Sky Digital offer TV, broadband and phone services and are best known for Sky Sports and Movies – the TV channels are broadcast by satellite so you need a dish on the outside of your house and a Sky Box inside. The broadband is available in two sizes, Everyday Lite and Unlimited (as it uses a phone line the speed will vary depending on the distance between you and the exchange) and comes with the basic Sky Talk phone service, for which you need to pay Sky line rental. UK coverage is around 98%, so it’s widely available and as with most providers the best packages combine TV, broadband and landline phone – see the most popular bundles below.
Deal alert! Free £25 M&S Voucher for new customers joining Sky+ or Sky+HD online! Free box and set-up too until June 28th. Sky Movies half price for 3 months when you join Sky TV with Sky Movies – offer ends June 28th. Click here for details >> Sky Broadband Unlimited half price – new customers joining Sky Broadband Unlimited with Talk & Line Rental without TV get 9 months half price and existing TV customers adding Broadband Unlimited get 6 months half price – click here for that one – the offer is only available via this link.
Sky TV Starter Deal
Only £20 a month
Sky+ TV, broadband and calls £20 a month plus £12.25 line rental. Free Sky+ Box with free standard set-up, broadband, evening & weekend calls.
£30.25 a month
Get the HD box FREE with free set-up and have fantastic HD quality for £30.25 a month plus £12.25 line rental. Includes broadband and Sky Talk Freetime.
Sky+HD with Sky Movies
£46.25 a month
Movies in HD, 850 different movies a month, Free Sky+HD box, HD pack with wide choice of HD channels for £46.25 a month plus £12.25 line rental.
Sky+HD with Sky Sports
£50.25 a month
The fantastic Sky+HD Box, Sky Entertainment Pack plus Sky Sports! – over 100 sports with exclusive live coverage. £12.25 line rental payable
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 - these range from the Sky+ Box to the Sky+HD Box through to the special 1 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
Anytime+ is Sky's broadband-based TV on-demand service - they have a huge library of TV and film which can now be accessed by Sky TV customers via their broadband connection. For this reason although you are technically ready for Sky Anytime+ with Broadband Everyday Lite it is Broadband Unlimited that is recommended for using the service due to the amount of data allowance TV takes up in downloading. More info here on the Sky Anytime+ page.
Catch-Up TV on Sky
The best news recently for Sky TV customers is the announcement that the BBC iPlayer will be coming to the service later in 2012 - no fixed date yet but this will fill what has been a big gap in the Sky Digital offering, as Virgin Media and BT Vision already have it. ITV Player is already available with limited content but this is to be expanded later in the year too.
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 Everyday 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 £12.25 a month
- Talk Freetime is bundled as standard - includes evening and weekend UK landline calls
- Talk Unlimited for £5 per month gives you included anytime UK landline calls
- Option to pay line rental in advance for one year makes it £9.95 a month