The new Now TV Smart Box will be available as a standalone purchase for £40 from early July. That’s quite a price hike, but I think it’s still excellent value.
Sky has added a Freeview tuner to the box so it’s equipped with a digital aerial socket, alongside an HDMI out to connect to your TV. It has 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound over HDMI, but the video output is limited to 1080p full HD and the NowTV service is currently limited to 720p. Given that Sky’s regular satellite service is only 1080i, I’d expect it not to go up to full HD until Sky launches its 4K TV services. Other connections include an Ethernet port for a wired internet connection - the box does also have built-in wi-fi - a microSD card slot, and a USB connection for viewing media on external devices.
So not all the rumours were true. No 4k (never likely, despite the fact that it’s competing with Amazon and Netflix) and no built-in hard drive (and you can’t connect an external one), so there’s no option to record. However, you can pause live TV and rewind programmes by up to 30 minutes.
Read more at http://www.trustedreviews.com/news/now-tv-smart-box-4k-release-date-specs#YbeB1wqMXAMiZ6IE.99
I'll do a separate post about the new Now TV Combo bundles that offer a combined Sky phone and Broadband package that make this a very real alternative to Virgin Media and the aging TiVo box.