Claire Nottage | June 22nd, 2022
From its origins as Sky Movies, Sky Cinema still leads the way when it comes to movie entertainment, with eleven channels crammed with cinematic entertainment, from animation and action to dramas and thrillers.
Along with some of the latest releases, there are also classics to enjoy, and with a whole channel devoted to family films, there is something for everyone. You don’t have to have Sky TV in order to get Sky Cinema. Like Sky Sports, it is available in various different ways, all of them on subscription however. In this guide, we take a look at what Sky Cinema has to offer, how you can watch it, and how much it costs.
Sky Cinema is a subscription-only service offering a vast selection of films to suit every taste. You can choose to watch the channels live or search for what you want on demand, meaning you can always be guaranteed to find something to entertain, whether it’s for keeping the little ones entertained or a bit of escapism on a Saturday night.
It is available either as a bolt-on to an existing TV subscription, including Sky TV, BT TV or Virgin Media TV, or with NOW TV, Sky’s streaming app sibling. Contract lengths vary according to provider and range from one month to 18 months.
If you sign up with Sky TV, you can watch Sky Cinema on your mobile, tablet or laptop with the Sky Go app, as well as on your TV. The same applies if you sign up with BT or Virgin Media; both the BT TV app and Virgin Media TV Go app enable you to enjoy your subscription on the move.
If you decide to get a NOW TV Cinema Membership, the NOW TV app is available on a wide range of devices, from games consoles and TVs to laptops and streaming sticks. It also only requires a one-month contract so if you don’t want to commit, it’s an ideal option.
Sky Cinema offers 11 different channels of films to enjoy, conveniently grouped into topics, so you can easily find something you’ll like.
Sky claims it offers a new premiere every day on this channel, although that doesn’t necessarily mean a new film; rather just a film that is new to Sky Cinema, and, generally speaking, a relatively recent cinema release. This is the home of big Hollywood blockbusters, so if you’re looking for an evening of excitement, this is the channel for you.
Sky Cinema Select is used to show both seasonal movies – in December it morphs into the Christmas channel – along with focussing on specials the rest of the year. At the time of writing, the channel is focussing on showing the Jurassic World films.
Sky Cinema Hits shows some of the most successful films ever made, on all sorts of subjects, including Gemini Man, the Will Smith thriller, as well as DC superhero fun Shazam! and Transformers blockbuster Bumblebee. American crime thriller The Kitchen offers a different style of entertainment as does horror flick Crawl.
Appropriately named, Sky Cinema Greats shows an array of cinematic wonders from years gone by, from the Charlton Heston classic The Ten Commandments and Barbra Streisand’s classic romance The Way We Were, to the sci-fi spectacular 2001: A Space Odyssey and heartwarming romcom Bridesmaids.
Perfect for family viewing or for occupying the kids, Animation plays host to everything from Barbie and Postman Pat feature length films to modern classics such as Mr Peabody and Sherman and Penguins of Madagascar.
This is the home of family entertainment where you will find a superb collection of feel-good films often featuring CGI animation alongside real actors, such as Paddington, Hook, Stuart Little and Look Who’s Talking, as well as old classics like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and new twists on modern classics including Four Children and It and The Secret Garden.
For lovers of thrills and spills, the Sky Action channel provides hours of entertainment. From classics such as Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo, you will also find action sci-fi such as Mortal Kombat or historical action such as 300, as well as thrilling disaster movies SkyFire and San Andreas.
Home to a host of romcoms, including Hitch and How to Lose a Guy in 10 days, as well as classics such as Airplane!, Sky Cinema Comedy offers hours of amusement. From the toe-curling comedy of Alan Partridge and People Just Do Nothing, to the heartwarming humour of As Good As It Gets, there is something here to tickle everyone’s funnybone.
For edge of the seat entertainment, Sky Cinema Thriller offers such gripping films as Hotel Mumbai, Dead Water and Collide alongside movie classics like Taxi Driver and Primal Fear to keep you glued to the screen.
Sky Cinema Drama gives you exactly what it says – drama. Enjoy the gentle story of Miss Potter or immerse yourself in the gritty romance of An Officer and a Gentleman. More thought-provoking offerings are also included, such as Save The Cinema and Philadelphia, as well as modern classics The Green Mile and Erin Brockovich.
Although some sci-fi and horror films do make an appearance on other Sky Cinema channels, this is their home. Enjoy such cinematic sci-fi greats as 2001: A Space Odyssey and horror classics The Fog and Omen IV, alongside recent successes including The Forever Purge, A Quiet Place and Voyagers.
As with Sky Sports, Sky Cinema is only available as a subscription service, but there are various different ways of getting it.
Sky TV offers new customers the option to take a bundle with Sky Cinema already included, or to add it on as an extra if you are an existing customer. In both cases you will have to commit to an 18-month contract. Sky does not offer customers the option to take Sky Cinema on a rolling monthly basis. If you take Sky Cinema with Sky, HD is included at now extra cost.
BT offers Sky Cinema to its customers in the form of a NOW TV Cinema Membership. This can be taken as part of the Big Entertainment bundle, which also includes NOW TV Entertainment or the VIP bundle, which includes everything from cinema to sport. Alternatively, it can be added on as an extra for just a tenner a month. It also comes on a rolling monthly contract so you can cancel at any time.
Much like with BT, Virgin Media offers customers the option to take Sky Cinema as part of a bundle or as an add-on. The Bigger Bundle + Movies or the Ultimate Volt Bundle both include Sky Cinema as standard. You can choose to add Sky Cinema to an existing Virgin Media bundle on a rolling monthly contract but this works out very expensive.
NOW TV Sky Cinema is available on a rolling monthly basis for around a tenner a month. However, unlike with Sky TV, it doesn’t automatically come with HD; for that, you have to pay an extra fiver a month to get the NOW TV Boost, which also enables you to stream the service on more than one screen at a time.
NOW TV offers great flexibility however, with the option to watch it on almost anything, from a Smart TV or a streaming stick such as Roku, on your phone or tablet, or on a desktop computer or games console.
Sky Cinema costs around ten pounds a month if you take it directly with Sky TV, although this requires a commitment to an 18-month contract. BT offers Sky Cinema as a NOW TV add-on on a rolling monthly contract, but you have to pay extra for HD. Likewise, taking Sky Cinema directly with NOW TV also offers good value, but again you have to pay extra for NOW TV Boost to get HD. The most expensive option is with Virgin Media, where it currently costs around double the monthly price charged by Sky and BT.
The cheapest way to get Sky Cinema is currently to take it directly with Sky TV as it also comes with HD at no extra cost, and there is the option to watch it on other devices with the Sky Go app.
If you don’t want to sign up for a Sky TV package just to get Sky Cinema, that’s not a problem. Sky Cinema has been available as an add-on with Virgin Media TV for years, but it is now also available as part of a BT TV package, in the form of NOW TV Cinema. Or, if you don’t want to pay for a TV package at all, you can choose to just take a NOW TV Cinema membership independently and watch it on your Smart TV, via a streaming stick, on your tablet, or on a gaming console.
If you want a big selection of movies to watch, you don’t have to subscribe to Sky Cinema; just take your pick from the ever-growing list of streaming services. Netflix offers hundreds of films and Amazon Prime offers thousands, although you may find you have to pay extra on Amazon if you want to rent or buy a movie that isn’t included in the subscription. Apple TV+ is another big name in the film streaming market, and produces a lot of original movies itself that you will not see anywhere else.
Disney+ offers hours of entertainment, primarily aimed at younger viewers and families, with classic Disney animation alongside everything Marvel, everything Pixar and everything Star Wars. If Hollywood hits aren’t your bag, then MUBI offers something different with a selection of international films, some of which are Hollywood classics, but most of which are independent or art-house films.
Prices of streaming services average around £9 a month. Apple TV+ is the cheapest, at just a fiver a month, with Netflix being the most expensive at £15.99 a month for the premium package. For the sake of comparison, NOW TV Cinema costs £9.99 a month. (Prices are correct at time of writing).
Sky Cinema averages about ten pounds a month with most providers, but to get it in HD often costs extra. To find the best deal currently available, you can use our handy comparison tool.
Yes, you can buy Sky Cinema on a rolling monthly contract either directly with NOW TV or by adding it as an extra either with BT TV or Virgin Media TV.
Yes. If you sign up for Sky Cinema with Sky, BT or Virgin Media, you can watch on your phone via your chosen provider’s app. If you sign up with NOW TV, the NOW TV app is available on a huge number of devices, including mobile phones.
Yes. If you buy Sky Cinema with Sky TV, HD is included at no extra cost. If you sign up with NOW TV, you will also have to buy NOW TV Boost in order to watch your chosen films in HD.