Sky Cinema, and before it Sky Movies, has been a staple of the British TV scene for years. But how do you get it? And what do you actually get for your money if you choose to sign up? We have the answers.
Sky Cinema is a collection of subscription film channels and on-demand movies that can be added to the basic Sky TV service. It is available to Virgin Media TV subscribers directly, and via the streaming service NOW TV. For BT TV and TalkTalk TV customers, an optional NOW TV membership add-on is available.
The service was launched in 1989 as Sky Movies and changed its channel line-up numerous times before rebranding as Sky Cinema in 2016.
Sky only really refers to Sky Cinema in terms of its headline features, so let’s have a look at them, one at a time.
Sky Cinema is often thought of purely as something you can add to a Sky TV subscription. It is that, but there are other ways of getting Sky Cinema if you get your TV service from another provider. A word of warning, though: Adding Sky Cinema on Virgin or BT costs a bit more than it does on Sky TV, so unless it’s already included in the package, consider getting a NOW TV Sky Cinema Membership instead.
Adding Sky Cinema to Sky TV is fairly simple. If you’re a new customer you’ll need to start with Sky Signature, as this is the basis of all Sky TV packages, which includes Sky TV plus Netflix. Then you can add Sky Cinema to your basket, or choose from the pre-bundled deals for new customers. Prices may change during your contract period, or upon renewal.
If you’re already a Sky TV customer, you can add Sky Cinema to your package but this will mean starting a new 18-month minimum term on your TV subscription.
Virgin Media customers can add Sky Cinema to their TV package and get all the same benefits as Sky TV customers, including access to your Sky TV content on the go using Virgin’s TV Go app. Sky Cinema is included as standard in some of Virgin’s TV packages including the Bigger bundle + Movies bundle, the Bigger bundle + Sports and Movies bundle and the Ultimate Volt bundle.
Sky Channels are included in BT’s VIP, Big Entertainment and Entertainment TV packages. If you aren’t on one of these plans, or if you’re a BT fibre broadband customer, you can add NOW Cinema Membership to your TV package, which works as a monthly rolling subscription.
Copper customers on one of BT’s new flexible packages with the NOW Cinema Membership can watch via the NOW app, but won’t be able to watch on your BT TV box and the content can’t be recorded.
TalkTalk offers access to Sky Cinema, and other Entertainment and Sports channels with a NOW Membership – all with no contract, and available to existing customers for a small monthly fee. At the time of writing, you cannot stream NOW TV content on TalkTalk TV’s 4K Box, but their website says it will be available soon.
The most flexible way of watching Sky Cinema is to get a NOW TV Sky Cinema Membership, as you can cancel whenever you like. You get all the features of Sky Cinema except for the Sky Cinema app, but this is hardly a problem as you’ll be able to watch on any device that supports the NOW TV app.
Sky Cinema isn’t the only thing you can add to a basic Sky TV subscription, which now includes Netflix as standard. Here’s a breakdown of the other options, each of which costs an additional monthly fee and some of which come with their own minimum term contract.
Sky Cinema deals start from £27 per month from range of providers including Sky, NOW, Virgin Media and BT. For the latest prices, see our comparison table.
Sky Cinema is a paid monthly subscription package that can be added to other Sky services, from Sky directly, and from a few other TV providers.
Yes, you can access the Sky Cinema channels and movies on demand through Sky Go. There are desktop and mobile apps, and you can access Sky Go on any connected device as long as the content is included in your Sky TV package.
You do need an internet connection to access Sky Cinema content directly from Sky, via Virgin Media TV, a NOW TV membership, or a NOW membership through BT TV or TalkTalk TV. If you sign up for Sky Go Extra, you can download any content from Sky Cinema to watch later while you are connected, and then watch offline without a 4G/5G or WiFi connection.
This depends on how you signed up for Sky Cinema in the first place. As an addition to Sky’s basic Ultimate TV package, you’re tied into an 18-month minimum contract so you’ll probably have to pay a fee if you cancel early. Cancelling your Sky Cinema subscription through another provider might also incur an early cancellation fee.
If you get Sky Cinema as a NOW TV membership, which is how you get it through BT TV and TalkTalk TV as an optional add-on, then there’s no minimum term and so yes, you can cancel whenever you like, and pay only for the current month’s service.