Compare Basic TV Packages
If you’re looking for your first digital TV service due to the switchover happening in your area, or switching between providers for better value, and you want a basic TV, phone and broadband bundle then you should compare the basic TV packages or starter packages from each provider.
Basic Sky TV Package
The Sky+ Starter package comes with a free Sky+ Box which has a standard set-up fee of £30 but this is often free too depending on the Sky TV deals available at the time. The TV element of the bundle is the Sky Entertainment Pack, with the channels from what used to be the Variety and Style & Culture Packs – see our Sky TV packages page for more detail. This will give you around 41 subscription channels plus the many free-to-air channels too, and with the Sky+ Box you can pause, rewind and record live TV. The box has 2 tuners so you can record one programme while watching another. To receive Sky TV you need a mini-dish installed somewhere on the outside of your property – if you rent you will need permission from the landlord.
The broadband element of the bundle is Sky Broadband Everyday Lite, a 20Mb service with a monthly usage limit of 2GB. A 3 month free trial of McAfee Internet Security Suite is also included.
The landline phone included in the basic Sky TV bundle is Sky Talk Freetime, which includes unlimited evening and weekend UK landline calls. You must take a Sky phone line for £12.25 a month rental.
Even if you want a basic TV package initially it’s worth bearing in mind the options you’ll have for upgrading with each provider at a later date. Sky Sports and Sky Movies are the leading subscription packages in their fields in the UK and you can add any of those on to a Sky TV package if you like. If you plan to go HD, Sky has without doubt the best choice of HD with over 50 channels available – to get these you need to add the HD Pack onto your package for an extra £10.25 a month. Sky are also the leaders in 3D TV and have a dedicated 3D channel showing movies, sport and other content in 3D, however it’s only available in the Sky World package, which is the top package on Sky and comes with all Sky Sports and Movies channels – quite a leap from the basic package.
Basic Virgin TV Package
TV, Broadband and Phone
The basic Virgin TV bundle comes with TV M+ which gives you 65 channels and comes with the Virgin V HD box as standard. This doesn’t have V+ capability to pause, rewind and record but you can upgrade to that, see below. It’s an HD ready box but HD needs to be activated as an optional extra – again, see below. Virgin Media is a cable TV provider so you need to live in a street where the cables have been laid to get it – check availability by postcode by clicking on the banner here.
The broadband included in the bundle is Broadband L, up to 10Mb speeds (and Virgin are known for delivering the best speeds in the UK) with no monthly usage limit. 5GB of online storage and 10 free photo prints each month are also included.
Virgin Phone M includes unlimited weekend calls to UK landlines and Virgin mobiles and line rental from Virgin costs £13.90 a month.
Sky Sports 1, 2, 3 and 4 are available on Virgin and can be added to a triple bundle for an extra monthly fee or taken in one of the Virgin Sky Sports bundles – Followers, Fans and Fanatics. More details here on our Sky Sports on Virgin Media page. Unlike Sky and BT, Virgin TV does not come with Personal Video Recorder (PVR) functions such as pause, rewind and record as standard – to get this you need to upgrade to the V+HD box for a one-off V+HD activation fee of £49.95 (there is also an extra monthly charge of £5.10 for V+ on any package other than TV XL, the largest). Virgin Media has up to 19 channels available in HD depending on the TV size you go for, including BBC, ITV, Channel4 and Five as well as FilmFour, Sky1 and ESPN. You need to be on the TV XL package to get all of the HD channels although a selection is included in M+ and L. For the ultimate upgrade TiVo is Virgin’s ‘next generation’ TV service – a box with a huge hard drive capacity and its own broadband connection that will search and bookmark programmes and other content from both your TV package and content on the web.
BT Basic TV Package
TV Essential + More Broadband and Calls
TV Essential + More Broadband and Calls is the basic BT Vision bundle and consists of a BT Vision+ Box, which receives Freeview TV through your normal aerial and combines it with on-demand content received through your BT broadband connection – it also lets you pause, rewind and record the Freeview channels available in your area. The Vision+ Box is free but there’s a £30 one-off connection fee, then the TV content is available on a Pay As You Go basis with shows starting at 50p. The BT TV packs on offer are Vision TV, TV Replay, Kids, Music, Sport, Box Office Films and Film Club and all can be accessed on this package except for Film Club.
Broadband in this BT package is up to 20Mb download speed with a 40GB usage limit. It also comes with online storage and free unlimited Wi-Fi minutes to connect to the internet when you’re out and about – handy when your 3G signal disappears.
The landline phone included gives you unlimited weekend calls to UK landline numbers – line rental is £13.90 a month but you can pay for a whole year in advance in which case it works out as £10 a month.
You can get Sky Sports on BT Vision by taking a viewing card for a one-off £10 fee that lets you receive Sky Sports 1 and 2 via Freeview for an added monthly charge – one of the benefits is you can take Sky Sports for a month at a time rather than the length of the contract. You can upgrade to a higher monthly cost package like More TV, Broadband and Calls or Unlimited TV, Broadband and Calls and get the Vision+ Box free and unlimited access to some or all of the TV packs instead of Pay As You Go.
Digital TV Packages
- Sky+ HD Starter
- Sky+ HD with Sky Movies
- Sky+ HD with Sky World
- Sky+ HD with Sky Sports
- Virgin TV L + Phone M
- Virgin Media TiVo Starter Bundle
- Virgin Media TiVo XL
- Top Up TV Favourites
- Top Up TV Complete Sports Pack
- BT Vision Gold Pack
- TV Essential + Broadband and Anytime Calls
- TV Unlimited + Broadband + Anytime Calls
Sky TV Starter Deal
Only £20 a month
Sky+ TV, broadband and calls £20 a month. Free Sky+ Box and set-up, up to 2MB broadband and included evening and weekend calls.
Virgin Value Bundle
£20 a month
This bundle has size ‘M+’ TV, that’s 65 channels, TiVo, On Demand & Catch-Up, 10Mb Broadband plus Phone with unlimited weekend calls! £20 a month plus line rental.
BT Vision Starter Deal
£18 a month
£4 a month first 4 months! > Free Vision+ Box > 20Mb Broadband – 10GB usage > Freeview, Catch-Up & Pay per View > Anytime calls > Online only offer
Top Up TV Favourites
£11.99 a month
Library of popular TV – over 700 shows to choose from each month including Life on Mars, Little Britain, Lost and many more. Top Up box from £39.99 – £20 set-up.