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Why Compare TV Providers?

Comparing TV providers can help you:

  • Save money: By comparing deals from different providers, you can find the best value for your money and potentially save hundreds of pounds per year.
  • Get better features: Different providers offer unique features like advanced set-top boxes, on-demand content, and streaming integrations. Comparing allows you to find the features that matter most to you.
  • Find tailored packages: With a wide range of packages available, comparing providers helps you find the perfect combination of TV channels, broadband speeds, and extras to suit your needs.
Why Compare TV Providers

Top TV Providers in the UK

Sky TV

Sky TV is one of the UK's biggest TV providers, offering a wide range of TV package deals and features:

  • Packages available: Sky offers a variety of packages, from basic options with popular channels to comprehensive bundles with premium content.
  • Unique features: Sky Q allows you to record multiple shows at once and access content on the go, while Sky Glass is an all-in-one TV with built-in streaming services.
  • Add-ons: Sky Sports channels and Sky Cinema packages provide access to exclusive live sports and the latest movies.
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Virgin Media TV

Virgin Media TV combines powerful broadband with an extensive TV offering:

  • Packages and broadband speeds: Virgin Media offers packages with up to 230+ channels and virgin media broadband speeds up to 1130Mbps.
  • Key features: The Virgin V6 box allows you to record six shows at once and access streaming apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
  • Availability and coverage: Virgin Media's services are available to over 15 million homes across the UK.
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BT TV offers a range of packages focused on sports and entertainment:

  • Channels offered: BT TV packages include popular channels like AMC, Sky Atlantic, and BT Sport.
  • Sports packages: BT Sport is the exclusive home of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League in the UK.
  • Set-top box functionality: The BT TV box allows you to pause, rewind, and record live TV shows.
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TalkTalk TV

TalkTalk TV provides affordable packages with flexible options:

  • Basic package details: TalkTalk's basic TV package includes over 80 Freeview channels.
  • Streaming service integration: TalkTalk TV offers integration with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and NOW TV.
  • Cost-effective options: TalkTalk often has competitive pricing and special offers for new customers.
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NOW TV offers flexible TV passes without a long-term contract:

  • Flexibility with memberships: NOW TV allows you to choose from monthly passes for Entertainment, Cinema, Sports, and Kids content.
  • Content variety: NOW TV provides access to popular Sky channels and exclusive shows without a Sky subscription.
  • Broadband bundle options: You can combine NOW TV with a broadband package for a complete home entertainment solution.
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EE TV combines Freeview channels with on-demand content:

  • Freeview access: EE TV includes over 70 free-to-air channels.
  • Streaming service availability: EE TV offers access to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and other streaming apps.
  • Apple TV 4K compatibility: EE TV is available through the Apple TV 4K device, providing a seamless viewing experience.
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Plusnet TV

Plusnet TV focuses on providing affordable sports content:

  • Sports offerings: Plusnet TV includes BT Sport channels as standard.
  • Streaming through BT Sport app: Customers can stream BT Sport content on the go through the BT Sport app.
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Comparison of Packages and Prices

Basic Packages

Provider Package Name Monthly Price Number of Channels
Sky TV Sky Signature £26 300+
Virgin Media Big Bundle £33 100+
BT TV Entertainment £12 80+
TalkTalk TV TV Select £12 80+
NOW TV Entertainment Pass £9.99 20+

Premium Packages

Provider Package Name Monthly Price Number of Channels Key Features
Sky TV Sky Ultimate TV £50 400+ Sky Q box, Netflix included
Virgin Media Bigger Bundle + Movies £79 210+ Sky Cinema, BT Sport, 4K
BT TV VIP £73 140+ NOW TV passes, Sky Atlantic
TalkTalk TV TV Select + Fibre 150 £39 80+ Ultrafast fibre broadband, TalkTalk TV Planner

Equipment and Setup

Set-Top Boxes and Features
  • Sky Q: Record up to six shows at once, store up to 500 hours, and access apps like Netflix and YouTube.
  • Virgin V6: Record six shows at once, store up to 500 hours, and access apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
  • BT TV Box: Pause, rewind, and record live TV, store up to 300 hours, and access apps like Netflix and NOW TV.
  • TalkTalk TV Planner: Record up to four shows at once, store up to 200 hours, and access apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Most providers offer professional installation for a fee, typically around £30-£50. Self-installation options are also available for some providers, which can save you money but may require more technical knowledge.

Broadband Integration

Speed and Reliability

When choosing a TV provider, it's essential to consider the quality of their broadband service. Providers like Virgin Media and BT offer some of the superfast broadband speeds in the UK.

Provider Maximum Speed Average Speed Reliability Rating
Virgin Media 1130Mbps 630Mbps 4.5/5
BT 900Mbps 460Mbps 4.4/5
Sky 500Mbps 250Mbps 4.3/5
TalkTalk 500Mbps 230Mbps 4.1/5
EE 300Mbps 200Mbps 4.2/5
Plusnet 66Mbps 50Mbps 4.0/5

Source: Ofcom, 2023

Bundling Options

Many providers offer bundling options that combine TV, broadband, and home phone services into a single package. Bundling can often provide better value for money and the convenience of having a single bill for all your home entertainment needs. When comparing TV deals, consider the available broadband speeds and whether the package includes a working broadband connection suitable for your household's needs.

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Special Features and Add-Ons

Sports Packages

Sky Sports vs BT Sport

Sky Sports and BT Sport are the two main sports packages available in the UK, each with exclusive rights to different events and leagues.

Sky Sports BT Sport
Premier League (128 games per season) Premier League (52 games per season)
EFL Championship, League One, League Two UEFA Champions League
Formula 1 UEFA Europa League
Cricket (England home tests, The Hundred) Gallagher Premiership Rugby
Golf majors (The Open, US Open) MotoGP
Special Features and Add-Ons
TNT Sports and Other Sports Channels

TNT Sports (formerly Eurosport) is available on BT TV, Sky, Virgin Media, and Plusnet. It offers coverage of various sports, including tennis, cycling, snooker, and the Olympic Games. Other channels like MUTV, Liverpool TV, and Premier Sports are also available as add-ons with some providers, giving you access to even more live sports content.

Movie and Entertainment Packages

Sky Cinema vs NOW Cinema

Sky Cinema and NOW Cinema offer access to the latest movie releases and a vast library of on-demand films.

Sky Cinema NOW Cinema
Available with Sky TV packages Available as a standalone monthly pass
11 dedicated channels Stream on multiple devices
Over 1,000 movies on demand New premieres every day
On-Demand Services and Premium Channels

Most TV providers now offer integration with popular streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+. This allows you to access a vast library of on-demand content directly through your set-top box, without needing to switch devices. Some providers also offer their own premium channels, such as Sky Atlantic, which are included in higher-tier packages or available as add-ons.

Customer Service and Support

Contact Options

TV providers offer various contact options for customer support, including:

  • Phone support
  • Live chat
  • Email
  • Social media (Twitter, Facebook)
  • Community forums

Response times and availability may vary depending on the provider and the contact method chosen.

Customer Satisfaction

According to a 2023 survey by Ofcom, the UK's communications regulator, customer satisfaction levels for the main TV providers were as follows:

Provider Overall Customer Satisfaction
Sky 86%
Virgin Media 83%
BT 80%
TalkTalk 78%
EE 82%
Plusnet 85%

Source: Ofcom, 2023

Technical Support

Troubleshooting Guides

Most TV providers offer extensive online troubleshooting guides to help customers resolve common issues with their TV service, set-top boxes, and remote controls. These guides often include step-by-step instructions, videos, and FAQs to help you quickly find a solution.

Service Guarantees

Some providers offer service guarantees to ensure that customers receive a reliable and high-quality TV experience. For example, Sky offers a "Sky Broadband Boost" option, which includes a guaranteed minimum speed, enhanced Wi-Fi coverage, and priority engineer visits if needed.

Customer Service and Support

Choosing the Right TV Package

Assessing Your TV Viewing Habits

Before selecting a TV package, consider your household's viewing habits:

  • What types of content do you enjoy watching (e.g., sports, movies, drama series)?
  • How much time do you spend watching TV each week?
  • Do you prefer to watch live TV or on-demand content?
  • How many people in your household will be using the TV service?

Answering these questions will help you determine which package and features best suit your needs.

Comparing Prices and Contract Lengths

When comparing TV deals, pay attention to the monthly prices and contract lengths. Some providers may offer lower introductory prices that increase after a certain period, while others have consistent pricing throughout the contract. Also, consider any setup fees or early termination charges that may apply.

Contract lengths for TV packages typically range from 12 to 24 months. Longer contracts may offer lower monthly prices but commit you to the provider for a more extended period. Shorter contracts or no-contract options provide more flexibility but may have higher monthly costs.

Bundling TV with Broadband and Home Phone

Many providers offer discounts and convenience when you bundle TV services with broadband and home phone. Consider your household's internet and phone needs and compare bundle deals to see if they offer better value than purchasing services separately. Keep in mind factors like broadband speed, data allowances, and call packages when evaluating bundle options.

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The Future of TV Viewing

As technology continues to evolve, the way we consume TV content is also changing. Streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+ have disrupted the traditional TV market, offering on-demand access to a vast library of content without the need for a long-term contract or expensive hardware.

Many TV providers are now adapting to this shift by integrating streaming services into their set-top boxes and offering more flexible viewing options. The rise of 5G networks and improved broadband infrastructure may also lead to more households "cutting the cord" and relying solely on internet-based TV services.

Despite these changes, linear TV channels are likely to remain an essential part of the viewing landscape, particularly for live events, news, and sports coverage. As the TV industry continues to evolve, consumers can expect more choice, personalisation, and convenience in how they access and enjoy their favourite content.

Which Streaming Service is Best: Netflix, Sky Stream, Amazon Prime Video, or Disney+

Which Streaming Service is Best: Netflix, Sky Stream, Amazon Prime Video, or Disney+?

In recent years, streaming services have revolutionised the way we consume TV content, offering a vast library of movies, series, and documentaries on-demand. Among the most popular streaming platforms in the UK are Netflix, Sky Stream, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+, each with its unique features and content offerings.

When choosing a streaming service, consider factors like the available content library, user interface, and compatibility with your existing broadband provider. Some key points to keep in mind:

  • Netflix: Known for its extensive collection of movies, TV shows, and original productions like "Stranger Things," "The Crown," and "Bridgerton." Netflix offers a user-friendly interface and the ability to create multiple user profiles. Many popular broadband providers, including Virgin Media and BT, offer bundle deals that include Netflix subscriptions along with superfast broadband.
  • Sky Stream: Sky's streaming service provides access to a wide range of live TV channels, on-demand box sets, and exclusive content like "Chernobyl," "Succession," and "Gangs of London." Sky Stream also integrates with other streaming platforms like Netflix and Disney+, allowing you to access all your entertainment channels in one place.
  • Amazon Prime Video: Included with an Amazon Prime membership, Prime Video offers a mix of movies, TV series, and original content like "The Boys," "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," and "Good Omens." As a bonus, Prime members also receive benefits like free shipping, access to Prime Music, and exclusive deals.
  • Disney+: The go-to platform for fans of Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, and Pixar content. Disney+ offers a growing library of original series like "The Mandalorian," "WandaVision," and "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier," along with classic animated films and family-friendly entertainment channels.

When comparing streaming services, don't forget to factor in the cost of your broadband connection. Choosing the right package from a reliable broadband provider is essential for smooth streaming and uninterrupted viewing. Look for deals that bundle your preferred streaming service with a high-speed internet connection to get the best value for your money.

Many digital TV providers also offer the option to integrate streaming services directly into their set-top boxes, allowing you to switch seamlessly between live TV and on-demand content. This can be particularly convenient if you're looking for an all-in-one entertainment solution.

Frequently Asked Questions About TV Providers

TalkTalk and Plusnet often have the cheapest basic TV packages, with prices starting from around £12 per month. However, the cheapest option for you will depend on your specific needs, such as the channels you want, the size of your household, and whether you need broadband and phone services as well.

Bundling your TV and broadband services can often provide better value for money and the convenience of a single monthly bill. Many providers offer discounts for bundling services together, so it's worth comparing bundle deals to see if you can save money compared to purchasing TV and broadband separately.

Most major TV providers, including Sky, Virgin Media, BT, and TalkTalk, offer multi-room options, allowing you to watch TV in different rooms of your house. Multi-room services usually require additional set-top boxes and may incur an extra monthly fee.

Internet TV, also known as streaming TV or over-the-top (OTT) TV, refers to TV services delivered via the internet rather than through traditional cable or satellite networks. Examples of internet TV services include Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and NOW TV. Many traditional TV providers now offer integration with these streaming services through their set-top boxes.

Yes, you need a TV licence to watch or record live TV programmes on any channel, including digital TV, streaming services, and on-demand content on services like BBC iPlayer. However, you don't need a TV licence to watch on-demand content on other services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, or YouTube.

It depends on the provider. Sky TV and Freesat require a satellite dish for their services, while providers like Virgin Media, BT, and TalkTalk use a cable or broadband connection to deliver TV content. If you don't want a satellite dish, choose a provider that offers TV through your broadband connection.

Many TV packages now include integration with streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+. This means you can access these services directly through your set-top box, without needing a separate device. Some providers also offer their own streaming services, such as NOW TV from Sky or BT TV's integration with NOW TV passes.

Most TV providers offer mobile apps or web portals that allow you to watch live TV, on-demand content, and recordings on your mobile devices and laptops. The specific features and limitations may vary depending on the provider and your subscription package.

Yes, most TV providers offer set-top boxes with recording capabilities. The exact features, such as the number of shows you can record simultaneously and the storage capacity, will depend on the specific set-top box and provider. Some providers also offer cloud recording, which allows you to record and store content remotely without needing local storage.

The best way to watch sport on TV depends on the specific sports and events you're interested in. Sky Sports and BT Sport are the two main sports packages in the UK, each with exclusive rights to different competitions and leagues. If you're a fan of a particular sport, check which provider has the rights to the events you want to watch. You can also consider streaming services like NOW TV's Sky Sports Pass or Amazon Prime Video, which offer select live sports coverage.

Sky Sports is the exclusive home of Formula 1 in the UK, showing every race live and in Ultra HD. If you're a Sky TV customer, you can add the Sky Sports package to your subscription to watch F1. Alternatively, you can purchase a NOW TV Sky Sports Pass to stream F1 races live without a Sky subscription. Channel 4 also shows highlights of each race and live coverage of the British Grand Prix.

Many TV providers offer multi-room services, allowing you to watch TV in different rooms of your house. This usually requires additional set-top boxes for each room and may incur an extra monthly fee. Some providers, like Sky Q and Virgin Media, also offer wireless mini boxes that allow you to watch TV in another room without needing a separate cable connection.

Yes, some providers offer TV-only deals without requiring a broadband subscription. For example, Sky offers a Sky TV-only package, and Freesat provides a satellite TV service without the need for broadband. However, many of the best deals and discounts are often available when bundling TV with broadband and phone services.

Basic TV packages typically include all the standard Freeview channels, such as BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Channel 5, along with their associated secondary channels like BBC Two, ITV2, and E4. The exact number of channels may vary between providers, but most basic packages offer between 70 and 100 channels.

To find the best TV deals in your area, start by checking which providers offer services at your address. You can do this by visiting the providers' websites and entering your postcode or by using comparison websites like Free Price Compare. Once you know which providers are available, compare the packages, prices, and features to find the best deal for your needs. Don't forget to consider factors like contract length, setup costs, and any discounts or promotions available.

The broadband speed you need for streaming TV depends on the quality of the video content and the number of devices streaming simultaneously. Here are some general guidelines:

  • For standard definition (SD) streaming: 3 Mbps minimum
  • For high definition (HD) streaming: 5 Mbps minimum
  • For 4K Ultra HD streaming: 25 Mbps minimum

Keep in mind that these are the minimum speeds required for a single device. If you have multiple devices streaming content at the same time or other activities like online gaming or video conferencing, you'll need a higher broadband speed to ensure a smooth experience. When comparing TV and broadband deals, look for packages with download speeds that meet your household's needs.

Some providers offer no-contract or short-term contract options for TV services. These deals provide more flexibility but may have higher monthly prices compared to longer contracts. NOW TV is a popular choice for no-contract TV, offering monthly passes for entertainment, sports, and movies. Other providers like BT and Virgin Media may offer 30-day rolling contracts for some of their TV packages.

The best TV provider for sports fans depends on the specific sports and leagues you follow. Sky Sports and BT Sport are the two main contenders, each holding exclusive rights to different competitions.

Sky Sports offers extensive coverage of the Premier League, Formula 1, cricket, golf, and more. BT Sport is the exclusive home of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, and also covers Premier League football, Premiership Rugby, and MotoGP.

If you're a fan of multiple sports, you may need to combine packages from different providers to get comprehensive coverage. Alternatively, streaming services like NOW TV and Amazon Prime Video offer select live sports coverage without a lengthy contract.

There are several ways to save money on your TV subscription:

  1. Bundle your TV, broadband, and phone services to take advantage of package discounts.
  2. Regularly compare deals and negotiate with your current provider to ensure you're getting the best price.
  3. Consider downgrading to a lower-tier package if you don't watch many premium channels.
  4. Take advantage of free trials and promotional offers when signing up for a new service.
  5. Use streaming services like Freeview Play or BBC iPlayer to access free-to-air content without a subscription.
  6. Share your subscription with family or housemates to split the cost.

Remember to review your subscription periodically and make changes as needed to keep your TV costs under control.

Page last updated on: 27/06/2024

Page reviewed by: Brijesh Patel

4000+ reviews