Sky Digital is the biggest provider in the UK and along with Virgin and BT is one of the three companies offering packages of TV, broadband and phone. Most people know the name from sports broadcasting and that’s been a contributing factor to Sky’s success, along with the fact that they offer 98% coverage so availability-wise it’s an option for most households. Sky Sports and Movies are now available through other providers too but Sky have kept ahead of the game by offering by far the most HD programming and being a pioneer of 3D – sure, nobody’s interested in 3D yet but they will be for movies and sport one day.
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Sky TV Starter Deal
£21.50 a month
Sky+ triple bundle with TV, broadband and calls. Free Sky+ Box with free standard set-up, 2GB broadband use, weekend UK landline calls. Only £21.50 a month plus £14.50 line rental
£31.75 a month
Get the HD box FREE with free set-up and have fantastic HD quality TV – includes broadband and Sky Talk Weekends. All this for £31.75 a month plus £14.50 line rental.
Sky+HD with Sky Movies
£47.75 a month
Movies in HD, 850 different movies a month, Free Sky+HD box, HD pack with wide choice of HD channels, broadband and talk. £47.75 a month plus £14.50 line rental.
Sky+HD with Sky Sports
£52.75 a month
The fantastic Sky+HD Box, Sky Entertainment Pack plus Sky Sports! – over 100 sports with exclusive live coverage. £52.75 a month plus £14.50 line rental.
Sky TV Packages
More about Sky TV
Equipment and Set-Up
To receive Sky TV you need a mini-dish installed somewhere on your property and a Sky TV box - here you have a choice between the regular Sky+HD Box and the special 2 Terabyte version of the HD box for those who wish to pay for more storage space. Installation is carried out by a Sky engineer and then the equipment is yours to keep, however if you live in a listed building or rented accommodation you need to make sure you have permission for a Sky dish to be installed. The minimum contract with Sky is 12 months.
What's on Sky?
Sky has up to 160 digital TV channels, as well as over 240 free-to-air channels, and is the leading provider of HD television with up to 60 channels available to subscribers of the £10.25 a month HD Pack. It has also been a pioneer of 3D TV in the UK and has a dedicated 3D channel available to subscribers of the Sky World HD package. Coverage for Sky in the UK is around 98%, which is a very good rate compared to Virgin Media (for which you need to live in a street that's been cabled) and Freeview-based services like BT Vision and Freeview itself, coverage for which still depends very much on area although will get better around the UK after digital switchover is complete. If you subscribe to Sky Digital you'll receive the regular free-to-air channels such as BBC, ITV etc through the dish as well as the channels in the entertainment pack you choose and any premium content you decide to take, such as sports and movies.
Entertainment Packs New Sky TV customers can choose between two TV packages - Entertainment and Entertainment Extra. Sky Entertainment gives you 44 channels, including Sky Atlantic, Sky1, Sky Living, FX, SyFy, Comedy Central, Sky Arts and Watch. 9 of the 10 most watched paid-for channels on Sky are included in the Entertainment Pack. Entertainment Extra has all this plus another 52 channels, giving you a lot more particularly in the kids, music and documentary channels. More about Sky TV packages here.
What is Sky+?
Sky+ is a recording service that essentially turns the Sky box into a PVR (or personal video recorder) and enables you to record, pause and rewind live TV using the built-in hard drive to store the data. Here are the main features of Sky+;
- Pause and rewind live TV - handy if you need to take a phone call, see to the kids and all the other little interruptions
- Record TV programmes - the Sky+ Box has 2 tuners so you can record 2 programmes at the same time, watch one channel while recording another or watch a previously recorded programme while recording 2 others
- Series Link - lets you record a whole TV series at the touch of a button
- Remote Record - if you forget to set your box to record you can do this remotely using your mobile phone or online
On Demand and Catch Up
Sky's On Demand broadband-based service comes included in all of their TV packages and anyone with the compatible black Sky+/Sky+HD box can get it by simply connecting the box to their broadband router. On Demand consists of a huge library of TV and film including box sets of popular series and access to catch-up TV from the last 7 days on BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4OD and Demand Five. More info on the Sky On Demand page here.
Sky Digital are well known for sports and movies, most of which comes at an extra monthly cost. If you're a big fan of both and want to add them all on the your package you would be wise to consider the Sky World package which includes Entertainment Extra, all the Sports and Movies and the Sky 3D channel.
Sky Sports and ESPN
One of the main attractions for many Sky customers is the Sky Sports family of channels - Sky Sports 1, 2, 3 and 4 and News. While some or all of these channels are available on Virgin Media and BT Vision, the full range in HD is only available from Sky directly, making Sky the first choice for most sport fans. The channels are added on with an extra monthly fee - details here on the Sky Sports page. ESPN can be added in a similar way with an extra fee dependent on whether or not you take Sky Sports.
It's not just sport where Sky have a leading edge but movies too - the collection of Sky Movies channels gives you an unrivalled choice of new and classic films, again as an optional add-on for an extra monthly fee. Sky Movies Premiere is where you'll find all the latest releases and exclusives and the rest of the channels in the Movies pack are largely split by genre, for example Family or Action & Adventure. More info here on the Sky Movies page.
Broadband and Phone in the TV Bundle
Most people take Sky TV as part of a dual or triple bundle with broadband and phone - here are the need-to-know basics about these services...
- Broadband Lite with 2GB usage limit included in the bundle
- Broadband Unlimited for £7.50 per month gives you the same speed but unlimited downloading
- Wireless 'N' router included
- You must have a Sky phone line and line rental to get Sky Broadband
Sky Talk and Line Rental
- Line rental is £14.50 a month
- Talk Weekends is bundled as standard - includes weekend UK landline calls
- Talk Anytime for £5 per month gives you included anytime UK landline calls