Sky TV channels
By Mike Whitehead | Thursday, March 5th 2020
In the increasingly crowded subscription TV market place, Sky is still seen as the premier provider of quality programming across all genres. From Sky Sports to Sky Cinema, and the coveted Sky Atlantic, we've got all the details of exactly what channels Sky offers.
With the largest channel choice of all the Pay TV providers, Sky has a competitive pricing structure to match. For a full outline of everything Sky has to offer, through all the different packages, this guide will tell you all you need to know.
Most popular Sky TV channels
With well over 400 channels available on Sky TV if you max out all your optional extras, that list is far too long to cover in any meaningful way in this guide. Instead we've picked out what, in our opinion, are the top ten best TV channels on Sky. You can see the full list of channels on Sky's own website.
- 1. Sky Atlantic – This has to be Sky's most sought-after channel and you simply won't find it on any competitor service. Most of the best content it puts out is thanks to Sky's exclusive deal with HBO in the United States, bringing across shows like Game of Thrones, Big Little lLies, True Detective, Riviera, Billions, Tin Star and many more
- 2. Sky Sports – It won't come as standard and it's not cheap to bolt it on, but any sports nut would be crazy not to find a way to work Sky Sports into their monthly budget. These days there are 11 channels, most of them covering a specific sport (football, cricket, F1 and so on), with a few such as Mix, Main Event and Arena showing a mix of the sports left over. You will also get Sky Sports News
- 3. Sky Cinema – Again, you will have to pay a fair bit extra for Sky Cinema, but it still provides excellent value for money with 11 movie channels and on-demand access to over 1,000 movies at any given time included in the price
- 4. Sky One – Provides a solid mix of programmes you won't find elsewhere, including A League Of Their Own, Blacklist, Modern Family, In The Long Run, The Simpsons, Sick Of It and many, many more
- 5. Netflix – Once shunned by Sky as a competitor, Sky now encourages you to bundle a Netflix subscription in your deal, opening up access to literally thousands of shows and movies including Netflix Originals such as Stranger Things, The Witcher, Lost In Space, Altered Carbon and many, many more
- 6. Discovery – Not quite the source of factual documentaries it once was, Discovery still provides a great deal of 'factutainment' – shows based in reality, but with the drama cranked up for effect. Wheeler Dealers, Richard Hammond's BIG, Iron Resurrection, River Of No Return and Disasters Engineered are just some of the highlights
- 7. SyFy – Killjoys, Krypton, Battlestar Galactica, Futurama, The Twilight Zone. The quality of SyFy's own output has increased dramatically over the years and there is a wealth of great stuff to watch here
- 8. MTV – As well as MTV there are seven other MTV channels to go with it covering different genres of music. Something for everyone, basically
- 9. Fox – Offers a wide range of high quality American shows including Family Guy, War Of The Worlds, The Walking Dead, The Mentallist, The Fix and many more
- 10. Indian and Asian channels – Sky is the only service to bundle all its Indian and Asian channels in as standard, with an incredible 20 channels to choose from including movies, entertainment, news and more
Sky’s basic offering – Sky Entertainment – includes 250 free-to-air channels including all the familiar terrestrial TV favourites; BBC One, BBC Two, ITV, Channel 4 (including HD) are all available, as you’d expect. In addition, there’s a range of entertainment channels such as Dave, Yesterday and Challenge. If films are more your thing, you can watch Film4 and TCM.
250 channels does sound a lot. However, be mindful there’s quite a bit of repetition included here. For example, how many news channels do you really need if they all have the same headlines? We all have our favourite and will simply stick with that.
There’s also +1 channels included if you want to watch a programme that may clash with something else, along with a number of channels that are quite niche, including religious, adult-only viewing and shopping channels.
Sky’s premium channel offering begins with its Entertainment package. Essentially, any premium channel is one that is not classed as Freeview. Whether you would personally class some of these channels as premium viewing is subject to opinion.
Nevertheless, the Entertainment bundle includes an extra 75 channels in addition to the Freeview ones.
Premium entertainment channels
Over the last few years, Sky has made great strides with its original programme offering and has earned a terrific reputation for quality output. The Entertainment bundle includes Sky’s crown jewel – Sky Atlantic – which is, of course, home of the award-winning fantasy drama, Game of Thrones.
In addition, you’ll find other awesome programmes such as Billions, starring Damian Lewis, and Blue Bloods, starring Tom Selleck and Donnie Wahlberg.
Sky One is another channel that has massively improved its output and includes The Late Show with James Corden, and everyone’s favourite cartoon comedy, The Simpsons.
You can also grab all the latest new programming available through Sky Living, Fox and Universal. If you’re a comedy fan, in addition to Dave, there’s Comedy Central and Gold where you can enjoy all the old vintage classics such as Only Fools and Horses and Fawlty Towers.
Premium factual channels
Sky’s competitors cannot really come close to the offering it has for factual and documentary channels. Whatever channel you’re looking for in this genre, if you can’t find it with Sky you’ll struggle to find it anywhere.
National Geographic, Nat Geo Wild, Crime & Investigation, Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and History Channel are all to be found with Sky’s Entertainment package.
Premium kids' channels
Adding the Kids bundle to your basic Entertainment package should keep the little ones happy with a suite of channels to satisfy all their needs. With 11 kids channels, including Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Nickelodeon, Nicktoons, Nick Jr, Disney Channel and CBBC, there should be something for everyone.
Premium music channels
No matter what your age or what type of music you like to listen to, there’s something for all of you with Sky’s range of music channels.
In the beginning, Sky’s music offering was basically MTV. Nowadays not only are there lots of other choices, MTV alone has a suite of seven separate channels, such as MTV BASE and MTV Classic. In addition you can watch VH1, Box Hits, KISS, Magic and Kerrang. There’s even a NOW 80s channel for any A-Ha or Rick Astley fans out there.
If music documentaries are your thing, the Sky Arts channel has a great selection available as part of its regular programming schedule.
Premium movie channels
For all film fanatics, the Sky Cinema package will give you everything you’re looking for and can be added on to the basic Entertainment package. In total you get an extra eleven channels dedicated to films across a range of categories.
Sky Premiere, as the name suggests, is where you will find all the most recent cinema releases shown on UK TV for the first time. Sky Hits includes a range of titles that were both a critical and box office success when they were released, such as Cast Away, starring Tom Hanks, or Gladiator, starring Russell Crowe.
Sky Greats has a fantastic range of all-time classic movies. On here you’ll find pretty much anything made by Steven Spielberg or Quentin Tarantino. Sky Comedy provides the laughs with titles such as Love Actually or Airplane and pretty much anything starring Eddie Murphy or Will Ferrell.
You can see plenty of Drama and Thriller titles with dedicated channels to these genres and Sky Classics has a wonderful range of timeless movies from the likes of Taylor, Burton and Eastwood. With On Demand, you can watch all of these movies, whenever you like.
Premium sports channels – Sky Sports
Back in its infancy, Sky was very much seen by some as the bully in the playground, taking all the best sports away from poor old Auntie Beeb. However, whilst it’s had its ups and downs over the years and has had to work tirelessly to get its various formats correct, Sky’s sports selection is undeniably second to none.
Its Sports package is the foundation upon which Sky has secured its success. More recently, along with its cinema package, Sky has conducted a very successful re-branding of its sports offering with the result being a much more focused, concise selection centred on particular sports rather than a mix of everything.
Sky Sports Main Event has all the big events happening here and now. The big golf major, the cricket test match, and the big premier league clash – you’ll find them all here. The other premium channels are all centred on a specific sport. Sky Sports Premier League, Sky Sports Cricket, Sky Sports Golf, Sky Sports F1 all have programming totally focused on their respective sports.
In addition to Sky Sports Premier League there’s Sky Sports Football, which offers programming away from the top-flight and focused on lower league matches.
There’s no doubt Sky has suffered some setbacks of late with increased competition from BT who managed to capture a healthy portion of Premier League games, both European club competitions and, most recently, The Ashes in Australia. This competition is only going to become fiercer as time goes on but, for now, Sky’s sports package is still the best overall and well worth adding on to your basic Entertainment package.