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Sky Sports has been around since 1990 and has had a major impact on sport itself as well as the way we watch it. We often hear that armchair fans have never had it so good, but what exactly does Sky Sports offer these days and what is the best way to go about getting it? Those are the questions we’ll try to answer for you.
Sky Sports is a collection of premium sports channels showing sporting events that often can’t be viewed on any other channel. The channels are available as a subscription service, added on to a Sky TV service or indeed BT TV, Virgin Media TV or TalkTalk TV. It’s also available on a no-contract basis via NOW TV and as a mobile app.
Sky Sports is no longer the only player in town thanks to the emergence of BT Sport in recent years, so what is Sky Sports doing about it? What channels does it have and what other features are there?
Sky TV customers adding Sky Sports to their package can choose to add just one channel – there are five dedicated to a particular sport or competition – or to get the complete collection. These are the channels you can only get by subscribing to Sky Sports.
There are also three Sky Sports channels that are made available to everyone with Sky Entertainment, Sky’s basic TV package. You don’t need a separate Sky Sports subscription in order to watch them. These channels are also included in Virgin Media’s Mix, Full House and VIP packages, plus BT Sports Big Sports bundle.
All of the Sky Sports channels come in HD as standard. That might not sound like much but it’s not the case for the majority of channels on Sky Entertainment – to watch Sky Atlantic in HD for example, you need to add the HD pack for an additional monthly fee.
The majority of Sky’s live Premier League matches, all F1 races and certain other sporting events are available to watch in Ultra HD – but in order to do this you need not only the right equipment but also to be subscribed to the right packages with Sky.
Obviously you’ll need a 4K TV. You’ll also need the Sky Entertainment package and Sky Sports, as well as Sky Q Experience (the new name for Multiroom) and a 2TB Sky Q box. This isn’t the standard box that comes with Sky Entertainment, it’s a higher spec model and it comes with a £49 set-up fee.
Sky Sports subscribers can watch on the go as well as at home – and there’s a couple of different ways of doing this. The Sky Sports channels are available via the Sky Go app as well as the Sky Sports app.
Getting Sky Sports is primarily associated with having Sky TV, but that’s not the only way of getting the service. Customers of other TV providers can also add Sky Sports to their package and there are no-contract and mobile options, too.
Customers with the basic Sky Entertainment package can add a single Sky Sports channel for a standard monthly price, or all of the Sky Sports channels for an extra few pounds. Sky Sports comes with an 18-month minimum term contract and if you’re an existing Sky TV customer, you’ll be setting off a new minimum term for your Sky TV contract as well.
Three Sky Sports channels are available to all Virgin TV customers on the Mix package or above – Sky Sports News, Sky Sports Mix and Sky Sports Racing. The full Sky Sports package is included in the Full House Sports TV bundle and the VIP bundle. Virgin customers who don’t have Sky Sports included in their package can choose to add it for an additional monthly fee.
You can watch all of the Sky Sports channels on BT TV, although that BT TV customers can pay for the Big Sports bundle, which includes Now TV sports membership, containing all the Sky Sports channels.This Bundle also includes all the BT Sports channels.
You can now install the NOW TV app on the Amazon Fire Stick, allowing you to access Sky Sports with a NOW TV, Sky Sports Pass.
You don’t get any Sky Sports channels as standard with TalkTalk’s TV packages, but you can access Sky Sports on the TalkTalk platform via NOW TV by buying a Sky Sports pass.
The NOW TV Sky Sports Membership gives you access to all 11 Sky Sports channels without the commitment of a long contract. You can choose a month membership, which does automatically renew after a month if you don’t cancel. Or you can buy a day membership that simply expires after 24 hours or a week membership that lasts seven days.
NOW TV also offers the Sky Sports Mobile Month Membership, which gives you access to five Sky Sports channels – Premier League, Action, Arena, Racing and Sky Sports News – on your mobile. Again, it renews automatically after a month but you can cancel whenever you like.
Occasionally, NOW TV offers deals that allow you to save money in the long run by paying for multiple months of the Sky Sports Month Membership upfront. One example is the F1 Season Ticket, which offers nine months of Sky Sports for a one-off payment.
Sky offers much more than Sky Sports – there’s a whole host of add-ons and other services available. Here’s a quick breakdown of what’s what.
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If you are only subscribed to one Sky Sports channel then you can cancel whenever you like. But if you have the complete channel set then you are tied in for 18 months and if you want to leave early you’ll probably be faced with a sizable cancellation fee. You can do this by calling Sky customer services or using the live chat function on the Sky website.
The 1TB Sky Q box that comes with Sky TV subscriptions as standard allows you to record three channels while watching a fourth live, and you can store up to 500 hours of programming. That’s quite a few games and three at any one time, assuming they’re all being shown on different channels.
If you upgrade to the Sky Q 2TB box you can record six shows while watching a seventh and store up to 1,000 hours of programming.
Yes, all Sky TV packages now come with Sky Q boxes..
Yes – you can get a Sky Sports day, week or month membership from NOW TV. This doesn’t require you to have any sort of TV subscription and, although the month membership automatically renews at the end of the month, you can cancel whenever you like.
Yes, but at the moment you need to go to BT to get it. The BT Sport channels are available on a 12-month contract and also on a one-month rolling contract, plus an upfront fee. You’ll have to pay extra to watch in HD.
No, there are no Sky Sports channels included as standard with BT TV packages. BT TV customers can pay extra to watch Sky Sports channels via BT TV Bundles which include NOW TV. The BT TV Big Sports bundle includes Sky Sports via NOW TV.
No, Sky Sports News is not a Freeview channel. It’s included in the basic Sky Entertainment TV service and in Virgin’s Mix, Full House and VIP bundles.
Yes, you can now watch NOW TV on the Amazon FIrestick, by installing the NOW TV app. You will also need to buy a Sky Sports pass from NOW TV.