Compare digital TV packages
Compare digital tv packages now and find the right one for you.
Compare digital TV packages
Trawling through digital TV packages can be confusing. Here’s our guide to making sure you get the most suitable deal.
What is digital TV?
Digital TV only means that you’re receiving your TV signal in a digital format, rather than in analogue format. All TV in the UK is now digital. There are lots of advantages to this, including:
- better picture and sound quality
- more channels
- on-demand services
- more interactivity and internet access
There is, however, more than one type of digital television service:
This form of digital TV, known in the UK as Freeview, is typically for people who are upgrading from analogue TV to digital services. The upgrade is very straightforward, as digital TV is received via your existing TV aerial, via an additional set-top box that can be bought for as little as £15 for older TVs. Newer TVs are already set up to receive Freeview via the aerial.
Digital satellite TV
This approach refers to TV that’s received via a satellite dish. Freesat offers a competitive satellite product. However, with the increasing delivery of fast broadband wired directly into the home via a phone line, the use of satellite dishes is decreasing, in favour of broadband-delivered digital TV.
Digital TV via broadband
Digital TV packages served via broadband are delivered via a network of high-speed fibre optic cables, directly to your door. This is increasingly the preferred delivery method for digital TV, with the largest choice of content providers.
What should I think about when comparing TV deals?
If you’re planning on getting a TV package, there are a few things to think about, such as:
TV and broadband bundle, or TV only?
First of all, what is it you’re looking for? Are you looking for TV deals with broadband, or just TV only? Bundling these together may save you some money and offer you the convenience of having one point of contact, but it may limit your options.
Which TV services can you receive?
Most homes in the UK can get at least one digital TV service. Satellite TV from Sky or Freesat can be accessed in around 99% of UK homes, while Virgin Media's cable service goes to around 50% of homes. Our comparison tool will ask you for your postcode, so you’ll be able to see the deals you can actually get where you live.
How much are the set-up costs?
Set-up costs can vary between £0 and £35 – sometimes more – so it's something to watch out for when weighing up the total cost over the year. Our comparison tool helps here by showing this, as well as the monthly figure.
Which channels do you really want to watch?
You don’t want to pay for live sports or dedicated movie channels if you’re not going to watch them. Check which channels screen your favourite shows and stick to those.
It may make sense for you to buy a package from Virgin or Sky, or you could find that’s expensive. Decide your budget first, otherwise it’s easy to find yourself paying for extra channels you might not need.
You may just want to stick with streaming services, like Netflix and Amazon, in which case you’ll want to make sure you have fast enough broadband to use them.
Other questions to ask yourself include:
- Do you want Ultra HD (Ultra high definition) or HD (which has around four times less resolution)?
- Do you want a deal that allows you to pause, record and rewind TV shows?
- Do you want on-demand TV, or TV on the go?
- Do you want to access digital TV in different rooms or on different devices?
- How long are you happy to sign up for?
While many contracts are just for 12 months, some TV providers might want you to sign up for 18 months or maybe longer for some deals. You'll need to decide if you’re happy with a longer contract.
Which TV providers do we compare?
We compare great TV and broadband packages from these providers:
With BT offering subscriptions for TV and broadband, either bundled or separate, you can get all the action from BT Sport, plus Freeview channels, AMC drama and the option to bolt on premium channels. Sky Sports and Sky Cinema packages can take your channel count to more than 50. What’s more, you can add and drop different TV bolt-ons each month, to tailor your experience in a way that’s flexible to how you watch TV.
BT Sport is popular with fans of a range of sports, with Premier League, Champions League, Europa League and FA Cup football, as well as rugby union, MotoGP, cricket, tennis and hockey.
On top of all those channels, BT’s TV box also allows you to record up to 300 hours of TV, which means you should never run out of things to watch.
While, since 27 June 2019, EE TV was no longer available to new customers, the service is still available to existing customers until March 2021, when it will then shut down.
EE TV offers access to over 70 channels, as well as a range of on-demand content. It’s multi-screen feature also allows you to watch four different shows, across different devices around your home. Perfect for families who fight over the remote!
You can also watch web-based streaming apps including YouTube and BBC iPlayer using EE’s Apple TV set-top box. There’s also the option to add BT Sport Ultimate, which gives you access to Premier League and Champions League football, Rugby Union, WWE and more.
Add YouView TV to your Plusnet Unlimited Fibre broadband package and get 20 premium channels, 70 Freeview channels and BT Sport Lite. BT Sport Lite includes the BT Sport 1 channel, with the full BT Sport service available as an extra add on. BT Sport broadcasts Premier League and Champions League football, as well as cricket, rugby, wrestling and more.
Plusnet also offer a broadband service, allowing you to bundle your internet and TV into one, easy to manage, package.
Get over 100 premium and Freeview channels with TalkTalk’s Entertainment Boost package. Bundles for sports and movies are also available. Sky Sports includes Premier League football, as well as cricket, rugby and more, while Sky Cinema offers some of the biggest blockbusters each year.
If you’re looking to pair your TalkTalk TV with a broadband connection, TalkTalk offer a wide range of speeds, from basic packages starting at an average of 11Mbps, but rising all the way up to ultra-fast speeds of 300Mbps.
Be spoilt for small screen entertainment choice with a huge range of channels, with over 350 available with the largest bundles, which can include premium sports and movies packages to choose from. Sky Sports and BT Sport offer Premier League and Champions League football, along with rugby, cricket, wrestling, boxing, F1 and more. Meanwhile, Sky Movies will offer access to some of the biggest movies each year.
You’ll also have access to a wide range of on-demand TV and film. With Virgin Media’s V6 box, you’ll be able to watch a range of movies and TV boxsets, whenever you’d like, as well as access a variety of TV and movie apps such as Netflix.
Virgin Media also boasts the fastest most accessible broadband network in the UK. Their DOCSIS® 3 fibre-optic technology offers ultra-fast speeds of up to 362Mbps. Virgin Media’s cable service operates outside of the Openreach network, which means it’s only available in selected areas.
Get your favourite streaming apps up on the bigger screen with Vodafone’s Apple TV set-top box. You’ll also get access to over 80 TV channels, including popular premium channels such as Comedy Central, MTV, Fox and more.
Pair this with a broadband connection and you can get average speeds ranging between 35-63Mbps, which is more than enough for HD streaming, video calling and online gaming.
Which TV providers have multiroom?
Most big providers, including BT, Virgin Media and TalkTalk offer multiroom TV, but if this is what you want, it’s always best to check. You might need extra set-top boxes too, so check prices.
Which is the cheapest TV provider?
The cheapest TV offering depends on what you want. The more premium channels and features you add, the more expensive your TV package is likely to be. Of course, providers can offer cut-price deals at any time, so you might be able to get the right TV package to suit you, for less. That’s one of the reasons why it’s so important to compare.
Frequently asked questions
Should I get my TV package with broadband and phone?
If you haven’t switched suppliers in the past two years, you could likely save money by doing so. And you could save even more by combining your digital TV package with your broadband and phone. Certainly, you should find there’s room to negotiate.
Combining your TV with your broadband and phone is also easier as it means you’ve only got one supplier, one contract and one bill. But it may leave you locked into a long contract, so check the small print.
What is internet TV?
Internet TV or IPTV (internet protocol television) is TV delivered via a broadband connection rather than a TV aerial or a cable. On-demand streaming services like the BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Apple TV and Sky Q are all examples of internet TV. You can watch internet TV on a television set, as well as your digital devices, but you’ll need a smart TV or set-top box.
Do I need a TV licence to watch digital TV?
If you watch or record live TV programmes on any channel, or watch or download any BBC programmes, you must have a TV licence.
Do I need a satellite dish for digital TV?
You’ll need a dish for Freesat – the free service backed by the BBC and ITV. You’ll also need one for Sky, although a dish-free service is in the pipeline. A dish is required if you want to get TV channels from a country outside the UK.
Do TV packages include streaming?
Most of the major TV providers, including TalkTalk, EE and Virgin Media, offer on-demand streaming from the likes of BBC iPlayer, Netflix and Amazon Prime. Check the package you’re interested in for details of exactly what it offers.
Can I watch digital TV on my mobile, tablet or laptop?
Watching TV doesn’t have to be about sitting in front of a TV set. Many TV providers offer apps and websites, making TV packages accessible from tablets, laptops and mobiles. Services include Sky Go, BT TV, TalkTalk TV and Virgin TV Anywhere. Check the package you’re interested in for details of the devices you can access it on.
Can I record TV and movies?
There are a group of digital TV providers who offer boxes which can record TV shows and movies:
- Virgin Media’s V6 box – allows you to record up to six shows while you’re watching a seventh. Series Link also means you’ll never miss an episode. Just click once and it’ll automatically record the whole series for you.
- Sky Q box - an award-winning box which can record and store up to 500 hours of TV and movies. Sky Q also allows you to record up to six shows while you watch a seventh.
- BT TV box – with a 500GB hard drive, this can store up to 300 hours of standard definition TV, 125 hours in HD and 30 hours in ultra-HD 4K.
You can also record your favourite TV shows with a personal video recorder (PVR). These will allow you to record multiple shows at the same time, all while watching something else. Hard drives of up to 1TB are common.
Where can I compare digital TV packages?
We can help – compare deals from a range of providers and find the one that works for you.