Now TV is an internet television service owned by BSkyB. Instead of operating over BSkyB's satellite network, subscribers can watch TV shows over their fixed line or mobile broadband internet connection. Now TV has been designed for flexibility, offering a choice of contract-free daily or monthly passes. It's a good solution if you don't spend long at home apart from major sporting events, or science fiction days with your buddies. You can watch Now TV on a large number of devices including Android, iOS devices, the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 consoles and some LG Smart TVs.
In common with other Internet streaming services, Now TV uses adaptive bitrate streaming to make the most of your hardware and Internet connection speed, but only supports up to 720p whereas services such as Netflix can reach 4K resolution. If you use a service such as Now TV, you'll often notice that the app uses more data if you have a fast WiFi or LTE connection compared with a slower 3G connection.
Now, BSkyB have included Chromecast support in the latest build of their mobile application, providing your device meets the minimum requirements of Android 4.0 or higher, a 1.0 GHz processor, 1 GB RAM and at least a 480 by 800 pixel screen. This is great news if you have been sitting on the fence wondering if you should try the Now TV but don't own a console and don't fancy plugging a HDMI cable into your Android smartphone or tablet.
Google's Chromecast dongle has just celebrated its first birthday. It's is a digital media player that sits into the HDMI port of your television and streams video directly via a WiFi connection. Under the skin, the Chromecast runs an operating system that appears to blur the lines between Chrome OS and Android; it receives updates silently from Google just as a Chromebook. The Chromecast is controlled by Chromecast-enabled mobile or web apps, or the Google Chrome browser on a desktop computer. Google released the Google Cast SDK, software development kit, in February earlier this year. It's reassuring to see more and more application developers releasing support for the Chromecast and Google is constantly evolving the product: in June 2014, the announced that a controlling device can discover nearby Chromecasts by detecting ultrasonic sounds from the television the dongle is attached to!