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Get a whole year of Meerkat Meals & Meerkat Movies*

Get a whole year of Meerkat Meals & Meerkat Movies*

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Your handy guide to comparing TV and broadband deals

When it comes to entertainment, we've never had it so good. Whether you want box sets or boxing matches, there's a TV package for you. And with streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, it makes perfect sense to combine your broadband and TV into one package.

Competition is fierce for digital TV and broadband, so before you sign a contract, here's a quick overview of what's what.

 

Should I get a TV and broadband package? 

It depends what your TV habits are. If you watch a lot of live TV, then combining it with your broadband could save you money, as providers often offer discounts for bundling multiple products. With the market being so competitive, companies are regularly offering incentives for people to switch or upgrade, with gifts, vouchers and cashback all commonly featured in promotions. You’ll also have the benefit of being able to talk to the same people about all of your needs, which may help make your life simpler.

However, if your TV viewing generally centres around streaming services such as Netflix, NOW TV or Amazon Prime, you may find that you don’t need to bulk out your TV package, and may just require a standard TV deal.

Separating your TV and broadband also opens you up to a much wider pool of potential providers. There aren’t many companies which combine the two, which may leave you more restricted, depending on your needs. Although it will mean you have to handle two separate accounts, you may find that the smaller providers can offer you a better deal. 
 
That’s where Compare the Market comes in. We can help you review all of your options, by comparing both bundled and separate packages, allowing you to choose a great package. 

Which companies offer broadband and TV packages? 

Most of the largest providers offer combined broadband and TV packages: the big three in the UK are BT, Sky and Virgin Media. 

You can get everything from basic broadband and standard TV, to unlimited broadband and more TV channels than you ever thought possible. It all depends on what you want and how much you want to pay. 

Plus, each provider offers exclusive content and extras to entice you – we're talking free wireless routers, added channels, anti-virus software, or even high-street gift vouchers. 

Frequently asked questions

What’s the best broadband?

Choosing a broadband package depends mainly on three things: how much data you use, how fast you want things to load, and where you live.

If you're downloading music or playing games online, you'll want high-speed broadband and unlimited data.

If you don't use your internet for much more than web browsing, you'll probably only need a lower-speed broadband connection with a monthly data limit  – this is usually cheaper because you're using less.

Where you live affects what kind of deal you can get because not everywhere has superfast broadband connections – they made up 44% of all connections at the end of 2016. In more rural areas, the broadband speed tends to be slower.

What should I look for in a TV package?

Now you've got broadband into your home, you can start channel hopping. The best thing about having so many channels to choose from is that you can pick exactly what you want to watch – so you won't be paying for things you don't. 
 
Of course, it’s not just about the number of channels you have access to. You can have over 1,000 channels, but if you’re only interested in watching 50 of them, what’s the point? 
 
Many providers now offer TV packages that are designed around genres. You can get the base service, and then add channel packages such as sports, film and kids on top. 

What channels can I get with a broadband and TV deal?

You can only get some TV channels with a particular provider, with sports channels particularly fighting over exclusive coverage. 
For example: 

  • BT Sport has the rights to broadcast European Champions League football matches, selected Premier League matches, and premiership rugby 
  • Sky Sports focus on football, golf, cricket and boxing 
  • Virgin TV offers a mix of both Sky and BT sport channels 
  • Sky TV has the highly coveted Sky Atlantic and offers Sky box sets with 400 UK and US series, including top shows 

You can record up to six shows, while you watch a seventh, on the Virgin Media TV V6 box or the Sky Q 2TB digital recording box – but you might have to pay an additional fee for them with some packages. You should check your TV has the necessary HDMI inputs to plug into. Most of the time you can bolt on channels from different providers by paying a bit extra. Packages can also include access to Netflix, TV on demand (such as All 4 or BBC iPlayer), or the ability to watch channels directly on your computer or mobile device, as well as your TV (another benefit to bundling your TV in with your broadband). 

How do broadband and TV contracts work?

Most combined TV and broadband packages run for 12 to 18 months. Once you've signed on the dotted line, you'll need to see out your minimum term, or pay a cancellation fee to opt out earlier. These fees can be high, so make sure you know what the charge is before you sign to avoid being stung if you do need to cancel early.

Some providers offer introductory rates as a new customer offer. Check when the full rate will kick in and factor that in when comparing with other providers – in the long term you might not be better off.

Line rental is something else to consider. Sometimes this is included in your contract, and sometimes it's an extra cost. You can usually choose whether to pay it all upfront and have a lower monthly cost, or to spread it out by including it in your usual monthly payment.

Can I get a broadband and TV bundle without a phone line?

It depends on the type of broadband you’re able to receive. The most commonly available broadband type is ADSL, which uses your phoneline to send data. For this type, you must have a phoneline. Fibre broadband also typically requires a phoneline, as the most commonly available service is fibre to the cabinet (FTTC), from where the traditional phoneline will carry the signal from the street cabinet to your home. Only fibre to the premises (FTTP), allows you to bypass a phoneline, but this has much more limited availability.

The other alternative is mobile broadband. With 4G widely available, and 5G debuting in select areas and growing, mobile broadband speeds are increasing to levels that are similar to cable services.

Is it easy to switch TV and broadband provider?

Yes – and you could save a ton of money.

Most of the legwork is done by your new provider. You just need to arrange a cancellation and start-up date, and they'll do the rest.

You can find out more about how it works in our guide to switching broadband provider.

How can I find the best broadband and TV deals for me?

One of the best ways to find great broadband and TV deals is to compare the latest offers. With Compare the Market, simply enter your postcode, and we’ll bring you deals from big and small providers, allowing you to select the right option for you.

Ready to compare some real deals? Pop in your postcode and we’ll do the rest. Happy viewing!

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