, 100 premium channels like FOX and Sky Atlantic, and the option of adding on packages including Sky Cinema and Sky Sports.

Access to third-party streaming services like Netflix and Disney Plus is also included, giving you access to even more content.

With NOW, customers can choose the standard Entertainment pass or a combination of the Cinema, Sports and Hayu membership on a monthly basis, depending on you interests. If you decide to go for all passes, you'll get access to around 45 channels.

As with Sky Stream, you can also access third-party streaming like Netflix and Disney Plus, as well as entertainment channels like Sky Showcase and Sky Atlantic.

It's worth bearing in mind that NOW also grants you access to boxsets and catch-up TV with your membership, whereas with Sky Stream you'll need to pay for the Box-Set upgrade in order to access this.

Sign up for NOW from £6.99 a month

Sign up for Sky Stream from £29 a month

Sky Stream vs NOW: UK price

Whether you're working on a budget or not, price is another one of the most important factors to consider when investing in a new streaming service.

A basic package at Sky Stream will set you back £31 a month on a 31 day rolling contract, and you can take that price down to just £28 a month if you opt for an 18-month contract.

There's also the option to add a range of packages, like Sky Cinema, Sky Kids, Sky Sports and TNT Sports, as well as upgrading your included Netflix package to not include ads.

You can even combine your Sky Stream package with Ultrafast broadband for £39 a month.

When it comes to NOW, you can usually snag the basic Entertainment membership for £9.99 a month. However, now you have the chance to pay just £6.99 a month for the first six months of your membership.

As with Sky Stream, you also have the chance to select different add-on packages, such as Cinema and Sports.

Sign up for NOW from £6.99 a month

Sign up for Sky Stream from £29 a month

Sky Stream vs NOW: Design

TV showing Sky Steam homepage with Sky Stream box and remote
Sky Stream home screen. Sky

Another factor to consider is the design of each service.

Sky Stream operates from a small puck, which is square-shaped with rounded corners. It's easy to store in a hidden place thanks to its black finish and the fact that it doesn't require line-of-sight.

You can connect the puck to your TV via an HDMI 2.1 input, an Ethernet port or an aerial tuner.

Separate hardware isn't required for your NOW subscription as you can install the app on your TV, phone or computer, and can even download content to your phone to watch offline.

You can also get boxes and stick with the NOW platform on them.

Sign up for NOW from £6.99 a month

Sign up for Sky Stream from £29 a month

Sky Stream vs NOW: Interface

The good news for any customers familiar with the Sky Glass interface is that the Sky Stream user interface is identical. However, whereas using Sky Glass requires you to buy a new TV, Sky Stream allows you to simply plug in your puck and begin.

The Sky Stream user interface is based on personalisation and recommendations. The system revolves around the Playlist, where you can add programmes and films from your Sky channels, as well as other streaming services.

You can create separate playlists for different users of the Sky Stream account which, while not as strong as having separate accounts like on other streaming services, it does allow for a more personalised experience.

You can also use the global search feature so you can search across all streaming services on the device: for example, if you search 'Anne Hathaway', you'll see her films across all the supported third-party streaming services and can jump to them right away (if you have the right subscription).

Some content, mainly sports, can be recorded onto the cloud, but most of the content available on Sky Stream is streamed on-demand from Sky or another third-party app, as you can't record content onto the device itself.

In comparison, NOW's interface is more similar to other streaming services; that is, content thumbnails organised into rows and split into categories.

NOW doesn't offer separate profiles or personalised playlists; however, you can add content to a watchlist and access a Continue Watching row for shows and movies you're already watching.

Sign up for NOW from £6.99 a month

Sign up for Sky Stream from £29 a month

Sky Stream vs NOW: Picture and sound quality

This one's for the audiovisual nerds. If picture and sound quality is high up on your list of priorities, we've got the lowdown.

Sky Stream operates with 1080p resolution as its standard setting; however, it can also support 4K streaming if you decide to purchase the UHD and Dolby Atmos add-on, which is £6 a month on a rolling contract.

It's worth noting that Dolby Atmos requires a compatible UHD and audio TV setup to reap the full benefits.

When it comes to NOW, 720p is the standard streaming setting, but you can upgrade to 1080p thanks to the NOW Boost add-on.

NOW Boost will also provide you with Dolby Digital 5.1 immersive audio (if you own a sound system), all for £6 a month.

When it comes to audiovisual quality, there's a clear frontrunner. But to make the most of both services, you should already own a compatible UHD TV or sound system.

Sign up for NOW from £6.99 a month

Sign up for Sky Stream from £29 a month

Sky Stream vs NOW: Our verdict

In conclusion, your decision between Sky Stream and NOW will be heavily influenced by which factors are most important to you.

If it's a wide range of channels, personalisation and higher audio and visual quality you're after, then Sky Stream is the one for you.

If affordability and watching shows and movies on the go is more important to you, then NOW is the better option.

Sign up for NOW from £6.99 a month

Sign up for Sky Stream from £29 a month


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