Hi, everyone !!
Those of you who have been following the 'Weekly RoundUp' posts on this blog for the past month or so will doubtless have spotted my comments concerning the lack of new channels for the NowTV Box [Powered by Sky] in the four weeks since it was launched. Unfortunately, there's not much we can do about that except to "wait & see" (as Asquith said) whether this situation improves, or not.
Another bugbear which is common among owners of the NowTV Box [Powered by Sky] is that (currently) there is no "Official" NowTV App for mobile devices to facilitate on-screen text entry. Sadly, the superb (and constantly improving) Roku Remote App has not yet been modified to function with the NowTV Box [Powered by Sky]. Whilst the Roku Remote App can detect a NowTV Box on your network, there is no way of setting it up so that it can be controlled using the app. This is because the Roku Remote App requires that you link it to a Roku Account and, by virtue of it's design, the NowTV Box [Powered by Sky] requires a NowTV Account (which may or may not be associated with a Sky ID) to be used in order for it to function. There is (currently) no way to register a NowTV Box [Powered by Sky] with a Roku Account, which means the Roku Remote App WILL NOT WORK with one. We can only hope that some kind of agreement can be reached, between the powers that be at NowTV and Roku, to rectify this. Meanwhile, until that time arrives, you would be forgiven for thinking that this was another "Asquith" moment for the NowTV Box, BUT... as it turns out, THERE IS A SOLUTION at hand courtesy of an existing web app for controlling Roku player !!
Before I explain what it is and how to get it setup & working with your NowTV Box [Powered by Sky] you will need to MAKE A NOTE OF the IP Address for your NowTV Box, which can be FOUND UNDER the "NOW TV Box Settings" accessed via the main menu of the player and easily IDENTIFIED BY THIS ICON:-
If you scroll through the main menu of your NowTV Box you will soon come to the above icon and, when you do, you should then enter the "NOW TV Box Settings" by clicking the "OK" button on the original NowTV Box remote (i.e. the white one that came with it) which will take you to a SETTINGS SUB-MENU which looks LIKE THIS:-
By default, at the top of the list, the word "About" should already be highlighted (as shown) and you should see the "Player Info" icon to the right hand side of your screen. Simply click the "OK" button on your remote once more to reveal a list of "NowTV Box Info" unique to your particular player. The list includes details such as your NowTV Account Name, as well as the Model Number, Serial Number & Software Version for your NowTV Box but, below all that, you will also see the IP Address of your NowTV Box. The IP Address should look similar to the one below:-
192 . 168 . 1 . 3
Please be sure to MAKE A NOTE OF YOUR IP ADDRESS for later reference !!!!
The reason you will need to know this information is so that you can MANUALLY ADD the IP Address of your NowTV Box to the settings of the remote app on your iOS or Android mobile device.
The ORIGINAL WEB APPLICATION which we will be using to create the NowTV Box remote app on your iOS or Android mobile device can be found using THIS LINK to the Remoku website. You should navigate to the Remoku website, and make a note of the web address (URL), so that you can then enter it when the time comes on the mobile web browser for your iOS or Android device.
FOR APPLE iOS USERS:-
If you are using an Apple device, such as an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, you should open up the "Mobile Safari" internet browser and navigate to the REMOKU WEB APPLICATION on it. Once the webpage has loaded, THE SCREEN on your mobile device SHOULD LOOK LIKE THIS:-
The next step is to create a MOBILE WEB APP to add to your HOME SCREEN which is done by clicking (i.e. tapping) on the "ACTION" BUTTON found in the centre of the Mobile Safari Toolbar which (if you have an iPhone or iPod Touch) is located at the bottom of the screen on your device. If you are in any doubt, the ICON for the "ACTION" BUTTON which you will need to make use of at this stage LOOKS LIKE THIS:-
Tapping the "ACTION" BUTTON will produce a list of options from which to choose your desired "Action"; in this case, we need to select "ADD TO HOME SCREEN" from the on-screen menu (again, by tapping on it). Doing so, will result in a "Remoku" App Icon being added to your Home Screen from which you can LAUNCH the Remoku App IN FULL SCREEN MODE enabling you to use it just like any other regular app on your mobile device.
FOR ANDROID USERS:-
If you are using an Android mobile device, you should open up your internet browser and navigate to the REMOKU WEB APPLICATION on it. Once the webpage has loaded, you will then need to ADD A BOOKMARK for the website to later add a "Remoku" App Icon to your Home Screen, as with the iOS devices (above). Once you have it bookmarked, you must then OPEN the browser BOOKMARKS SCREEN and LONG-PRESS the BOOKMARK for the "Remoku" Web App and SELECT the option to "ADD TO HOME SCREEN" from the on-screen menu. The end result, much like the iOS version, is that you will have a "Remoku" App Icon added to your Home Screen from which you can LAUNCH the Remoku App IN FULL SCREEN MODE enabling you to use it like a regular app on your Android device.
Now that the Remoku App is installed on your mobile device, you need to set it up for use with your NowTV Box. This is where the IP Address, that you (hopefully) noted down earlier, will be needed. To proceed, LAUNCH the Remoku App IN FULL SCREEN MODE on your mobile device and tap on the "SETTINGS" BUTTON at the top of your screen. This will take you to another screen which is specially tailored for you to MANUALLY ADD the IP Address of your NOW TV Box. You should now be looking at SOMETHING LIKE THIS:-
PLEASE IGNORE the fact it says "Find My Roku", as well as passing over each of the "My Network", "How Many Roku's?" plus "Scan" and "Search Help" functions because the ONLY thing we need to concern ourselves with (at this stage) is the DATA-ENTRY BOX beside the words "Manual Add" where you now need to TYPE IN the IP Address of your NOW TV Box. For the purposes of this demonstration, I have stuck to using the SAME IP ADDRESS in the above image, as used for my example IP Address (below the NowTV Screenshots) but YOU MUST ENTER YOUR OWN IP ADDRESS as found in the "NowTV Box Info" from the "About" section of the "NOW TV Box Settings" on your NowTV Box. Once you've typed in the information, TAP ON the "+" (i.e. 'PLUS' sign) BUTTON adjacent to the DATA-ENTRY BOX where you just typed the IP Address. This should ADD the IP Address of your NowTV Box to the "Settings" of the Remoku App and result in an UPDATED "SETTINGS" SCREEN which looks something LIKE THIS:-
At this stage, it's probably a good idea to use the "NAME THIS ROKU" option, found under the section headed "Control This Roku" near the top of your screen. To do so, just tap in the DATA-ENTRY BOX which (by default) says "Remoku" and ENTER TEXT of your choice. This is especially useful if you have more than one NowTV Box / Roku Player (or a combination thereof) because it enables you to switch between them on the same Remoku App and easily identify which one you are controlling, by simply looking at the name. FYI: "NowTV Box" and "Roku 2 XS" seemed like appropriate names to use in my case so feel free to use those, too, or whatever else you like !!
Anyway, if you now tap on the "REMOTE" BUTTON at the top of your screen, you should be looking at an on-screen remote control layout something LIKE THIS:-
PLEASE NOTE: If you used the "NAME THIS ROKU" option then, where it says "Remoku" in the above image, you will instead see the name you entered for your device. ALSO: If you SET UP your Remoku App to control MORE THAN ONE DEVICE then you can tap on your device name (e.g. Remoku in the above image) to bring up a menu from which you can easily switch between devices.
N.B. If you chose NOT to "NAME THIS ROKU" and, instead, left the DATA-ENTRY BOX (intended for entering a device name) BLANK then you will see the IP ADDRESS of your selected device IN PLACE OF a device name (i.e. "192.168.1.3" instead of "Remoku", in this example).
By now, if set up correctly, you should easily be able to control your NowTV Box using the Remoku App on your iOS or Android mobile device. Even though the Remoku web application was originally intended for use with a Roku player, the symbols used for the buttons should be familiar to those of you with only a NowTV Box too. In fact there's only a minor change to the layout, as well, with the "Options" button being MOVED ABOVE the "FWD Scan", "Play/Pause" & "REV Scan" buttons PLUS the addition of an "Instant Replay" button (not found on the original NowTV Box Remote).
However, if you do run into any difficulty with either the 'SetUp' or 'Use Of' this Remoku App, there is an EXTREMELY USEFUL HELP PAGE available VIA THIS LINK which should answer most, if not all, of your questions. Failing that, you are advised to EITHER post to the Remoku Thread on the Roku Forums, OR to fill out a Remoku Support Form via Google Docs. These links can be used for BOTH additional help and to report bugs with the Remoku App.
FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH... I did try using the DIRECT ACCESS "Channel Store" button, found by tapping on the "Goodies" button (at the top of the Remoku App screen), to "Launch Channel Store" on the NowTV Box BUT found that IT TAKES MUCH LONGER to load the Roku Channel Store in this way. I tried it out because I thought it might be a viable option to replace the "Apps" Button found on the original NowTV Box Remote but, from my experience, it's FAR QUICKER to scroll through the channel icons from the NowTV Box (or Remoku App) Home Button and get into the Roku Channel Store by finding it's icon and then tapping the "OK" button. I'm just saying, is all...
It's a shame that the NowTV Box wasn't packaged with a clone of the Roku Remote App but maybe that will come someday? You might also think that, since the NowTV Box is "Powered by Sky", the folks at Sky (who have made some pretty good apps of their own already) could have come up with a basic offering fairly quickly which was up to the task... but, it seems they weren't up to it !!
Anyway, the main aim of this post was to provide NowTV Box owners with a useable remote control app for their iOS and/or Android mobile devices. So, on that score, it looks like... JOB DONE !! Having said that, if you own a Roku player but haven't yet tried using the Remoku App with it, then I suggest you give it a go too. Afterall, it's what the original Remoku web app was designed for !!
So, whether you own a NowTV Box OR a Roku Player, OR PERHAPS BOTH... you now have access to another means of controlling it remotely. Even if you happen to lose your original remote... or, worse yet, lose your mobile device AND your original remote, then YOU CAN STILL OPERATE both YOUR ROKU PLAYER and/or YOUR NOW TV BOX courtesy of the Remoku Web App on your PC or Apple Mac computer. For those reasons, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you make use of this app - JUST REMEMBER: To keep a note of the IP Address(es) for your streaming media player(s) so that, if need be, you can access Remoku online at anytime & take control of your streaming !!
Still, that's about it for this post. I hope you find the app useful, no matter whether you're using it with a NowTV Box, a Roku Player, or any combination thereof... either way, WE AIM TO PLEASE !!!!!!!!!