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BT TV vs Sky TV

Richard Murphy
Wednesday, November 8th 2017

Both Sky and BT offer a wide amount of content over their respective channels. Sky is renowned for its range of channels, but is more expensive than BT.

If you are struggling to make your mind up, you can find all the details you need right here to help you decide which is the best for you.

Channels

The maximum number of channels you can get with a BT TV package is around 150. You will not get Sky 1 or Sky Atlantic with BT. The maximum number of channels offered by a Sky package is around 450. You can get BT Sport, Sky Sports and Sky Cinema with either provider for an extra monthly fee.

BT TV Packages

BT TV offers three packages: Starter, which offers the standard Freeview channels; Entertainment, which adds around 28+ extra channels and Max, which comes with roughly 50 more channels. You have to have BT broadband to get BT TV.

  • BT Unlimited Broadband + Calls + TV Starter & Sport

    BT
    • Freeview + BT Sport (add at checkout)
    • Pay nothing today
    • Weekend calls
    • YouView+ box & BT Smart Hub router
    Offer ends 14th December
    £27 .49
    £59.99 set-up cost includes line rental See Deal
  • BT Unlimited Infinity + Calls + TV Entertainment

    BT
    • Freeview + 29 premium channels
    • Pay nothing today
    • Weekend calls
    • YouView+ box & BT Smart Hub router
    Offer ends 14th December, Activation fee discount worth £30 & Free Amazon Echo Dot worth £49.99
    £41 .99
    £29.99 set-up cost includes line rental See Deal
  • BT Unlimited Infinity + Calls + TV Max

    BT
    • Freeview + 60 premium channels
    • Pay nothing today
    • Weekend calls
    • YouView Ultra HD box & BT Smart Hub router
    Offer ends 14th December, Activation fee discount worth £30 & Free Amazon Echo Dot worth £49.99
    £51 .99
    £29.99 set-up cost includes line rental See Deal

Max is the premium package

Max comes with 80 Freeview channels and around 50+ extra channels including popular kids and entertainment channels. You also get over 25 HD channels, including the UK’s first ever UHD channel – BT Sport UHD. (You’ll need a 4K TV to be able to watch it.)

Various TV bolt-ons are available

To enhance your TV package you can add extra channels, including HD Extra, Kids Extra, Music, Netflix, Sky Cinema and Sky Sports. The TV bolt-ons are limited to certain packages. For example, you can only get Sky Sports with one of the Entertainment packs.

Existing BT customers can choose Essential or Entertainment Max

Essential has the same channels as Starter, and is only available with standard broadband. Entertainment Max is available with BT Infinity and comes with around 50 extra channels, with about 20 in HD.

Sky TV Packages

Sky has six base packages: the Original Bundle, the Variety Bundle, the Box Sets Bundle (previously the Family Bundle), the Cinema Bundle, the Sports Bundle and, for those of us that need absolutely everything, the Complete Bundle. Each bundle offers increasing amounts of channels, from documentaries to kids TV, depending on what you want. You can take Sky TV without broadband, but you will be unable to access on demand and catch up services.

  • Sky Entertainment

    Sky
    • 75+ entertainment channels, 11 HD channels,
    • 250+ free-to-air channels
    • Comes with Sky Q 1TB box as standard
    £20
    £20 set-up cost See Deal
  • Sky Entertainment HD

    Sky
    • ---- entertainment channels, 56 HD channels
    • 250+ free-to-air channels, on-demand shows
    • Sky Q 1TB box
    £25
    £20 set-up cost See Deal

You can add Sky Cinema, Sky Sports or BT Sport

On top of these, you can add the Sky Cinema package, which features 11 film channels, and/or the Sky Sports package, which features six popular sport channels. You can also add BT Sport to any Sky bundle for £22.99 a month – or for £0 if you’re a BT broadband customer (activation costs £20 or £35, depending on length of contract).

Technology & Equipment

All BT TV packages come with a YouView box

All TV packages from BT come with the YouView set-top box, which allows you to pause and rewind live TV. If you choose Entertainment with unlimited BT Infinity, you get a YouView+ box, which can record up to 300 hours of TV. You can also scroll back through the previous seven days’ of programming, so you can catch up on anything you’ve missed.

If you purchase the Max pack you get a 1TB UHD YouView+ set-top box, which will allow you to record up to 600 hours of live TV.

Sky Q box comes all with Sky TV packages and can be upgraded

Sky packages, on the other hand, all come with a Sky Q box which lets you pause, rewind and record TV. You can also enjoy all your favourite content in HD with the Box Sets Bundle (previously the Family Bundle). If you’ve got a particularly voracious appetite for films and television, you can upgrade to the 2TB box, which has six times the amount of storage as the basic model.

Customer Service

BT has struggled with customer satisfaction

According to the most recent Ofcom report, BT’s customer service hasn’t been rated. But looking at past reports, BT hasn’t performed well, since customers were unhappy with the time it took for BT to respond to queries.

Sky has the best customer service for a subscription TV service

It couldn’t really be a more different story when it comes to Sky, as it features at the top of Ofcom's latest report, with a customer satisfaction ranking of 76%, which has been a fairly steady year-on-year rise.

Extras

BT’s TV can be supplemented by additional bolt-ons

BT’s base TV packages look a little sparse when compared to Sky’s, but they can be built up if you want to splash out a bit. For additional monthly charges, you can add BT Kids, BT Box Sets, BT Film and BT Music, which provide additional channels based around those genres. You can also add Sky Cinema and Sky Sports.

You can also get the BT TV app if you subscribe to one of the Entertainment packages and have an extra box subscription. You can then watch live TV or on demand (subject to have a wifi connection) on your tablet or smartphone when you are away from home.

Sky has more to offer on top of its extensive base packages

Sky has a much more wide-ranging selection of base packages, but there are also additional features you can pile on top to broaden the scope of your viewing. For additional monthly payments, you can add Sky Sports Pack and Sky Cinema Pack.

You can also register for the Sky Go app for free to watch content on your mobile, laptop or tablet. Or for an extra £5 per month (free with Sky Multiscreen) you can watch content on your device without an internet connection. Sky Multiscreen, available at a price, means you can watch TV on different screens in different rooms.

Conclusion

Sky was established as a provider of television first and foremost, and it has grown to become the premier company for telly addicts, sports fans and film buffs everywhere. It has a wealth of entertainment, children’s and factual channels, as well as the option to add Sky Sports and Sky Cinema. But it is not cheap.

If you want BT TV, you have to also be prepared to take BT broadband in some form. This is because BT TV functions as an add-on rather than as a service in its own right like Sky.

Ultimately, if you want a great TV package, and the freedom to choose who you want as a broadband provider, it has to be Sky.

Compare BT TV deals → Compare Sky TV deals →

Prices include line rental
  • TalkTalk Broadband + TV

    • Freeview channels
    • Pay nothing today
    • TV Box & Super Router
    • Up to 17Mb
    • 103 channels
    • PAYG calls
    £19 .95
    £25 set-up cost Go
  • BT Unlimited Broadband + Calls + TV Starter & Sport

    • Freeview + BT Sport (add at checkout)
    • Pay nothing today
    • Weekend calls
    • YouView+ box & BT Smart Hub router
    • Up to 17Mb
    • 73 channels
    • Inclusive calls
    Offer ends 14th December
    £27 .49
    £59.99 set-up cost Go
  • TalkTalk Broadband + TV Plus

    • Freeview + 30 extra channels
    • Pay nothing today
    • TV Plus Box & Super Router
    • Up to 17Mb
    • 136 channels
    • PAYG calls
    Offer ends 21st December, No broadband setup fee & Fixed price for the contract length
    £25 .95
    £25 set-up cost Go
  • Virgin Media The Full House TV Bundle

    • Freeview + premium + BT Sport
    • Pay nothing today
    • Weekend calls
    • Free TV V6 box & WiFi router
    • Up to 100Mb
    • 275 channels
    • Inclusive calls
    Offer ends 14th December, Netflix included for 6 months & Flash Sale - £100 retail voucher
    £56
    £20 set-up cost Go
  • NOW TV Unlimited Broadband + TV Entertainment

    • Freeview + premium channels (inc Sky Atlantic)
    • Pay set-up cost today
    • Free TV Smart Box & WiFi router
    • Up to 17Mb
    • 116 channels
    • PAYG calls
    Introductory offer
    £24 .99
    £22 set-up cost Go
  • BT Unlimited Infinity + Calls + TV Starter & Sport

    • Freeview + BT Sport
    • Pay nothing today
    • Weekend calls
    • YouView+ box & BT Smart Hub router
    • Up to 52Mb
    • 79 channels
    • Inclusive calls
    Offer ends 14th December
    £35 .49
    £69.99 set-up cost Go

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