Top Up TV's gone... what are the alternatives?

With the closure of Top Up TV, what alternatives are there for those who are generally happy with the Freeview channels, but want access to a few extra pay channels without having a satellite dish or cable installation and without having a lengthy contract with Sky / BT / Virgin or TalkTalk?

Top Up TV previously offered additional pay TV alongside the Freeview signal. With the exception of BT Sport 1 and 2 on channels 58 and 59, which are exclusively for those BT TV subscribers who can't get high speed Infinity fibre broadband, there will be no pay TV service delivered through a TV aerial.

The next generation of pay TV add-ons to Freeview come via the internet thanks to Sky's NOW TV service and Synapse TV's soon-to-launch VuTV.

Viewers need a minimum of 2.5Mbps connection and preferably unlimited internet access to make the most of these new services via their TV set (although in the case of NOW TV, there are versions available for mobiles, tablets and computers).

So, once the internet connection has been sorted, what do the services offer?



NOW TV
(non YouView version, via a TV screen)
Available:
Now.
What is it?
A pay TV add-on service from Sky, with programmes delivered via broadband internet.
It’s unique selling point?
No ongoing contracts. No satellite dish.
Access to Sky’s Premium channels including Sky Atlantic, Sky Movies and Sky Sports.
What do I need?
A so-called “NOW TV Box” (a rebranded Roku box) or one of the devices listed in the footnote*.
Equipment Cost?
NOW TV Box: £9.99 including postage and packaging.
£0 if you already have a Playstation 3.
£0 if you already have a LG Smart TV with the Now TV app
What’s on?
There are three packages:

Entertainment
Movies
Sport

Sky Atlantic
Sky Arts 1
Sky Living
Sky One
Discovery
Comedy Central
Disney Channel
FOX
Gold
MTV

(Live Entertainment channelscurrently not available via LG Smart TV, Some programmes can't be shown due to rights restrictions, see below)
The following genres:
Action
Classic
Comedy
Disney
Drama
Factual
Family
Horror
Indie
Modern Greats
Romance
Sci-Fi
Thriller
Sky Sports 1
Sky Sports 2
Sky Sports 3
Sky Sports 4
Sky Sports News
Sky Sports F1
Price^:
£4.99 a month
£8.99 a month
£9.99 a day
On Demand/Catch Up?
Yes.
Yes.
No.
Record programmes?
No.
No.
No.
HD?
No.
No.
No.
^ Prices and details correct as at 30/10/2013
* NOW TV is also available on a number of other devices, including Playstation 3, LG Smart TV,  Roku, PC/Mac, Android, iPhone/iPad and YouView.
The YouView service does not include live channels and isn’t included in this comparison.

Important: Some programmes, including The Simpsons on Sky One aren't shown on Now TV. For more information, please visit: http://community.nowtv.com/t5/NOW-TV-news-and-information/Unavailable-shows-on-live-entertainment-channels/m-p/139292 



VuTV
Available:
Soon via Freeview channel 238.
What is it?
A package of pay TV channels delivered via the internet to Freeview HD receivers (post 2012 models).
It’s unique selling point?
No ongoing contracts. No satellite dish.
Ideal for Freeview households with children and teenagers, to give them access to MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr, Cartoon Network and more – genres of content under-represented on the Freeview channel line-up.
What do I need?
A Freeview HD TV or PVR (Freeview+HD). 2013 models from Sony, Panasonic and Samsung are more likely to be on the whitelist of available devices. VuTV will provide more information on checking receiver compatibility before launch.
Equipment Cost?
£0 if you already own such a receiver. 
If you don’t: Further information will be available soon as to which devices are on the whitelist of products compatible with VuTV.  Then a minimum cost figure will be available based on the lowest priced compatible receiver.
What’s on?
Officially confirmed are:
Comedy Central,
MTV,
CNN,
HISTORY,
H2,
Crime & Investigation Network,
Nickelodeon,
Nicktoons,
Nick Jr.,
Cartoon Network,
Boomerang,
Cartoonito
Price   
To be confirmed.
On Demand/Catch Up?
No.
Record programmes?
No.     
HD?
No.
Prices and details correct as at 30/10/2013



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