Claire Nottage | September 19th, 2023

Sky Signature explained: Costs, channels & features

Sky Signature

If you were looking for an excellent pack of TV entertainment, you couldn't go far wrong with Sky Signature. With the option to add on Sky Sports, Sky Cinema as well as Disney+ and BT Sport, Sky Signature offered a comprehensive and flexible TV package that you can adapt to your own requirements. We’ve taken a look at exactly what was included.

Prices from £19 per month
Channels 300+ channels
Packages TV only, TV & broadband
Extras Netflix, Sky Sports, BT Sport, HD/UHD, Sky Cinema, Sky Kids, Disney+, Multiscreen
Box Sky Q box
Contract length 18 months

What was Sky Signature?

Sky Signature was the new name for Sky’s core TV package, and came on an 18-month subscription basis. It was accessible as part of a Sky TV package and required a Sky Q TV box and a satellite dish on your home. As of 2023, if you want Sky satellite TV (as opposed to opting for Sky's excellent new Sky Stream or Sky Glass), you'll need a combination of the Sky Essentials and Sky TV add-on to match what it offered. Which is quite an expensive combination.

Sky Signature came with around 300 channels, and also included Sky Box Sets – previously only available as an add-on. Customers can watch hundreds of TV shows on demand, from classics such as The Sopranos and The Wire to more recent successes including Westworld and Billions.

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Sky Signature was also available to buy with a base Netflix subscription – this is known as the Sky Ultimate package. However, that's no longer the case and neither Sky Essentials or the Sky TV add-on include Netflix. You'll need to add it separately, or use your existing subscription. The good news is that Netflix works seamlessly with the Sky Q box. Should you opt to add it to your Sky Q contract, then the basic Netflix subscription allows you full access to the Netflix catalogue but only on one device at a time, whether that’s your TV, a laptop or a games console. Customers can choose to upgrade at their own expense in order to be able to watch on more than one device at a time, and also include UHD quality content too.

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Sky Signature channels

Sky Signature included with around 300 channels, covering a huge range of taste and interests. Although approximately half that number are available on Freeview, including BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Channel 5, there are around 150 others that are not, that provide the very best of drama, sport and film, all wrapped up in the Sky Signature package. The only way to improve on that in 2023, now that Sky Signature has been withdrawn, is to add the 'Sky TV' service, which will come at a significant extra cost. Which is why it may be worth looking at Sky Stream – probably the most cost efficient way to access Sky TV now.

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Entertainment channels

Along with the documentary channels, the entertainment channels form the overwhelming majority of a Sky TV subscription and amongst the less impressive channels, you will also find jewels such as the coveted Sky Atlantic, which shows some of the best drama available on UK TV, including Game of Thrones, Tin Star, Riviera, Chernobyl and Westworld to name but a few.

Highlights

  • Sky Atlantic
  • Sky Showcase
  • Sky Max
  • Sky Comedy
  • Sky Witness
  • Sky Replay
  • Sky Sci-Fi
  • Comedy Central
  • Comedy Central Extra
  • Quest
  • MTV
  • W
  • Gold
  • Dave ja vu
  • Food Network
  • TLC
  • Alibi
  • E!
  • TCM

Sky Signature also included Sky Max – the new name for Sky One. Sky Max shows include dramas such as A Discovery of Witches. The Flight Attendant and COBRA, alongside popular comedy shows such as A League of Their Own and new Never Mind the Buzzcocks.

Other great channels include Sky Showcase, featuring a selection of the best of Sky programming; Sky Comedy, which shows the best US comedies, such as Will and Grace, Ballers and The Office; and Sky Witness, home to legal thrillers and medical and crime dramas.

Documentary channels

Sky Signature was rich in documentary TV shows with 15 channels available in total. With its own channels, Sky History, Sky Crime, Sky Documentaries and Sky Nature, as well as a selection of popular channels from National Geographic and Discovery, there is something for everyone, from animals to true crime.

Highlights

  • Sky History
  • Sky Crime
  • Sky Documentaries
  • Sky Nature
  • National Geographic
  • Discovery
  • Nat Geo Wild
  • Animal Planet
  • Turbo
  • Eden
  • Discovery History

Sky Documentaries offered a fascinating array of programmes, from biographies on famous names such as Hillary Clinton and Tiger Woods, to musical retrospectives including Hitsville: The Making of Motown and Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men. There are also insightful investigations of the livelihoods and experiences of lesser known individuals around the world, such as Honeyland – the story of a struggling beekeeper in Macedonia.

Sports channels

Although you have to pay extra for the full Sky Sports pack, Sky Signature did include three Sky Sports channels that are not subject to additional subscription fees, namely, Sky Sports News, Sky Sports Racing and Sky Sports Mix, the latter of which shows football, international cricket and golf from Europe and the US, amongst other things. Again, if you want those channels via satellite now, you'll need to opt for the Sky TV add-on.

Highlights

  • Sky Sports News
  • Sky Sports Racing
  • Sky Sports Mix
  • Eurosport 1
  • Eurosport 2

Also included in Sky Signature (and now part of Sky TV) was Eurosport 1 and 2, which show coverage of Grand Slam tennis, European Athletics Championships, World Snooker Championships, Le Mans, cycling Grand Tour and much more.

Asia channels

Sky is the leader when it comes to offering Asian channels, and had 15 included in the Sky Signature pack. Customers can enjoy drama and popular reality shows as well as films, news and music on channels from Zee TV, Colors, Sony, B4U and Utsav. They're all now available as part of the Sky TV add-on.

Highlights

  • Utsav Plus
  • Utsav Gold
  • Utsav Bharat
  • Zee TV
  • Zee Cinema
  • B4U Movies

Music channels

Lovers of MTV will be happy to know that Sky still airs four channels: MTV Base, MTV Hits, MTV Music and MTV Classic. So whether you like a bit of smooth jazz, grime and rap, or chart hits, there are the sounds for you. Again, previously offered as part of Sky Signature, but again, they're now only available as part of the optional Sky TV add-on.

Highlights

  • MTV Music
  • MTV Base
  • MTV Hits
  • MTV Classic
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Extras

Whereas Sky originally offered an array of different fixed bundles to potential customers with names such as Sky Variety and Sky Original, Sky Signature did keep things a bit simpler. As the base offering, customers were able to choose to bolt on various different extras, from UHD to Sky Sports. Despite the withdrawal of Sky Signature, you'll find Sky still offer a wide array of optional extras – with an additional cost, of course.

Netflix

So popular is Netflix, that Sky have decided to capitalise on this, and actually offered a Netflix Basic subscription as a free extra to a Sky Signature package. Incredibly, there was no additional cost; adding Netflix to Sky Signature essentially just changed the package name to Sky Ultimate.

Sky has carried on that tradition to the newer Sky Stream packages, most of which include a basic Netflix subscription by default. However, that's no longer the case with Sky Q now that Sky Signature is no longer available. You'll have to contact Sky and have it added separately.

In terms of options, the entry-level Netflix Basic gives you the ability to watch Netflix on one device at a time (and it doesn’t have to be your TV). Customers wanting a bit more flexibility and the option to watch it on more than one device at a time can choose to upgrade to Netflix Standard. And finally, Netflix Premium permits even more devices and adds UHD for good measure.

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Sky Sports

The ever-popular Sky Sports could be be added to Sky Signature for an extra monthly fee, on an 18-month contract. With eleven channels dedicated to a whole host of sporting brilliance, from Formula 1 to top-flight Premier League games, as well as cricket, golf, rugby and much more, it is an indispensable extra for any sports fan. Happily Sky Sports now comes in HD as standard, but if you want to watch in UHD, you will need to pay for the UHD add-on. Again, you'll need to contact Sky to add Sports to Sky Q, but the Sky TV add-on does include the basic Sky Sports channels, so you'll have to decide if that's adequate for your needs.

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BT Sport (now known as TNT Sports)

As well as Sky Sports, customers could also choose to bolt on BT Sport to Sky Signature in order to get the full set of football. Whereas Sky Sports dominates control of the Premier League, BT Sport had exclusive right to the UEFA Champions League. There is also live coverage of The Ashes, and UFC and boxing fans will enjoy the access to BoxNation that is also included. All that now sites with the TNT Sports brand.

As of mid-2023, neither Sky Signature or BT Sport remain, but if you wish you can opt to add TNT Sports as an extra add-on. It can be quite pricey, but you will be getting essentially the same access the old BT Sport provided. Plus, there's no requirement for a long contract so you can choose to add or remove it when you want.

Sky Cinema

Sky Cinema was never part of Sky Signature and so still comes on an 18-month contract as an extra. Not only do you get access to all Sky’s cinema channels, from the latest releases to classic thrillers, family films, sci-fi and more, but you can always choose to take advantage of Sky Store rentals – should there be that one film that you absolutely have to watch and don't mind paying a little extra to see.

Sky HD/Sky UHD

If you have a 4K UHD-ready TV and want to make the most of it, then you will have to take Sky’s Ultra HD + HD. Ultra HD is available for certain shows on a large number of Sky channels, including Sky Atlantic, Sky Max and Sky Witness. Sports fans will be able to enjoy BT Sport Ultimate which is broadcast in 4K. And you'll need the top Netflix Premium subscription in order to view that in UHD.

If you are just looking to add HD to your viewing options, then you can buy the Sky HD pack on its own, without UHD. Both UDH+ HD and HD alone come on a rolling one-month contract, so you can cancel at any time.

Sky Kids

A great option for families with younger children, SKy Kids includes six premium kids’ channels: Boomerang, Cartoonito, Cartoon Network and three Nickelodeon channels. Keep the little ones happy with their favourite TV characters, including Peppa Pig, Tom and Jerry, the Thundermans and SpongeBob. Sky Kids is offered on a one-month rolling contract so you can cancel at any time, although with it only costing a fiver a month you may decide the peace is worth the money on an ongoing basis.

Multiscreen

Customers wanting to enjoy their Sky content on more than one TV may want to consider adding Multiscreen. For an extra monthly fee, Sky will provide you with a Sky Q mini box. The mini boxes allow you to watch all your Sky channels on a second TV. You cannot record or watch in full HD, but you can access anything you have recorded on your main Sky Q box. Multiscreen involves an 18-month commitment.

You can choose to add up to three Sky Q mini boxes, but the second and third will cost you extra. When you bear in mind that you cannot watch on more than two at once you may decide its not worth the cost. Also, all Multiscreen subscribers will be able to use the Sky Go Extra app at no extra cost. This enables you to watch your Sky services on up to four devices at once – from smartphones to games consoles.

Disney+

For even more entertainment, Sky Signature customers could choose to bolt on a Disney+ subscription. As well as Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar and Disney classics, it is also home to Star, where you will find more adult drama, such as Love Victor, Gray’s Anatomy and Modern Family. Disney+ comes on a one-month rolling contract so once you have watched all the latest episodes of the Mandalorian you can choose to cancel it for a while – if you want. Again, that's still something you can add to Sky Q subscription, but you may need to contact Sky directly.

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Sky Signature with Sky Broadband

Although it was possible to get Sky Signature without broadband, you weren't able to enjoy all the benefits offered by the Sky Q box, including accessing any of the on demand TV services.

Sky offers several broadband speeds to go with its TV services, depending on availability at your address. Its standard fibre service, known as Sky Superfast, is widely available and comes with an average download speed of 61Mbps. You may find you can also get Sky Ultrafast, Ultrafast Plus, or Gigafast, with average download speeds of 145Mbps, 500Mbp and 900Mbps respectively. If you can access those higher end FTTP broadband speeds, you really might be better off considering a Sky Stream package. As Sky gradually moves away from offering satellite TV, you'll find a much wider range of Stream bundles are now offered. They're often much more competitively priced, and you won't need a dish fitted to your home.

For those who cannot get any fibre service as yet, Sky offers its Broadband Essential service, with download speeds average 10Mbps – still sufficient to enjoy your Sky Signature TV service.

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Alternatives

Sky isn’t the only TV provider on the block, although it is still one of the best. However, if you are dubious about signing up for an 18-month contract, it might be worth looking at NOW TV Entertainment instead, which comes with all the best channels available with Sky Signature.

NOW TV offers the best of Sky but without any long commitment – all its packages come on a rolling one-month basis so you can stop and start your subscription as often as you like. You can watch NOW TV on any compatible device, from a smart TV to a smartphone. Simply download the NOW TV app and set up your account.

Sky channels are also available with BT TV (again, in the form of a NOW TV Entertainment package) and with Virgin Media TV, although bear in mind that Sky still do not allow their main competitor the rights to show Sky Atlantic. So if you want to be able to watch Fortitude, The Leftovers, Chernobyl, and many of the other superb TV shows available, you will need to stick to Sky or NOW TV.

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Conclusion

There can be no doubt about the fact that Sky TV still reigns supreme as the king of subscription TV. Sky's satellite TV services offered a range of choices that simply weren't matched by any other provider in the UK. To some extent, that remains the case today, but they are gradually moving away from offering satellite TV in favour of TV streamed via broadband.

However, Sky does still market a version of its longstanding Sky Q satellite TV box – the Sky Q Lite – and until receently, Sky Signature was the core TV package offered alongside it. So, do bear in mind that as of 2023, if you're a new customer you're more likely to be offered Sky TV delivered via Sky Stream, or Sky's own all-in-one smart TV, Sky Glass.

From Sky Atlantic and Sky Max (the recently renamed Sky One) to Sky Documentaries and Sky Witness, Sky Signature offered the best of TV available in the UK. Customers could choose to bolt on extras such as Sky Sports and Sky Cinema, and get free access to both Sky Box Sets and a Netflix Basic subscription. If you're looking at installing Sky Q satellite TV now though, you'll have to opt for Sky Essentials, which includes a slightly nore streamlined range with over 200 free-to-air channels.

Plus, of course, you'll still be able to record up to 1TB of TV (from up to three separate channels at once), and be able to use the excellent Sky Go app. You can also – for an additional fee – include the eponymously named 'Sky TV' add-on, which will add Sky Atlantic, Sky News, Sky Documentaries & Sky Max along with access to around 200 Sky Originals series. However, when compared to the costs of comparable services via Sky Stream, it can be a little pricey. And remember, Sky Stream means no unsightly satellite dish, too.

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Frequently asked questions

How much does Sky Signature cost?

Sky’s base TV package last cost £26 per month without any extras. Similar Sky Stream packages can be found slightly cheaper.

Could I add Amazon Prime Video to Sky Signature?

No, you couldn't add Amazon Prime Video to Sky Signature, but it is available to download and watch on the Sky Q box. Note that it will also require a separate subscription fee.

Could I watch Sky Signature away from home?

Yes. Using the Sky Go or Sky Go Extra app, you Could watch your Sky content when you are out and about. It will work over 4G but it is advisable to use wifi wherever possible to preserve your data allowance. The newer Sky Stream services also include access to Sky Go.

Could I get Sky Signature without broadband?

You could, and still can get Sky TV without a broadband connection, but you won’t be able to watch any on demand programmes, or benefit from streaming services such as a Netflix or Disney+.

Is Netflix free with Sky?

Yes, Netflix was free of charge with Sky Signataure for new and existing customers who don't already have a Netflix subscription. However, that's no longer the case with Sky Q satellite broadband. Although if you opt for Sky Stream, most packages do include it.

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