How to compare and buy TV packages
How do I compare different packages?
If you’re looking to compare TV packages, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve listed as many TV deals and bundles as we can find so you’re guaranteed to find one suitable for your needs.
Before you set out on your quest for quality TV, you need to know what’s available in your area. As TV is carried via cables, it is not available everywhere so, if you put your postcode into the tracker, we can tell you what you can get.
Check the detail
Before you pick a deal there are always a few things to keep an eye on to make sure you’re going to get your money’s worth. Many of the packages will tout a huge number of channels which, on paper at least, sounds very attractive. But just because you’ve got 400 channels to watch doesn’t guarantee that there’ll be anything on that you’re interested in, so make sure you check the channels listing so you know what you’re getting.
Why choose a TV package?
There are plenty of great reasons to pick a good TV package, here are three of them.
A great choice of channels
The breadth of content available to TV customers is huge. Long gone are the days of four channels and the Betamax player as a backup when there was nothing on. With a good TV package you’ll have all the entertainment, news, music, sport, kids channels and movies you could hope for.
Available as part of a bundle
All the TV providers we list on our comparison page offer their packages as part of broadband, TV and phone bundle, so you can group your communications and entertainment together in the same company, which is usually the cheapest, way to do it.
Additional content adds value to your package
Most TV providers offer some form of additional content with their TV packages, be it a TV on demand service, TV box sets or the ability to watch content on an app or online player. Make sure you check out what each provider offers so you get the best value for your money.
Pros & cons
- Great choice of channels
- Available in broadband and phone bundle
- Great additional content
- Top end packages can be quite pricey
- Some packages require installation
- Most packages need a long month contract
Which package is right for me?
A great TV package is only great if it suits your needs. Luckily, with the quantity of deals and bundles out there, there should be something that suits you down to the ground. Here are three we think are great for each level of commitment.
TalkTalk Plus TV
This is a simple broadband, TV and anytime calls package, which offers over 70 Freeview channels, seven Sky entertainment channels and a free YouView+ box. Because it comes as part of a bundle you also receive unlimited broadband and anytime calls to the UK landlines.
This is a great bundle for a household that loves great entertainment channels, but doesn’t want to splash out a load of money on content they’ll never use.
Virgin Media TV L
This is a compressive TV package from Virgin Media and comprises of over 170 channels, 11 HD channels and 10 Sky channels. The package also comes with a huge amount of TV on demand, so even if there’s nothing on, you should still be able to find something to watch. TV L comes with a V HD box, which will allow you to watch HD content.
This package is only available if you take out a phone deal with Virgin, and comes with free weekend calls to UK landlines and Virgin Mobile numbers.
Sky’s The Complete Bundle
This bundle from Sky is the ultimate package for the TV connoisseur. It comes with all the usual Freeview channels, 80+ entertainment channels, 50+ HD channels, Sky Movies HD, Sky Sports HD and a wealth of on demand content. Basically, it’s more content than one person could possible consume.
This is a great package, but comes with a large price tag. If you did opt for something this size, you’d want to make sure you were getting your money’s worth for, what is, a staggering amount of television.
What will I need?
When you order your TV package, make sure you know what you’ll need in order to receive the service.
You’ll need to sign a contract
Unlike some alternative TV providers, like NOW TV, the packages on this comparison table require you to sign a contract of between 12 to 18 months. Make sure you read the terms and conditions of the contract and also make sure that you understand the penalties of breaking the contract early. This usually involves having to pay off a set fee for the remaining months left of you contract, so it’s best avoided if at all possible.
You’ll need a broadband connection if you want on-demand content
If you want on-demand content you need to have a broadband connection. This is not a problem if you have selected a bundle that comes with broadband, but is worth remembering if you don’t. Installation of your TV should be pretty painless, but if you’re thinking about buying a Sky package, be aware that this will involve installing a satellite dish and receiver on your property, so you’ll have to organise an engineer visit.
How do I switch?
Be sure to avoid early cancellation charges
If you’re switching from one provider to another you need to do a few things to make sure you're up and running as fast as possible. Firstly, make sure you’re out of your contract period before you dive into something else, avoiding an early cancellation charge is always preferable to starting your new packages as soon as possible.
You may need to contact both providers and tell them about the move
If you’re moving to or from Virgin Media TV, and you’re moving broadband at the same time, you will have to tell both your new and old provider about the switch. If you don’t, you may end up paying for two services at once.
But if you’re moving between anyone else (such as BT TV to TalkTalk TV, or EE TV to Sky TV) you won’t have to say a word to your previous provider – even if you’re moving broadband at the same time. As long as your new provider knows that you’re switching everything will be taken care of for you.
Six essential questions before you buy
- Can I commit to a 12-18 month contract?
- How much TV do I watch?
- Do I want Sky Sports or Sky Movies?
- Am I comfortable switching providers?
- Do I want to group my TV package into a broadband and phone bundle?
- Do I want HD channels?
It’s so easy to get swept away with the vast amount of content on offer, so to prevent blowing all your money on a package you won’t see good value from, ask yourself some honest questions about your viewing habits.
It’s also worth looking past the headline news of your bundle and focussing on any charges that are not immediately obvious. Most bundles come with introductory offers that end a few months into the contract term, so keep an eye on the total cost of the bundle, as opposed to the introductory price.