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  • Sky TV Original + Unlimited Broadband

    • 35+ entertainment, 250+ free-to-air channels
    • Up to 17Mb download, 1.3Mb upload speed
    • Truly unlimited monthly usage
    • Pay for calls made (9.5p per min)
    33% off Sky TV for 18 months
    £43 .73
    £50.99 after 18 mths includes line rental See Deal
  • Sky Fibre Broadband Unlimited

    • Up to 38Mb download, 10Mb upload speed
    • Truly unlimited monthly usage
    • Pay for calls made (9.5p per min)
    New Sky Customers (Sky TV not required) & Save £161 over 18 months
    £38.99 after 18 mths includes line rental See Deal
  • Sky Box Sets

    • 75+ entertainment channels, 56 HD channels
    • 250+ free-to-air channels, on-demand shows
    • Sky Q 1TB box
    33% off Sky TV for 18 months & Sky's most popular TV bundle
    £25 .46
    £38 after 18 mths See Deal

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Joining Sky as a new customer

Join Sky for ‘new customer’ deals

This is why most of you are here. You’ve seen an amazing Sky package advertised on TV, on a billboard, in a magazine or online, and you want to see if you qualify. Well, that’s a pretty easy question to answer: You almost certainly do.

It’s what services you can specifically get that hangs somewhat higher in the air. Some of you will be able to get Sky Broadband (ADSL), some will be able to get Sky Fibre, some – a very small number – will be able to get neither.

Enter your postcode at the top of this page to find out. If you can get Sky where you live, you’re already one step closer to joining Sky.

Best Sky deals for new customers

  • Sky TV Original + Unlimited Broadband

    • 35+ entertainment, 250+ free-to-air channels
    • Up to 17Mb download, 1.3Mb upload speed
    • Truly unlimited monthly usage
    • Pay for calls made (9.5p per min)
    33% off Sky TV for 18 months
    £43 .73
    £50.99 after 18 mths includes line rental See Deal
  • Sky Fibre Broadband Unlimited

    • Up to 38Mb download, 10Mb upload speed
    • Truly unlimited monthly usage
    • Pay for calls made (9.5p per min)
    New Sky Customers (Sky TV not required) & Save £161 over 18 months
    £38.99 after 18 mths includes line rental See Deal
  • Sky Box Sets

    • 75+ entertainment channels, 56 HD channels
    • 250+ free-to-air channels, on-demand shows
    • Sky Q 1TB box
    33% off Sky TV for 18 months & Sky's most popular TV bundle
    £25 .46
    £38 after 18 mths See Deal

How to switch to Sky

Provided you’re relatively familiar with broadband, TV and phone, what they are and how they work, all that remains to be said at the most basic level is that Sky will do everything for you.

Once you’ve selected the deal you want from the list presented you in our comparison of packages available where you live, and bought said package on Sky’s website, you are in good hands.

Sky has a dedicated ‘Switch Squad’ – a department dedicated to ensuring the whole process of joining and switching is not only painless and hassle-free, but also devoid of any service interruptions. That’s right, you’ll be hooked up to Sky the same day your old services are switched off, or, if you’re moving house, as soon as is humanly possible.

Joining Sky online

Joining Sky online couldn’t be simpler. You’re online right now, and that means you’re already halfway there.

Once you’ve found out which Sky packages are available where you live (by entering your postcode above), all you need to do is click through to Sky’s website and buy it. Sky makes all this pretty easy for you, but there are one or two things you should keep an eye out for.

If you’re buying Sky Broadband and Talk or Sky Fibre and Talk

  • Make sure you’re buying a package with enough speed for your needs (lots more information on how to choose further down this page)
  • Sky sells a ‘capped’ or ‘limited’ fibre package. If you choose it, make sure you’re not likely to exceed that limit
  • If you’re wondering where all the Sky Fibre deals are, it probably means you can’t get it at your address yet
  • Sky’s default call package is Sky Pay As You Talk. You will need to change this if you want inclusive calls in your package or bundle

If you’re buying Sky TV or a Sky Bundle

  • Make sure you choose the Box Sets Bundle or the Complete Bundle if you want to watch in high definition (HD) – all other bundles offer mostly standard definition content
  • Don’t forget to tick the ‘HD Pack’ box on the purchase page if you want high definition
  • You cannot watch Sky on demand and Sky Box Sets without an internet connection, so if you want TV-only, be sure your internet connection is up to the task (10Mb or more will do it)

Joining Sky by phone

Of course, you can avoid all of these little Sky oddities and make sure you get exactly what you want by phoning up and speaking to an actual human being. It’s a little bit old fashioned, sure, and it will almost certainly take longer than doing it online, but there’s still a lot to be said for the old-fashioned way.

You can phone to get the Sky package you’re after on 0800 840 5394.

Ten reasons you should switch to Sky

1. Sky has some of the best introductory offers for new customers

Although the specific deals that Sky offers change on a day-to-day and week-to-week basis, you’ll be hard pushed to find a time of year when Sky isn’t willing to shower you with free gifts, introductory pricing and other incentives to win your custom.

2. Sky Buyout offers up to £100 broadband credit for those switching mid-contract

If you haven’t yet reached the end of your contract with your existing provider, Sky will ease the pain of any early termination charges you might incur by abandoning ship. Although it won’t pay for these directly, Sky will credit your broadband account with up to £100.

3. The Sky Switch squad makes the switching process utterly painless

Sounds like a gimmick. Isn’t. Sky’s Switch Squad has a singular mission: to make sure you don't experience even one minute without broadband, phone or TV during the switch. And they’re damn good at it too.

4. You will spend zero time without broadband during the switch

This is one of the biggest concerns aired by those dallying with switching provider – to Sky or any other. Sky knows this, hence the Switch Squad. You will never be without services when switching to Sky.

5. Sky has the best TV in the UK

This is not an opinion. It’s a fact. In whichever dimension you care to measure it – number of channels, HD, 3D, exclusive shows, catch up, on demand, Box Sets – Sky has more content than a person could comfortably watch in a lifetime.

6. Sky has the highest-rated customer service of the 'big four'

Each year, Ofcom (the UK’s telecoms regulator) measures the customer service offerings of the biggest UK providers of broadband and TV. No one’s saying it wasn’t close during the last Ofcom survey, but with its higher-rated TV and home phone and its narrowly second-place (to Virgin Media) broadband, Sky pips it overall.

7. Sky is future-proof, offering endless upgrade options

Part of the problem in taking out any Sky package is complexity. Sky would call it flexibility, but to the average Joe or Joanne, the sheer number of service combinations can be overwhelming. That’s why Sky offers live chat on its website.

But the problem is also the solution. Choosing services based on your needs is never the wrong choice with Sky. Sky Broadband and Talk, Fibre and Talk, Sky TV and Sky Bundles are all set up in such a way that if you need something later, adding it is only a few clicks away.

8. Sky routers and set-top boxes are among the best available

That’s not to say either is perfect by any means. There’s a ton more detail on Sky’s various boxes further down this page, but know this: when you get a Sky package, be that broadband, TV or a bundle, you’ll be getting some quality gear to run it all.

9. Sky offers industry-leading cyber-security and parental controls

Sky offers McAfee Internet Security Suite free with every combination of services that includes broadband. Very useful if you have a number of PCs in the house (you can install it on up to three) and wish to keep them virus-free for nothing. Not so useful if you have a computer or computers made by Apple, though.

Sky’s Broadband Shield is provided free of charge. This software allows parents to control what the kids are able to see online, including the ability to block certain websites (that may not be offensive, but holy moly do they distract from homework) and to set watersheds.

10. Sky's broadband is fast and very reliable

Sky Broadband and Fibre are on BT’s Openreach network. While that limits their top speed to whatever BT decides it should be (currently 76Mbps), Sky – with its own equipment installed at each telephone exchange – does have the opportunity to provide a service that’s technically more reliable.

And it is. Sky Broadband and Fibre (by a sliver) is the most reliable in the UK.

Upgrading Sky if you're an existing Sky customer

If you’re already an existing Sky customer and want more services, Sky makes that as easy as possible. You won’t even need to call Sky up.

You can upgrade your Sky Broadband and Talk, Fibre and Talk, Sky TV or Sky Bundle at any time

Once you’ve signed up to Sky and your services are up and running, Sky will provide you with an online account that you can log into on its website. Called ‘MySky’, it’s where you can check or pay bills, contact Sky or indeed tweak the services you receive.

Upgrading Sky broadband and fibre

Assuming you’re on either Sky’s standard broadband (also called ADSL or ‘copper’ on account of it arriving exclusively via Openreach’s copper cabling network) or 38Mb fibre, there’s still room to go faster. Note that, unlike some other providers, accelerating your broadband to the top speed won’t bag you a new router. It’s the Sky Hub for everyone.

Upgrading Sky TV

Whatever you want, you can have it. Want the maximum number of channels? Check. Sports? Check. Movies? Check. More stuff for the kids? Check.

You can even add channels catering to some extremely specific interests like MUTV (Manchester United), Asian channels or… ahem… 'adult' channels.

Upgrading Sky Talk home phone

Sky offers three different ‘Talk’ home phone packages. Provided you didn’t choose the most fully-featured package in the first place, you can upgrade.

If you have friends and/or relatives living overseas, you can also upgrade to Sky Talk International Extra, which enables free calls to 50 countries worldwide.

Sky deals for existing customers

Switching to Sky if you're a returning customer

If you’ve been with Sky before, you can still get new customer deals, but you’ll need to have been away from Sky for 12 months or more, otherwise you’re classified as a ‘returning customer’.

Returning customers can’t get new customer deals unless more than 12 months has passed

The thing about Sky’s new customer deals is they’re usually so good, the minds of the average consumer are simply boggled by how on earth Sky can actually make any money.

What with free installation on most Sky packages, the satellite dish bolted onto your house or flat, a Sky Q box, Sky Hub router, fast broadband and staggering amounts of content, just how can Sky afford to also drop a £100 gift voucher or a free TV your way and still only charge a few quid per month?

Sky is banking on something that isn’t necessarily true: that you won’t switch. Cable.co.uk’s own research recently confirmed that only about half of UK broadband customers have ever switched provider. Sky is banking, then, on you staying – because over the long term you’ll make it worth Sky’s while.

The upshot of all this is that if you switch back and forth from Sky more than once in 12 months, you’re no longer eligible for the cheaper tariffs and tempting rewards offered to genuinely new customers. Basically, Sky doesn’t want you abusing the system.

Sky deals for new customers

Sky TV packages explained

Thanks to the six base Sky packages, coupled with a plethora of possible add-ons, there are more available Sky TV combinations than it would be sane to list.

However, that doesn’t mean choosing a Sky TV package needs to be complex. Just identify what sort of telly you and/or your family will get the most from, pick a base bundle, then add on from there. Base bundle? But what if I don’t want broadband and phone? What if I only want Sky TV?

Well, that’s not a problem. You can have Sky TV on its own, but…

Sky TV without Sky Broadband and Fibre is like Starsky without Hutch

Sky offers the best TV in the UK, with nearly twice as many channels as its nearest rival. However, (what we think is) the best thing about Sky TV is its ability to deliver the TV and movies you want to watch on demand. Sky on demand, along with Sky Box Sets, provides you with access to every episode of around 300 TV shows, and any movie that’s currently showing, at any time.

However, this content is not delivered through the satellite dish, it’s delivered through your internet connection. While it’s technically possible to have BT or Virgin Media broadband as well as Sky TV, you may find yourself passing up savings and other benefits available only to those who bundle all their services from a single source.

Sky TV bundles

Sky offers six TV bundles, with the ability to add on speciality channels to any of them. Let’s take a quick look at each bundle.

The Sky Original Bundle

Funny Sky didn’t call this ‘The Basic Bundle’ but on closer inspection it’s easy to see why. It may be the least possible TV you can get from Sky, but it’s still a lot of telly.

The original bundle offers around 250 channels in total. Granted, around 50 of these are ‘plus-one’ channels – same content lagging an hour behind – and many of them are considered ‘Freeview’ – that is, you don’t technically need a Sky subscription to watch them.

The yellow yolky part of this TV egg, however, is Sky’s own channels. The likes of Sky One, Sky Arts and of course Game Of Thrones channel Sky Atlantic are brimming with awesome content.

  • Sky TV Original

    • 35+ entertainment channels, 11 HD channels
    • 250+ free-to-air channels
    • Comes with Sky Q 1TB box as standard
    33% off Sky TV for 18 months
    £14 .74
    £22 after 18 mths See Deal
  • Sky TV Original + Unlimited Broadband

    • 35+ entertainment, 250+ free-to-air channels
    • Up to 17Mb download, 1.3Mb upload speed
    • Truly unlimited monthly usage
    • Pay for calls made (9.5p per min)
    33% off Sky TV for 18 months
    £43 .73
    £50.99 after 18 mths includes line rental See Deal

The Sky Variety Bundle

Next up is the Variety Bundle. While offering everything the base-level Original Bundle does, the Variety Bundle adds 12 kids channels, 13 documentary channels, eight music channels and five sports channels (though not Sky Sports itself).

It’s good. There’s plenty here. The problem we have with Sky’s Variety Bundle, however, is that for a measly few pounds extra each month you could have the Box Sets Bundle (previously the Family Bundle), which, we’re sorry to say, makes the Variety Bundle look a bit… well… pathetic.

  • Sky TV Variety

    • 75+ entertainment channels, 11 HD channels
    • 250+ free-to-air channels, 1900+ kids' episodes
    • Comes with Sky Q 1TB box as standard
    33% off Sky TV for 18 months
    £21 .44
    £32 after 18 mths See Deal
  • Sky TV Variety Bundle + Unlimited Broadband

    • 75+ entertainment, 250+ free-to-air channels
    • Up to 17Mb download, 1.3Mb upload speed
    • Truly unlimited monthly usage
    • Pay for calls made (9.5p per min)
    33% off Sky TV for 18 months
    £50 .43
    £60.99 after 18 mths includes line rental See Deal

The Sky Box Sets Bundle

The Box Sets Bundle (previously the Family Bundle) is the absolute sweet spot for those looking to pick up a Sky bundle, but perhaps aren’t all that fussed about movies or sports (although you can always add these on if you wish).

That’s because the Box Sets Bundle offers everything you’ll get in the Sky Variety Bundle, but has five times as many channels in high definition (HD) and an entire channel dedicated to 3D, if you’ve got the gear at home to make use of it.

It is also (unsurprisingly, considering the name) the first bundle in this list to offer access to Sky Box Sets. Along with Sky Atlantic, Sky Box Sets really is the jewel in Sky’s crown. A ‘box set’ is exactly what it sounds like. It’s every episode ever made of a TV series, and Sky has over 300 of them that you can watch any time you like.

  • Sky Box Sets

    • 75+ entertainment channels, 56 HD channels
    • 250+ free-to-air channels, on-demand shows
    • Sky Q 1TB box
    33% off Sky TV for 18 months & Sky's most popular TV bundle
    £25 .46
    £38 after 18 mths See Deal
  • Sky Box Sets + Unlimited Broadband

    • 75+ entertainment, 250+ free-to-air, HD, Box Sets
    • Up to 17Mb download, 1.3Mb upload speed
    • Truly unlimited monthly usage
    • Pay for calls made (9.5p per min)
    33% off Sky TV for 18 months
    £54 .45
    £66.99 after 18 mths includes line rental See Deal

The Sky Sports Bundle

We’ve sort of been going in ascending order throughout this rundown, but we’ll need to take a couple of steps back to talk about what Sky deems worthy of the official Sky Sports Bundle title.

You’d think, wouldn’t you, that this would contain the Box Sets Bundle, plus all six channels of Sky Sports (Sky Sports 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and Sky F1 and Sky Sports HQ – the sports news channel). But no. The Sky Sports Bundle, as Sky terms it, is the Original Bundle, but with Sky Sports tagged on.

If you want everything in the Box Sets Bundle, plus Sky Sports (what we’d recommend for sports fans with a family) you’ll have to do exactly that: choose the Box Sets Bundle, then add Sports at the checkout.

That’s an important point because, currently, nowhere during the online buying and checkout process does Sky tell you that by selecting the Sky Sports Bundle you’re not getting Sky Sports in HD.

You actually have to select Sky Box Sets Bundle instead, then click the ‘Add HD’ button (which is greyed out and unclickable if you haven’t selected the Box Sets Bundle).

Both the Box Sets Bundle and the addition of the ‘HD Pack’ (if you’re adding Sky Sports or Sky Movies) add significantly to the monthly cost.

We’re pretty certain that a lot of people buying this bundle don’t realise they’re getting standard definition until they get it up and running. And, of course, once it’s in the house, it’s hard not to just relent and pay the extra twenty quid or so a month to get what you thought you were buying in the first place.

The Sky Cinema Bundle

What’s been said about the Sky Sports Bundle can be equally said here. It’s the Original Bundle with the addition of Sky Cinema (previously Sky Movies). If you want better telly beyond movies, go for the Box Sets Bundle, then add Sky Cinema at the checkout.

That's also the only way (by adding the ‘HD Pack’) that you’ll be watching your movies in HD.

The Sky Complete Bundle

You get everything. Can’t really add an awful lot more to that. Every channel Sky offers, bar the specialist ones (by specialist we mean specific pay-per-view channels like Manchester United FC’s MUTV, adult channels and Sky’s Asia Pack).

So that’s 50 entertainment channels, all in HD. All the Sky Sports channels, also all in HD. Over a thousand movies on demand, 300 Box Sets. It’s excessive and it’s expensive, but if money really is no object you’ll certainly never be bored.

  • Sky HD Complete

    • 7 HD sports channels, 11 HD cinema channels
    • 75+ entertainment channels, 56 HD channels
    • 250+ free-to-air channels, 1900+ kids' shows
    Up to 33% off Sky TV for 18 months
    £55 .58
    £80 after 18 mths See Deal

Sky channel add-ons

Let’s get one thing straight here – Sky has to pay vast sums of money to get hold of the content offered by these channels, whether that’s sports, movies, or channels syndicated from around Asia.

Sky has two ways to offset this cost: 1) Distribute it among all Sky TV customers or 2) Only charge those who want them. Happily, Sky has opted for the latter.

Sky Sports

Sky Sports (along with Sky Cinema) is the priciest of all the add-ons. Sky offers seven sports channels in total: Sky Sports 1 to 5, Sky F1 and Sky Sports HQ (SSNHQ). Whether you receive these in HD will depend on which set-top box and which base bundle you have.

We’ll say again: you need to select the Sky Box Sets Bundle as your base if you want to watch Sky Sports in HD. Sky will not take any care whatsoever to inform you that this is the case, so be sure and factor that both into the buying process, and into the ultimate cost.

Sky Movies

Sky Movies claims proudly (pretty much wherever you look) that you’ll get ‘the biggest box office hits 12 months before online subscription services’. Is that strictly true? Not really.

If you were to take one movie as a sample and measure the time it takes to appear on Netflix after it’s been screened on Sky Movies then maybe. But there are dozens of ways to watch new movies these days and many of them, though charging on a movie-to-movie basis, offer movies long before they appear on Sky.

Still, timing isn’t everything. A little patience and Sky’s moving window of 1000+ movies both current and classic are more than enough.

Like the Sky Sports add-on, and indeed The Sky Sports Bundle, do bear in mind that you won’t get any of this unless you go for the Box Sets Bundle as your base layer and add the ‘HD Pack’ on top. If it’s HD you want, ignore the headline prices – you’ll be paying more. A lot more.

BT Sport

Sky Sports and BT Sport are bitter rivals in the business world, but co-exist happily either in the form of BT Sport through Sky or Sky Sports through BT.

BT Sport is currently the only place you can watch Champions League football matches, while Sky Sports is the only place for Premier League. Football superfans will want both, and by adding BT Sport, they can have it all.


ESPN used to be right there on Sky channel 417. Unfortunately for Sky customers who love their both quirky and American sporting action, ESPN is now exclusively on BT Sport. But fear not! By adding BT Sport to your Sky package ESPN comes right along with it.

Liverpool TV, MUTV, Chelsea TV

Let’s put this out there right away: team-specific football channels are expensive. Really expensive, if you measure one of them against the all-in cost of the 400+ channels you get with the Sky Box Sets Bundle.

But, for the true fan, it’s going to be money well spent. Just be clear that no team-specific footy channels are included in any of the Sky base bundles. You’ll need to add them on. The good news is you’ll likely only need one of them.

The Sky Asia Pack

Perhaps not cheap by the standards of the other channels included in the base bundles, but you get a hell of a lot for your money. This is not a collection of channels showing endless re-runs of Mughal-e-Azam and Damini, this is a collection of quality channels screened in India.

With seven of the most popular Indian TV channels included, there’s enough here to literally watch nothing but Indian TV all year round.

Adult channels on Sky

Yes. The naughty ones. And they aren’t cheap either. The internet. Ever heard of the internet? We’ll leave it at that.

Watching stuff in HD on Sky TV

If we’re to be critical of Sky on one issue, it would have to be its lack of clarity on what you can watch in HD, what you can’t, and how much it’s all going to cost.

Funny to think, isn’t it, that we’ve had HD channels now for going on a decade, and yet, you name the service – Sky, Amazon Prime Instant Video, Apple TV – everyone still wants you to pay more for what really is – and should be – the standard.

And we’re sorry to say that Sky is worse than some others in this respect. Not in the availability of its HD content – there is boatloads of it – but in the way it obscures the true price of some of its TV packages and bundles by providing everything in standard definition unless you stump up additional monthly cash Sky won't tell you about until you're right there at the checkout.

The long and short of it is you’ll need either Sky Box Sets Bundle or the Complete Bundle at the base of your package in order to watch Sky Sports, Sky Cinema or any of Sky’s exclusive entertainment channels in HD.

The Sky Original and Variety Bundles do have some HD content, but only the Freeview stuff such as BBC HD, CBeebies, ITV HD, 4HD and so on.

Watching stuff in 3D on Sky TV

What can be said for HD (above) can also be said for 3D. Sky used to have a dedicated 3D channel, but since the world seems to have steadily figured out that 3D is a bit of an eye-strain, even this one channel has been relegated to on demand content.

Since you can only access Sky on demand with the Sky Box Sets Bundle or better (only the Complete Bundle is better), fans of 3D content will need to shell out for a little more than just the basics.

Sky Box Sets

After building a vast collection of VHS tapes, followed by an equally vast collection of DVDs, we weren’t sold on Blu-ray. There is a limited number of times we’re willing to buy all our favourite movies and TV series – Blu-ray was where we drew the line.

Just as well really. As a format, it’s almost dead already as streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video, Blinkbox and even some kooky speciality services like WWE TV and Crunchyroll provide subscribers with a combined service that renders the purchase of a physical disc utterly obsolete.

Sky Box Sets, available to all Sky customers with the Box Sets Bundle or better, provide instant access to every episode ever made or over 300 TV shows. No human can or should watch it all, but the sheer quantity available means there’s something there for everyone from Glee to True Blood.

Sky on demand

Sky on demand is – like HD, Box Set and 3D content – available to anyone subscribed to the Box Sets Bundle or better. To anyone with an internet connection of 6Mbps or more, Sky on demand offers instant access to over 1,000 movies.

It means you can watch what you want to watch when you want to watch it. Which as well as being true, is also fun to say.

Sky Pay-per-view

Not to be confused with on demand or Box Sets, Sky pay-per-view, referred to by Sky as Sky Box Office, typically screens content that’s even more premium than the stuff you already pay a premium for on its premium sport and movie channels.

It’s for special events, basically. Boxing matches and special wrestling events are the main flavour here, and at a cost equivalent to what you’d pay for Sky Sports across a whole month for a single event. Only superfans need apply.

Now TV

Now TV is Sky’s streaming service for non-Sky customers. The way it works is you pay a small sum each month to gain access either to Sky’s entertainment content (the shows it screens new each week), to Sky Cinema content (all the stuff available on demand to Sky customers), or to Sky Sports content.

You can stream Now TV to your phone, your tablet, or to a games console plugged into your main living room telly.

If all this is available to non-Sky customers on Now TV, why on earth do you need a Sky subscription? Well, what Now TV is good at is providing you specifically with access to a programme or programmes you want to watch. Watching episodes of Game Of Thrones as they’re screened (or soon after, at least) is worth a few quid a month, is it not?

It’s when you begin to add everything together that Now TV becomes a comparatively poor choice. Movies, sport and entertainment will cost you a veritable bucket of cash compared to what you’d pay on a regular Sky subscription, and you have none of the advantages of a Sky Q set-top box, with its 400+ channels and ability to record and play back.

The Sky Go and Sky Go Extra apps

Every Sky customer gets Sky Go. It’s an app that allows you to watch some, but by no means all, Sky content on your mobile or tablet – provided it’s hooked up to a decent internet connection.

Sky Go Extra differentiates itself by allowing you to download and save the content you want to watch for later. Pretty useful if you’re planning to be out of wi-fi range for an extended period and need some entertainment – but not while driving please!

Please note, however, that you should take a little time to properly identify whether downloading content and watching it later is really of any use to you. Sky will throw in Sky Go Extra at the beginning of your contract for free, but will start charging you for it after two months unless you manually cancel.

“Sky TV without Sky Broadband and Fibre is like Starsky without Hutch”

A crash course in Sky's many set-top boxes

Sky’s range of set-top boxes isn’t all that complex, but if you’re having difficulty deciding which one’s for you we can hardly blame you.

Sky doesn’t make a great deal of effort to ensure you know what you’re buying and why. That’s because it knows bigger numbers sell. 2TB sounds better than 1TB, for example, but whether or not you need two terabytes of data storage is another question entirely.

Why there are so many different Sky set-top boxes

Technically, there should only be one set-top box available with a couple of different models that differentiate themselves on storage capacity (how many hours of programming you can record).

Up until very recently that has sort of been the case. Lots of long-time Sky customers who aren’t fussed about HD still have their old Sky+ box and swear by it. If you sign up to Sky now, though, it’s not an option.

It doesn’t matter whether you have an HD TV or not, Sky+ HD is the only show in town. So from the past there’s the old box, which, since some folks still have, we should detail here.

In the opposite direction, Sky has also launched Sky Q. Too much to tell you about that in this brief intro, suffice to say it aims to join up your Sky TV experience across devices and across the rooms of your house.


Specs and features

All Sky+ boxes are now discontinued. Over the years they delivered TV from the satellite dish to your television, providing innovative features such as the now-well-recognised interactive on-screen TV guide.

The first version of Sky+ was a PVR (personal video recorder) that boasted a measly 40GB of hard disk space. That let you record about 40 hours of TV in standard definition – a tiny amount by today's standards.

You can forgive it for that when you realise that was back in 2002. Back then the idea of recording TV onto a hard drive was positively Star Trek.

Over the years, the capacity increased steadily to 80, 160 and finally 250GB of storage while the box itself, and its iconic remote, remained largely unchanged.

What it did

Play live TV from the dish in standard definition, record TV in standard definition.

What it didn’t do

Play or record in HD, deliver on demand content over the internet.

Sky+ HD

Specs and features

This was the last standard box offered with all Sky packages and bundles. It offered pretty much the same as the Sky+ box, but in HD.

Sky Q

Specs and features

Sky Q is not just another box – at least, that’s the line Sky would like you to believe – it’s an experience. Sky peppers all talk of Sky Q with meaningless prattle like ‘Fluid Viewing’, which could just as easily refer to watching the toilet flush as it could the next revolution in television.

Sky Q is actually a set of interlinked boxes. The Sky Q (main box) acts as a sort of hub. Sky Q Mini boxes may then be added, one for each additional room or TV you want to watch your Sky content on, each communicating with the main Sky Q box. In set-up at least, it’s not too dissimilar from Sky+HD with Multiscreen.

But it is different. The Sky Q Minis aren’t tuning into the dish to deliver your programming, they’re streaming it from the main box, which has a ludicrous 12 tuners and can record four channels while playing back a further five, all at the same time. This is impressive stuff.

Because you’re streaming everything from the same box it can do one or two things that are really rather clever. For example, it can stream your recorded programmes to your tablet or phone, let you stop watching in one room and resume in another (that’s the ‘fluid viewing’ bit – great for advertising, rarely useful in practice).

It also has a touchpad remote and will provide you access to YouTube and the web, and let you browse your photos and play music directly from your iPhone, iPad or Android device through Bluetooth or Apple AirPlay.

The only things the Sky Q doesn’t do – which could be considered glaring omissions – is play back UHD 4K content (that’s reserved for the next box up) or provide apps for competitor services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Instant Video.

We can see where Sky is going with the latter – it wants to be another Netflix or Amazon, not merely a delivery system for their services – but it doesn’t really reflect the reality of how people would ideally like to use Sky’s new gear, and as such is a bit of a foot shot in this writer's opinion.

What it'll do

Record up to four things at once while playing back up to five things at once, all in HD. Allow you to browse the web, play music from your phone or tablet or stream movies and TV to practically any smart device.

What it won't do

Deliver content in UHD 4K resolution, allow you to play Netflix or Amazon Prime Instant Video content.

Sky Q 2TB

Specs and features

Sky Q 2TB is the flagship model. It does everything the standard Sky Q 1TB box does – which you can read about above – but adds a more capacious 2TB hard drive, and the ability to record and play back UHD 4K content.

Both those features are about future-proofing when you get down to the nitty-gritty. The 2TB hard drive means the future in which you run out of space to record stuff will be farther away, while the ability to play UHD 4K content means it’ll do justice to the latest TVs.

One small point to be made about 4K TVs, while we’re here, is that neither they, nor 4K content in general serve a purpose beyond selling you new stuff.

That's because human eyes have a limited resolution. At average viewing distances our eyes can’t tell the difference between 4K and 1080p unless we either have the aforementioned 100-inch monster or have our faces pressed right up against the screen – something everyone does in the shop, but never does at home (which is why they sell).

What it'll do

Same as the standard Sky Q box, but with the addition of UHD 4K playback and recording and a bigger, 2TB hard drive.

What it won't do

Impress you with UHD 4K visuals unless your face is pressed against the screen.

Sky Q Mini

Specs and features

Right, you can’t actually get Sky Q Mini on its own. Sky’s own satellite can’t exist without the Earth’s gravity to keep it in place, and equally, the Sky Q Mini becomes a small, plastic brick without a Sky Q box to sync to over wi-fi.

As discussed, when we talked about the Sky Q boxes above, the Sky Q Mini sends and receives images and video from your main Sky Q box. You can add a Sky Q Mini for each room in which you want to watch TV, with the added bonus that each one also serves as a wi-fi range extender, amplifying the signal from the main Sky Q Hub.

It solves a lot of common household broadband and TV problems, basically.

What it'll do

While it doesn’t technically record and play back content from Sky Box Sets, on demand and regular Sky TV, it will seem like it does to anyone using it. Behind the scenes it’s sending and receiving it all to and from the main box.

Sky Q Mini units will also boost your wi-fi signal.

What it won't do

Anything that doesn’t rely on communicating with the main box.

Sky Multiscreen: How to watch Sky TV in more than one room

Sky Multiscreen is confusing. It shouldn’t be. It is, after all, merely a way to allow you to watch Sky TV in a different room to the one your Sky+HD or Sky Q box is located, but it’s actually crushingly difficult to find any firm details on what’s involved.

Without some serious digging, Sky’s website really only wants to go as far as telling you how much it’s going to cost, leaving myriad questions about additional boxes, their proportions, functionality, what you can do, what you can’t do, all unanswered. So let’s get to it…

Budget Sky Multiscreen options

If all you want is the ability to flick through the TV guide, pick a show and watch it in another room, Sky’s most basic Multiscreen option will do the trick.

Sky will send you a small (about half the size of a Sky+HD box) Multiscreen box with basic ins and outs and a slot for an additional Viewing Card. You’ll be able to use the TV guide and watch live programming, but that’s your lot. Oh, and if you want to watch in HD, you’ll have to specify that at the checkout – it adds to the cost considerably.

Moderately priced Sky Multiscreen options

If you’d not only like to watch Sky TV in another room of the house, but would also like this second room to offer the ability to record and play back – a kids TV room or teenager’s bedroom, say – you’ll want to go for a Multiscreen package with a whole extra Sky+HD box.

Don’t get us wrong, this is a fantastic option for big families with diverse viewing tastes, since it not only solves the problem or watching different programming at the same time, but also means there are two separate hard drives with capacity to be filled with completely different stuff – what parent really wants to concede two thirds of their recording capacity to Disney XD, after all.

But that whole extra box will cost you. Unlike your main Sky+HD box, which under the terms of your contract is technically only on loan from Sky (Sky will want it back if you switch provider), you’ll have to buy the second box outright, at RRP-level pricing (usually around £200, depending on any special offers or deals that are or aren’t running at the time of purchase).

State of the art Sky Multiscreen options

Sky Q really is the ultimate Multiscreen option.

It brings it all together. Sky Q plus a couple of Sky Q Mini boxes will provide HD viewing, recording, TV on demand, Sky Box Sets and even extended wi-fi signal to several rooms in your home.

Broadband pundits like ourselves predicted that Sky Q, given that it represents the gold standard of Sky’s TV and broadband offering, would be more expensive than the Sky+HD box – and we were correct. However, price will depend on which package you go for and any extras you purchase.

Sky Broadband versus Sky Fibre

Broadband is always getting faster, but is the fastest option always the best? Not necessarily. Your average young bloke probably wants the fastest option no matter what he actually needs. Not to stereotype, but young blokes are built that way – it’s faster, so it must be better. Right? Erm…

Sky Broadband and Talk – good enough for most

Sky Broadband – most commonly referred to as ‘Sky Broadband and Talk’ in light of it being unavailable without a home phone package with Sky – is Sky’s basic offering.

At 17Mbps, speed-wise it offers the standard UK speed limit for non-fibre (also called standard, ADSL or copper depending on who you ask), but that’s really the only thing about Sky Broadband and Talk you could comfortably refer to as ‘standard’.

Standard broadband with Sky is like buying a cheap seat on The Orient Express. There’s less legroom, sure, but you’ll get all those little luxury extras just the same as anyone else.

Monthly usage allowances

You may find this a little bizarre – we certainly do – but currently there are no usage caps on any Sky packages that include broadband, and yet there are Sky Fibre and Talk packages available that do have them.

The reason that’s weird is that fibre is considerably speedier than standard ADSL broadband. The faster the package, the more data you’re probably going to use. It would make sense, then, to cap its standard Sky Broadband and Talk packages and make all its Sky Fibre offerings unlimited, wouldn’t it?

Not, apparently, if you’re Sky. Sky no doubt has its reasons, but the current state of things is that all standard ADSL 17Mbps Sky Broadband and Talk packages are unlimited.

Minimum subscription period

All Sky Broadband and Talk packages are on 12-month contracts.


Sky Broadband and Talk is available to about 90% of UK households. You’d think it would be more considering it comes down your phone line, but Sky actually installs its own equipment at each telephone exchange, and said equipment cannot yet be found at all of them.

McAfee Internet Security Suite

If you have a PC, you’ll get a free subscription to McAfee Internet Security Suite. It’ll sit quietly in the background on any Windows PC making sure you’re safe from viruses and suchlike.

It's absolutely no use to you whatsoever, though, if you either don’t have a desktop or laptop computer, or if you do, but it is made by Apple.

Installation and set-up

Sky will need about two weeks to set up your connection. This time is used to port your phone number across and organise line access. No engineer is required for Sky Broadband and Talk. You’ll get your router in the post, plug it in and hey presto.

Router postage charge

Another one of those hokey charges that probably should be included free, be prepared to pay a few extra pounds on top of Sky’s headline price for delivery of your Sky Hub router.

Sky Fibre and Talk – always go unlimited

There are two 38Mb fibre Sky packages, both of which can be bought online. One is limited to a monthly limit of 25GB (enough for light internet usage, but not for box-set binging), while the other is unlimited.

Limited fibre is an odd concept unto itself. The take-up of fibre usually indicates you’ll be engaging in a lot of demanding activities such as streaming movies and TV and downloading large files, while the limit says you won’t. We’re just not sure who this is for.

Another oddity of Sky Fibre is that Sky will not allow you to order its fastest (76Mb) package – known as Sky Fibre Unlimited Pro – online. Instead, you’ll have to call Sky on 0800 840 5394.

We’re assuming this is because Sky’s equipment is rather stretched to capacity in some places. Sky may wish to ask you a few questions to determine whether you really need it.

Monthly usage allowances

Leaving the 76Mb package aside (because very few people opt for it and you can only buy it over the phone – 0800 840 5394), Sky Fibre & Talk is either limited to 25GB each month or unlimited. We encourage anyone considering fibre to opt for the latter.

Minimum subscription period

All Sky Broadband and Talk and Sky Fibre and Talk packages are 12 months long.


Sky Fibre and Talk is available to around 80% or UK residences. Use the postcode checker at the top of the page to ensure you’re not one of those who can’t get it before you start agonising over the various details of what else to put in your bundle.

McAfee Internet Security Suite

All Sky Fibre and Talk packages come with McAfee Internet Security Suite as standard. As mentioned above, great for keeping your PC(s) free from viruses – not so great (utterly useless, in fact) if you neither have a Windows desktop PC or laptop or your desktop or laptop is made by Apple.

Installation and set-up

It takes about two weeks to set up Sky Fibre and Talk. It still won’t require an engineer visit unless you’re also taking out a TV package – in which case the engineer will need to pop round and fit the dish, run cabling etc.

Router postage charge

Sky will charge you a few pounds for the privilege of posting you your router. You’ll need to factor this into the cost because Sky won’t make any special effort to tell you about it until you get to the last page of the checkout.

Sky Fibre and Talk 38Mb versus Sky Fibre Max 76Mb

It may surprise you if you’ve been seduced by broadband advertising these last few years, but almost no one needs a 76Mbps connection. 38Mbps is ample for the vast majority of even the busiest of online households. However, to help you decide...

Sky Fibre 38Mb is best for…

Medium-sized families

If your household contains 3-6 people, all with devices, fear not. 38Mbps is plenty. Admittedly, it’s not plenty if all six family members fire up their laptops, tablets and phones and start streaming in HD all at the same time, but honestly, is there ever going to be a time when that happens?

Unless every member of your family is a professional movie critic, it’s highly unlikely.

Singles or couples who use the internet heavily

There is some justification for plumping for Sky 38Mb fibre over the standard Sky Broadband and Talk (at 17Mbps), even if you live on your own or as a couple.

In either case, just ask yourself: How often do I download large files (PlayStation or Xbox games, for example), use cloud services for my photos and videos or stream movies and TV in UHD 4K resolution?

If there are only one or two people in your household and the answer to these questions is ’never’, standard Sky Broadband and Talk will do fine.

Households that sometimes stream to more than one room at the same time

If you’re going for a Sky Bundle with access to on demand movies and Sky Box sets, 38Mbps should be considered essential. With all that TV to stream and likely multiple people wanting to stream it at the same time, 17Mbps will struggle during your household’s peak internet hours.

Sky Fibre 76Mb is best for…

Large families with many devices

You’re going to need a pretty large family for this much broadband. 76Mbps is really very fast. So fast, in fact, that in order for your usage to challenge it, you’ll either need to be downloading movies every minute of every day (which probably means you’re a pirate), or you regularly (every day) legitimately download new videogames.

That said, 76Mb may just be what the doctor ordered if you have, say, 10 teenage kids with iPhones and laptops, or you live in a crowded student household.

Student households or shared accommodations

76Mbps may also be justified if you live in any form of shared accommodation and there are quite a few of you. Every shared household we’ve ever lived in always had one guy (it was always a guy) who torrented (stole) movies all day, preventing anyone else from getting a decent connection.

76Mbps may mitigate this somewhat.

Singles or couples who download movies and games

Morning: You wake up and immediately begin downloading the five films you plan you watch while sitting and waiting for taxi customers. Meanwhile, your husband is already downstairs on the Xbox downloading 50GB of Halo games to enjoy while you’re out working all day.

Sound like you? We’re sure that person is out there, somewhere, but if this isn’t you and there is only one or two of you in your household, 76Mbps is way, way more than you need.

Households that sometimes stream in three or four rooms at the same time

Maybe you have a couple of teenage kids with differing viewing preferences who, at peak times, retire to their respective bedrooms to consume copious amounts of post-homework high-definition TV and movies while simultaneously interacting with Facebook on their mobile or tablet.

Meanwhile, downstairs in the main living room, mum and dad are settling in for a few more episodes or Game Of Thrones. If this is you, season five is a letdown.

Oh, and you'll also probably need Sky Fibre Max 76Mb.

Sky Broadband Unlimited and Sky Fibre Unlimited are 'Truly' unlimited with no traffic management

Here’s a bit of trivia for you: at one time, Sky packages offered unlimited, truly unlimited and ‘Superunlimited’ broadband. Confused? Don’t worry, that’s normal. That’s because ‘unlimited’ should never be a range or scale – it either is, or it isn’t. But the world of broadband doesn’t play by the same rules the real world tends to.

In the world of broadband, unlimited can mean that the data doesn’t have a monthly cap, but not necessarily that there aren’t other restrictions like traffic management (that deliberately slows things down during busy peak hours), or a ‘Fair Usage Policy’ (FUP) which might severely restrict your connection if you download too much stuff.

To be free of traffic management and acceptable usage policies, you’ll need a broadband deal that’s ‘Truly Unlimited’. So, very confusing, but in Sky’s case, there’s no need to be confused. All Sky packages are truly unlimited.

No fair use caps, no restrictions of any kind

Sky takes great pride in the fact that all unlimited Sky Broadband and Talk and Sky Fibre and Talk packages are truly unlimited. There is no traffic management, so things won’t (deliberately, at least) slow down at peak times, and no fair usage policy, so you will never be punished for excessive downloading.

Download or upload as much as you like

You can download all night and all day on any Sky Broadband and Talk or Sky Fibre and Talk package marked as unlimited. The same goes for uploading.

Things may slow down at peak times of the day

All that being said, that does not mean that Sky’s upload and download speeds won’t slow down at certain times of the day.

A lot of people in the UK arrive home from work or school around the same time of day, and that means a lot of people in your street, estate, village or other built-up locale all engaging in internet-related activities at once.

That’s why, if you intend to download a huge file (a videogame, say) it’s always advisable to do so overnight. Your neighbours will thank you for it.

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The speed of Sky Broadband and Fibre offered by Sky versus the speed you might actually get

We’re not singling out Sky in this. Advertised broadband speeds are preceded by the words ‘up to’ for a reason: neither Sky, nor anybody else for that matter, can guarantee you’ll get the headline speed you see advertised – and that applies to fibre as much as it does standard ADSL broadband.

In short, this is because all widely available broadband packages in the UK (besides those offered by Virgin Media, which has its own network) are delivered, in part at least, on the old copper cables that have been delivering your phone calls for the last century or so.

Copper, unlike fibre optic cabling, lowers the resolution of a data signal at a ratio to the distance it covers, meaning the more copper there is between your house and the telephone exchange the slower your broadband will be.

Even fibre connections have this problem. Although there is no signal degradation over a fibre cable, the ‘last mile’ (the bit between your house and the exchange) is still copper. Fibre is, in fact, only fibre as far as the exchange, which is why some are currently engaged in a dispute with the entire industry over the label 'fibre' being applied at all.

Our postcode checker knows how far you are from the exchange and can estimate the speed you’ll get

When you enter your postcode at the top of this page to see whether or not you can get Sky Broadband and Talk or Sky Fibre and Talk, we’ll be able to tell you roughly what speed to expect, based on your distance from the exchange.

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All about the Sky Hub router

Whether you’ve opted for Sky Broadband and Talk or Sky Fibre and Talk, or either of those as part of your bundle, the Sky Hub router will be thrown in for free (albeit with a small charge for its postage). But is the Sky Hub router any good? Well…


The Sky Hub is discreet. That is to say, it’s small, and if your household is the sort that doesn’t prefer to display its moulded plastic boxes for all to see, that means it’s easy to hide.

Sadly, that’s the nicest thing we have to say about it. Does it serve the purpose for which it is intended? Absolutely. Most Sky Broadband and Talk and Sky Fibre and Talk customers will never become aware that the router itself isn’t perhaps as good as the one offered by Virgin Media, say.

But, the things it won’t do that Virgin Media’s router does – Gigabit ethernet, IPv6, wired network printer via USB – it’s likely you’ll never need anyway.

How Sky Hub compares to the competition

You really could argue this two ways, and that has to do with whether you want to stick it side-by-side with Virgin Media’s Superhub, comparing only the spec sheet, or whether you want to put them side-by-side in terms of the stuff that matters.

Virgin Media’s Superhub really is the Sky Hub’s number one competitor. And yes, on paper (and for some specific uses that you will never have for it), Virgin’s router has it beat.

On the other hand, as a regular non-technical customer, you’ll neither know what’s missing nor ever need it. The Sky Hub is good enough.

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  1. Simple to set up – once up and running, you can pretty much forget it exists
  2. It’s reliable – customers experience less broadband outages with Sky than with any other provider
  3. Small and easy to hide


  1. Very short on advanced features and future-proofing. Most folks will never know, however
  2. A bit plasticky and flimsy
  3. Power lead is pretty short

All about the Sky Q Hub router


The Sky Q Hub has a hell of a job to do. It doesn’t just deliver broadband to as many rooms of your house as its signal can reach; it also has to relay video from your main Sky Q box to any Sky Q Minis you have set up in other rooms.

If this statement is confusing to you, you can read all about Sky Q, what it does and how it works further up this guide. In short, however, the Sky Q Hub is likely going to be beaming more data around your household than any router in the history of UK broadband has ever had to.

Since, at the time of writing, the Sky Q Hub is not yet out in the wild, it’s impossible to tell you how it performs. However, there are a few bits and pieces from the spec sheet that will help us determine whether it’s likely to be a hit or miss.

Unlike its predecessor, the Sky Hub, the Sky Q Hub it something of a beast. Small in stature, certainly, but with none of the drawbacks of the Sky Hub.

Undoubtedly the cleverest thing it does is incorporate ‘Powerline’ as standard. Normally a separate device, Powerline sends and receives internet data through the wall power socket and through the wiring of your house, supplying another device with data.

Specifically, this has been designed with Multiscreen in mind, but in Sky Q lingo, that means a Sky Q box, plus however many Sky Q Minis you have room for. Sky’s special Powerline system (Powerline AV1.1 for those who must know everything) is only compatible with Sky devices, but should guarantee the smooth distribution of pictures and sounds throughout your home.

That’s great, but what really makes this set-up king of all set-ups is that each Sky Q Mini transmits and receives its own wi-fi signal, meaning wi-fi will likely be available in every square inch of your home, even if that has not previously been the case without a chain of range-extenders or third-party Powerline solutions.

How Sky Q Hub compares to the competition

The Sky Q Hub’s range is nothing special from what we can see from the spec sheet. Nor does it possess any ‘cool’ features. It’s a router. It routes broadband data both up and down the pipe and around your home.

But in that, it does a far better job than any standalone router offered by any other provider. Beyond compare.

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  1. Built-in Powerline system means far simpler, yet far more functional Multiscreen solution, with the addition of a boosted wi-fi signal
  2. Dual band (faster), and compatible with all the latest 2.4GHz and 5GHz signal bands – compatible with everything –old and new
  3. Enters ‘standby’ mode when not in active use, saving (a very small amount, but still) on your annual energy bill


  1. There are no downsides to this router – it’s the match of Virgin Media’s very best offering (the Superhub 2) with bags more Sky Q-specific functionality on top

Extras – stuff you'll get in every Sky package: Broadband and Talk, Fibre and Talk package or bundle

What you get when you sign up to Sky Broadband and Talk, Sky Fibre and Talk, or a bundle containing either of them (any Sky package) does not stop with the stuff that Sky posts out to you.

There are additional bits and pieces you’ll have access to as a Sky customer, some of them rather useful.

Sky Broadband Shield

Sky Broadband Shield is Sky’s excellent parental control software. It not only comes as standard on all Sky Broadband and Sky Fibre deals, it’s also in the ‘on’ position by default.

You can’t look at porn or other adult content on Sky Broadband and Talk or Sky Fibre and Talk without going into the settings of Sky Broadband Shield and removing those filters.

Sky made the move to a default ‘on’ position for Sky Broadband Shield on 21 December 2015, having trialled it earlier in the year. It no doubt feels that complaints are likely to drop rather sharply when the prospect of calling up to complain that your son or daughter has been looking at adult material on the internet is replaced by the prospect of calling Sky to complain that you can’t seem to watch any porn.

Whatever your feelings are regarding on-by-default censorship, Sky’s Broadband Shield, as defined as a set of parental controls, offers some of the best in the business.

Sky WiFi

Sky WiFi – yes, that weird formatting is deliberate on Sky’s part – does not refer to the wi-fi signal you get from your Sky Broadband and Talk or Sky Fibre and Talk package.

No, Sky WiFi refers to the 20,000 locations in the UK where you can pick up a Sky WiFi signal when you’re out and about. 20,000 sounds like a lot, but since a wi-fi signal can’t travel beyond a couple of hundred metres, it’s not exactly painting the map.

If you’re in a busy urban centre, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to make use of it, however. And if you teach your mobile the login (using your customer details) you’re almost certainly going to add some economy to your mobile data usage.

Sky Yahoo Email

My own email address? You shouldn’t have. No, really Sky, you shouldn’t have. Who doesn’t have an email address already? Also, email is free pretty much everywhere you go these days, so a free address is hardly anything to crow about.

The Sky page listing the ‘features’ of your Sky Yahoo Email account is a hoot, though. With literally nothing to set it apart from any other email address it finds itself shouting about stuff that’s common to all of them.

For example, did you know that your Sky Yahoo Email inbox is ‘easy’ and ‘manageable’? That’s it’s ‘simple to set up’ or that you can use your email to hold electronic ‘conversations’? No way!

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Sky Talk home phone packages – if you want Sky broadband, you must have Sky Talk

If you’ve been reading about Sky packages further up this guide, you may have noticed the persistent inclusion of the words ‘and Talk’ throughout.

This is a very deliberate attempt to drive home the point that you cannot get Sky Broadband or Sky Fibre without taking out a Sky landline (the ‘and Talk’ bit).

When looking at broadband deals, the price now includes line rental charges. Unfortunately this cost is inescapable as Sky has to pay BT for the use of its Openreach network – as do almost all other broadband providers. In spite of this, Sky does not offer you any inclusive calls. You can choose to pay-as-you-talk, or to add on a calls package - either evenings and weekends or anytime.

The only exception to this rule is Virgin Media. Virgin has its own cable network, meaning it can do pretty much what it wants. But like broadband-only deals from other providers, Virgin Media’s offering also comes with a major catch – it costs almost as much as you’d pay if you included a phone line with line rental.

Sky doesn’t faff about with phony broadband-only deals, which, honestly, is a blessing in disguise. Instead, it focuses on offering the best value call packages it can while resigning to the fact that if you want broadband, you need an active phone line to pipe it through.

Sky packages offer three home phone plans under the Sky Talk brand

It pays to take a little time to think about what you might want to use a landline for, since it is essentially being forced upon you.

Even folks who don’t want one will commonly find themselves picking it up to make the odd call here and there. Meanwhile, stalwart mobile users can simply plump for the cheapest option and not even plug a phone into the wall.

If a home phone is something you do anticipate using, however, Sky offers four options.

Pay As You Talk

Before you select any of the above call packages, Sky will automatically put you on Sky Pay As You Talk.

With Sky Pay As You Talk, you pay for the calls you make, none of which are inclusive. Sound bizarre? Well, it sort of is, but that’s because it’s only really suitable for a household in a very specific set of circumstances.

You need to be someone who only wants a landline and nothing else. Since no calls are inclusive, you also need to be someone who only wants to use it for incoming calls or not plug in a phone at all and only use it for broadband.

If both those things are true, you could save a few pounds per month compared to what you’d pay for any of the other inclusive call packages were you to take this with your broadband or bundle.

We implore everyone else to choose at least Sky Talk Evenings and Weekends Extra. Even though it’ll cost you a little extra each month to do this, Sky Pay As You Talk is almost certain to cost you more when all is said and done.

Sky Talk Evenings & Weekends Extra

Excluding the hours of 7am to 7pm Monday to Friday, Sky Talk Evenings & Weekends Extra offers fully inclusive calls to UK landlines, mobiles, 0845 and 0870 numbers. 09, 118 and other 084 and 087 numbers are charged at standard rates.

If you’re out at work all day weekdays, don’t plan on using your home phone much (or at all), this is the package for you. This option is not selected as standard, and doing so will increase your monthly bill.

Sky Talk Anytime Extra

Same as above, with the additional benefit that calls made during the daytime on weekdays are also inclusive, albeit with the same exceptions.

This is the ideal call package for a household where at least one family member spends a lot of time at home during weekdays and also likes to natter. This option is not selected as standard, and doing so will increase your monthly bill.

Sky Talk International Extra

This is exactly the same as Sky Talk Anytime Extra – so, inclusive calls 24/7 – but with the addition of free calls to international landlines. Sky includes 50 countries you can call for nothing in this package. They are:

Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Canary Islands, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Irish Republic, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey and the USA.

Furthermore, calls to mobile phones in Canada, the USA and Hong Kong are also free.

This package is perfect if you either have friends or family you regularly converse with and that live or work abroad, or you run an international spy network. This option is not selected as standard, and doing so will increase your monthly bill.

Standard features you'll find in all Sky packages

There are some features you’ll find included in your call package no matter which one you pick.

Sky 1571 voicemail

If callers don’t get an answer or your line is engaged, Sky offers your 1571 voicemail (named after the number you call to pick up your message). Note, however, that you’ll have to set this up once you’re up and running with Sky.

Caller display

On compatible phones, caller display will display the number of the caller. If your home phone also allows you to store names along with your numbers, it’ll also tell you that the number it’s displaying is Steve’s, say. Everyone knows a Steve.

Automatic number withhold

In a display of selfishness, you can also set your Sky Talk phone up so your number is withheld from anyone else’s caller display. Seems quite one-sided, that, but if absolute privacy is a must – or you’re a spy – this may come in handy.

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Sky broadband, TV and phone bundles

The best way to experience Sky packages is to do so with a bundle. The best way to experience a bundle is to opt for the Sky Box Sets Bundle (previously Sky Family) or better.

Five ways you're better off with a Sky bundle

1. You get more for less

The more you cram into a bundle, the less you pay – relatively speaking, of course. It’s that old rule about buying in bulk. Of course, economies start to mean less against sheer expense at the top end, but the rule nevertheless applies to some degree across Sky’s entire offering.

2. Sky tends to be more generous with its rewards if you buy a bundle

If you want the best rewards – that is to say £100 shopping vouchers, a free TV, tablet, free movies and so on – go for a bundle. As a Sky bundle customer, you become like Sky’s favourite child – that’s why Sky wants to give you the best presents.

3. Bundles mean one bill, multiple services

We’re not going to pretend that paying the bills every month is a huge hassle. It’s usually 20 minutes at the most and inflicts far more pain to your salary than it does to your free time.

Still, if, hypothetically, you did have your home phone, broadband and TV from different providers, each package with its own set of payment rules, it’s just that much more confusing. A Sky Bundle means paying one amount, the same amount, every month.

It’s like clockwork. Sign up, opt for direct debit and forget about it.

4. Infinitely flexible – there's something to please everyone

This is actually the reason lots of folks offer for not taking up a bundle. That there’s too much wastage. “Why do I need 400 channels when I only ever watch three of them?”.

The great thing about Sky Bundles is that in any one of its three components (broadband, TV or home phone), you can opt for as basic or fully-featured services as you like. In the case of extra channels, we can also assure you that, while you may think you’ll only ever watch three of them it’s highly unlikely to be the case when you’re presented with dozens more channels crammed with programmes you want to watch.

5. You can only get Sky Box Sets and Sky On Demand with a bundle

There are a fair few jewels in the Sky TV crown – number of channels, Sky Atlantic, Sky Arts – but arguably the number one reason to get Sky TV is Sky Box Sets and Sky On Demand.

Because it’s one thing getting back from work, school or university, plonking yourself down in front of the telly and just seeing what’s on, and another entirely to call up all five seasons of Game Of Thrones on command and continue watching from exactly where you left off.

Needless to say, you cannot get access to Sky Box Sets or Sky On Demand without a Sky Bundle – specifically the Sky Box Sets Bundle (previously Sky Family), or better.

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Your ten-step guide to building a Sky Bundle

Sky sort of makes this process easy for you, but also sort of doesn’t. It tries to limit the amount of information it throws at you between the moment you land on Sky’s website and the moment you enter your credit card details.

Sky seems to believe that keeping things simple results in more sales, and it’s probably right. However, there are dozens upon dozens of potential questions for which answers are not readily available during the buying process.

That’s why Sky has a live chat system set up on its website – a person on-hand to answer any last-minute questions you might have about buying services from Sky. A problem you might find with this, however, is that Sky’s answers often feel like they fall rather into the ‘whatever you want to hear, just give us your card details’ category – you’re certainly not going to get impartial advice.

That’s why we’ve constructed this mini-guide to help you make your own informed decisions rather that relying on what Sky recommends you should buy.

1. Decide which broadband speed you need

Take a little look a bit further up this guide if you want some serious detail on how to choose the right speed for your household.

The short, short version is if there’s more than three of you, plump for 38Mbps fibre, never choose a limited Sky package, and only opt for the 76Mbps package if you’re either a seriously heavy streamer and downloader or there are five or more of you in the household that all tend to use the internet at the same time.

2. Choose which TV channels you absolutely must have

Want Sky Atlantic? Fear not – it’s included as standard. We’re not talking about the shoo-ins here, we’re talking about the bigger, peripheral stuff like Sky Movies, Sky Sports or the Sky Asia Pack.

If all you want is hundreds of channels showing an enormous quantity of content, we simply have to recommend the Sky Box Sets Bundle (previously Sky Family). Sky is pretty tricksy when it comes to its bundles selections in that, if you want access to Sky On Demand and Sky Box Sets, you need to get the Sky Box Sets Bundle or better.

And let’s face it, if you don’t want either of those things, a bundle with lots of TV is probably not what you’re after anyway. Start with the Sky Box Sets Bundle, then add Sky Sports or Sky Cinema at the checkout.

We do, however, advise against opting for the named ‘Sky Cinema Bundle’ or ’Sky Sports Bundle’ since these have the Sky Original Bundle as their base, meaning you won’t have access to Sky Box Sets or Sky On Demand, or be able to watch Sky content in HD unless you upgrade your base bundle to the Sky Box Sets Bundle at the checkout.

Why does this have to be so complex, Sky? Why?

3. Choose your Sky Talk home phone plan

Everyone should opt for the basic Sky Talk Evenings and Weekends Extra.

The only reasons to change this would be if you either make a lot of calls between 7am and 7pm on weekdays, or you have friends and family abroad (in one of the 50 countries included in Sky Talk International, listed above).

4. Compare prices

This is the easiest thing in the world. If Sky has a special deal on, it’ll show up after you enter your postcode above. Comparing prices is what we do, and you’re on exactly the right page to do it.

Use the filters at the top of the page to sort by price or, better yet, since you’ve probably already decided what bundle you want at this stage, go ahead and sort by package name to see what variations are available.

5. Click through to Sky

We are not Sky. This will come as no surprise to most of you, but you’d be surprised how many think we are. No, we’re an independent third-party comparison site. That’s why we’re able to give you such an astounding quantity of impartial buying advice.

To actually buy your package from Sky, you’ll need to click on one of those blue buttons up there once you’ve chosen a deal you like. That won’t buy the deal, it’ll just get you to the correct page on Sky’s website.

6. Select your chosen bundle

Once you’re there, choose the deal you’ve selected – it should be right there. On Sky’s current page, you’ll have to scroll down a bit.

7. Choose your options and pay

A couple of things about the checkout process with Sky: for one, if you want HD in any way, shape or form, you’ll need to select the Box Sets Bundle (previously the Family Bundle), or TV-only equivalent if for whatever reason you’re not taking broadband.

Sky does not make it clear how this works with regards to Sky Cinema or Sky Sports at any point during the buying process. Shame on you, Sky. Instead, either selecting the Sky Box Sets Bundle in the first place, or selecting it as your bundle base during this stage then ‘unlocks’ the ability to include the ‘HD Pack’ if you’re taking Sky Sports or Sky Cinema.

Bear in mind this adds to the cost of the bundle significantly, which is why it’s really rather sneaky of Sky not to include it in its advertised Sky Sports or Sky Cinema prices. Everyone wants HD, right?

8. Decide on an installation date

Once you’re all signed up, Sky will ask you what day you would like to install it. Note that the average wait time to get your dish installed is two weeks. However, you’ll find Sky’s pretty flexible in allowing you to choose a time that suits at some point after the minimum waiting period.

If you’re switching from another provider, Sky may want to suggest a date that best dovetails with the switchover. Be ready for that.

9. Track your order

Sky will send you an email almost immediately, followed by a letter in the post a few days later. Both contain directions on how you can track the status of your order, from when you can expect your router to the moment the engineer arrives.

10. Up and running

You’re all set on the date you chose.

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Installing Sky broadband and TV – questions and answers

A stranger doing anything to your home is stressful, from jet-washing the patio to power-flushing your radiators. It’s just… intrusive. Which is why so many of you arrive at the whole Sky TV and broadband installation process needing reassurance. You have questions.

Luckily, we have the answers.

How much does it cost to install Sky?

Sky's installation costs will vary according to the service you are ordering. For Sky TV only with a Sky+HD box, you are looking at just £10. At the other end of the scale, if you are after Sky Fibre with Sky Q 2TB, the upfront cost is £99.

How long will I have to wait?

The minimum wait, whether you’re having just broadband, or a bundle that includes Sky TV through a dish, is two weeks. After that, installation day is fairly flexible, though Sky will want to get your new services up and running on the same day your old services (if you’re switching) end, where possible.

Do I need to be in for an engineer visit?

For Sky TV or any broadband, TV and phone bundle, yes. Sky is not going to let you climb up the side of your house or dangle from the side of a block of flats to install a satellite dish.

For Sky Broadband and Talk or Sky Fibre and Talk on its own, no. Broadband arrives through your phone line, and though this needs to be switched to Sky’s services at the local telephone exchange, this is something Sky will see to without visiting your house.

Can Sky give me a specific time of day?

The best Sky will be able to do in this regard will be to come during either the morning or afternoon – you will have chosen which to plump for during the sign-up process.

Sky’s communication on installation day is generally excellent. The engineer will send you texts to update you on his or her time of arrival. Obviously, some dishes are going to be harder to fit, depending on the property and the particular engineering challenges each presents.

So, although the time of arrival will be fairly fluid, you will be kept up to date and we understand it’s pretty rare for Sky to miss their day completely.

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Sky's satellite dish – questions and answers

If your house pride extends to the look of the exterior as well as whether the carpets are sweet-smelling and lint-free, there are going to be a bunch of questions you’ll need answering about the dish itself.

Do I still need a dish? Can't I just watch everything over the internet?

Yes, you can watch over the internet – Sky Box Sets and Sky On Demand, at least. As for the rest of Sky’s content? Nope, it still arrives through a satellite dish. If you want the full Sky experience, the dish is the pill you have to swallow.

Bear in mind also that the dish must face the southern sky, meaning that you have little or no say in where the dish is placed. It must also be somewhere you don’t mind being drilled into. Sky needs to drill all the way through your exterior wall and into your house, running a cable to a wall socket where you’ll plug in your main Sky+HD or Sky Q box.

If that sounds terrifying, it needn’t be. Sky has learned to do all of these things in the most cosmetically discreet way possible. Got a white house? Request white cable running from the dish.

The most important thing when thinking about cosmetic concerns is to speak to Sky in advance. Communication is all.

Where will Sky put the dish?

The dish has to be facing the southern Sky with clear line of sight. So if you want it on the back of the house where few people can see it, be prepared to be told you do not have that choice.

Sky will also need to run cables from the dish, through your wall and into your living room, which even on the correct side of the house narrows down the number of potential spots it might be put.

You may get it just where you want, or you may find it can only go exactly where you don’t want it. There is an element of luck here. If you want a good idea of where it's going to go prior to installation day, find out which side of the house or flat faces South.

What if I don't own the property?

Sky TV can add to the attraction of a property both for sale and for rental. It is rare in our experience for an independent landlord to deny you the right to get a dish put up, but it does happen.

Remember, though; you do not own this property. The worst possible course of action would be for you to attempt to do it behind your landlord or landlady’s back for fear they will say no.

Sky will require the property owner’s written permission.

Will Sky have to drill into any walls?

Yes. Sky will have to drill a hole through which to feed the cable from the dish into your living room.

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What you'll be charged and when – Sky pricing explained

There are lots of folks out there who want a new deal on their broadband, TV and phone, but don’t have any spare cash lying about to cover up-front costs. That’s OK, as Sky barely has any unless you’re adding extra Sky+ HD boxes for Sky Multiscreen.

It is worth knowing, however, how and when you’re likely to be billed, as well as what you’ll be paying, when you’ll be paying it and why.

There may be up-front costs when you sign up to a Sky package

Wait, didn’t we just say installation was free a few paragraphs up? Sure we did. However, Sky does insist you pay the postage for your router.

In the case of the dish and the set-top box, your Sky engineer will bring those out to you, but the modem is something that should arrive in the post ahead of time. We’re not entirely certain why Sky chooses to charge you postage for this.

Sky will bill you once a month, but it'll be a month until your first bill

After you’ve ordered your services, Sky will let you know when your first bill is due. This is your opportunity to tell Sky which day of the month you’d ideally like to pay it.

Unlike some service providers – mainly energy and utility suppliers, to be fair – Sky will let you choose whatever day of the month you wish to have your bill automatically paid via direct debit.

Sky will inform you how much your next bill is going to be about halfway through the calendar month, so alternatively you can log on to your MySky account on the Sky website and pay it via your debit or credit card at any time within that two-week window.

Most Sky broadband deals and Sky bundle deals increase in cost mid-term

Always check the small print. In Sky’s case it’s unlikely to be its smallness that makes us likely to ignore an indisputably forewarned mid-contract price hike, but our tendency to treat things that won’t be happening for six months as unimportant.

Most Sky (and other provider) bundles begin at one price and finish out the contract on a higher price. When signing up it’s a good idea to tell yourself you’ll be paying the higher price right from the off and determine from that whether or not you can afford it.

Six months, after all, is not long in coming.

Everyone pays line rental

There’s absolutely no way around this. Line rental is a necessary evil if you want broadband, even though it is now disguised as being part of the monthly price. That’s because, unless you’re thinking about becoming a Virgin Media customer (Virgin has its own network), your broadband comes through your phone line.

That phone line belongs to BT, which spends truckloads of money keeping the whole thing up and running each year and, well, we all have to share the cost of that.

If you’re thinking ‘Well, I’ll just go with Virgin Media then’, bear in mind that broadband and phone with practically any provider is almost always cheaper than broadband with no phone from Virgin Media.

We cannot fathom why this would be, but it seems Virgin too would like you to help cover the cost of maintaining all that infrastructure. Ultimately, no one gets away with not paying the piper.

Sky will charge you for exiting your contract early

Like most providers, Sky will charge you early exit fees if you leave your contract before it has run its course. What you will finally pay for early termination is often unnecessarily complex.

The long and short of it is that if you quit your contract early, what you’ll pay as a consequence is likely to be roughly equivalent to the entire amount you would be paying if you did it monthly. Gulp!

Bottom line is: when you sign up for Sky, be sure you want to be with Sky for a year or face the consequences.

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Sky rewards, offers, free stuff and voucher codes – finding the best deals

As things stand, it’s impossible to buy a Sky package without Sky throwing a free gift or two your way. We don’t see anyone complaining about that. Even Sky’s most basic broadband package is currently offered with a £50 shopping voucher.

Generally the more generous your package the more generous Sky is inclined to be with your reward.

New customer rewards

Sky’s rewards are extremely generous. With the Sky Box Sets Bundle, for example, right now you get to choose between a £100 shopping voucher, a 32” LG TV or ten digital movies for you to permanently own.

However, you should bear in mind that these gift offers are for new customers only. That means that if you’re an existing customer who’s upgrading, or you’re returning to Sky after being away for less that 12 months, you won’t be eligible.

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Rewards for upgrading your existing Sky package

That’s not to say there are no rewards at all for upgrading your Sky package. If you’re a basic Sky Broadband and Talk customer, for example, and you upgrade to a TV bundle, Sky will almost certainly throw you a bone, only, it’s unlikely it will be as big and meaty as those thrown to new customers.

Sky does not provide mobile SIMs

This question gets asked a lot: can I get a mobile SIM from Sky and have all my services in the same place? The short answer is no, not currently.

However, rumours abound that Sky is entering a deal with O2, which it is still saying will be up and running some time in 2016. This makes complete sense when you think about it. Virgin Media, TalkTalk and BT all offer ‘quad-play’ deals – that is, deals that include broadband, TV, phone and mobile.

Sky will soon follow suit, although an exact date has not yet been set. If it sounds like something you’re going to be interested in when it does arrive, you should check what kind of signal you get on the O2 network where you live and work using O2’s coverage checker.

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