Dan Howdle | September 15th, 2023

Sky Entertainment package: What is Sky Basic TV?

The most basic TV package available from Sky is simply called Sky Entertainment, but you may also see it referred to as Sky Ultimate TV (when bundled with Netflix). No more Sky Original Bundle. So what’s in it then? Well, quite a lot as it turns out.

Sky TV basic package

With a wide range of superb TV channels on offer, plus extras such as Sky Go Extra, Sky Box Sets and Netflix, Sky Entertainment is well worth a look. Customers now have a choice between Sky Q (satellite TV, which appears to be being gradually withdrawn from the market), Sky Steam (TV delivered via your broadband connection, which Sky are now promoting heavily to new customers) or the innovative Sky Glass (essentially a smart TV with Sky technology built-in). You can also choose to add on a selection of bolt-ons in the form of Sky Sports, Sky Cinema, Sky Kids or external packages like TNT Sports (the newly rebranded BT Sport). Whatever you want to know about Sky Entertainment, we go through all the details right here.

Channels 300+
Technology Satellite dish or internet connection
Packages TV only, TV and broadband
Box Sky Q box, Sky Stream or Sky Glass
Contract 18 months (up to 48 months for Sky Glass)
Prices from £19 per month

Sky TV pack overview

Depending on the package you choose, Sky provides every new TV customer with either a Sky Q set-top box, a Sky Stream Puck or a Sky Glass TV with its integrated Sky TV service. This’ll be what you use to watch all those channels, to record shows you want to watch later and stream on-demand movies and TV. Each is very good, but Sky Q, which is used to view satellite TV is being gradually phased out in favour of Stream and Glass. This reflects a more general move to streaming TV as broadband connections grow faster and more reliable, and FTTP is rolled out across the UK. That's 'Fibre To The Property' (often called 'Full Fibre'), meaning fibre optic cables deliver blisteringly quick broadbad directly to your home. If you can access that, then Sky Stream or a Sky Glass TV are definitely the way to go.

Catch-up TV comes as standard with Sky Q. The last 30 days of programming are stored automatically so you can watch any of it anytime – all you need to do is make sure the Sky Q is connected to a router. With Sky Stream and Sky Glass catch up works a little differently. To catch up on missed shows, you'll have to stream the content from the relevant catch-up or on-demand service. Unlike Sky Q, there's no hard drive storage, so if you do want to 'record' content, Sky Q remains the only option.

You’ll also get access to the Sky Go app, which you can download to your phone, tablet or computer/laptop. This will allow you to watch shows live, as they’re aired, or from the aforementioned 30 days of catch-up. There’s also the My Sky app, which allows you to easily manage your account, view your bills, or get help with any issues you’re having. Sky describe it as 'Your buddy for all things Sky', so read into that what you will.

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What channels do I get?

There are over 300 channels available with Sky TV. This number, of course, includes the jewel in Sky’s crown: Sky Atlantic, which shows the brightest and best TV shows from across the pond, including Succession, Game of Thrones, Westworld, Billions, Chernobyl, Riviera, and a host of others.

Sky TV Channels

If you prefer things more factual, Sky Entertainment features lots of factual/documentary channels. Highlights include four Discovery channels, two Sky History channels, Animal Planet and two National Geographic channels – plenty for the more inquisitive minds in the household.

Music is catered for with five MTV channels: MTV itself, plus four genre specific channels (Music, Hits, 80s and 90s).

There are seven channels of sport and sport news, including Eurosport 1 and 2, as well as Sky Sports News, Sky Sports Mix, Sky Sports Racing, and of course Sky News itself.

If Indian and Asian TV are your thing, there are an impressive 15 of them on offer with Sky TV. Enough here, in fact, that if you wanted to you could watch nothing but Indian TV, ignore everything else and be well satisfied. There’s Zee TV, B4U Movies and B4U Music, Utsav Bharat, Gold and Plus and Zee Cinema and Zee TV to name but a few.

You also get all the usual free-to-air stuff you’d find on Freeview (BBC, ITV, CBeebies and so on), which, while not exactly piling on the value (as the name suggests, you could watch them for free without Sky) do allow you to keep everything contained within your Sky subscription. And don’t forget that if you have Sky Q you'll get 30 days of catch-up TV on most of those channels – you won’t get that with traditional Freeview unless you’ve got a warehouse full of blank VHS tapes. And haven't left the house since 1987, presumably.

Sky Entertainment also includes a free Netflix HD subscription (which, when bundled up with Sky TV it also still occasionally refers to as Sky Ultimate TV), so you can get the best of both worlds if you sign up. There are three levels to choose from – Netflix Basic is included by default and allows you to view on one device only, Netflix Standard doubles that, and Netflix Premium allows up to four devices, all in fabulous UHD. Obviously, the price does ramp up, but it's still very favorable compared to keeping up a separate Netflix subscription. Especially nowadays when Netflix are cracking down on users sharing their account details.

In addition, Sky Box Sets is included at no extra cost, having previously been a chargeable add-on. This offers over 500 box sets of popular TV shows, from drama and comedy to documentaries and classic TV, which, when combined with a Netflix subscription, gives any household a vast amount of viewing options wrapped up in one handy TV package.

Sky Q, Sky Stream or Sky Glass

Sky Q

Sky Q is one of the best high-spec set-top satellite TV boxes on the market, and is still considerably cheaper than Sky Glass. And it also allows you to effectively record content, whereas Sky Stream amd Sky Glass don't. There are two models of Sky Q box available, and it is the lesser of these two models Sky are promoting as they gradually move away from satellite TV – the Sky Q Lite box.

Sky Q Box

Sky Q Lite offers 1TB of storage, so you can record three shows at once while watching a fourth, and store up to 500 hours of recordings in HD. When it comes to 4K, you’re also going to need a 4K-compatible TV to watch 4K content, but more than that, unless that TV is absolutely gargantuan (65” or bigger) you will barely notice the difference. This has to do with how small the pixels (little lights that make up the picture) are and the limited resolution of the human eye. We won’t bore you with all that; suffice it to say that if you want 4K, you probably already know all about it.

Sky Stream – TV via the web

As of summer 2023, Sky have started to emphasise the benefits of their Sky Stream services – whereby TV is delivered via your broadband connnection – and to encourage new users to take it up, rather than go down the traditional satellite dish route. It's all done with one simple Sky Stream Puck, UHD, HDR and Dolby Atmos lots of streaming apps on other content on-demand.

This is probably the way to go if you already have a TV you're happy with, and are satisfied you have an fast and reliable broadband connection. Streaming TV is becoming more popular, particularly as Full Fibre broadband becomes increasingly more available.

Sky Glass is Sky’s latest premium product

Sky Glass has been brought in as the latest technology for watching Sky TV. It has two clear advantages over the more traditional Sky Q. First, it does not require a satellite dish – instead it uses your internet connection to give you access to your Sky channels, much like NOW TV.

Second, there is no need for a box – all the technology is built into your Sky Glass TV, which is supplied as part of your package. You can choose the size and colour of this 4K TV, and you can still choose to have multiscreen (known as “Whole Home” with Sky Glass) so you can watch on other TV screens around your house. Currently there are three screen sizes on offer – 43", 55", and 65", and in an amazing 25 colour combinations. You can also add Sky Live, which turns your Sky Glass TV into something of a multimedia powerhouse allowing you to video call, play live games and watch TV alongside family and friends online, no matter where they are.

One other point – Sky Glass isn't a 'subscription' service as such. You're actually purchasing the unit, so at the end of the contract it's yours to keep. In fact Sky allow you to buy it upfront, but since they charge no interest, it may be better to just pay monthly.

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Catch-up TV on Sky – how does that work?

Very simply, in fact. Sky Q stores everything shown on its channels for a rolling 30-day period. That means that, so long as your Sky Q box is connected to even a fairly measly internet connection (anything over 3Mbps will do it for standard definition, 8Mbps for HD), you’re going to have access to a huge range of content the moment your first switch it on.

Sky Go

Is the Sky Go App any good?

Yes, it is. Anything you can watch on your Sky TV, you can watch on the Sky Go app. But that’s not even its best feature. If you’re out and about and want to record something at home, provided it is on standby and not switched off at the plug, you can use the Sky Go app to set up the recording and it’ll be there waiting for you when you get home.

Of course, with the majority of channels automatically recorded for you via the 30-day catch-up service you’ll rarely need to do this, but it's very handy nonetheless.

Sky VIP loyalty reward scheme

Sky VIP aims to reward longstanding customers for sticking around. According to Sky ‘the longer you're with us, the better it gets’, claiming to offer via the scheme ‘money-can’t-buy experiences’. This tiered reward system depends on how long you have been a Sky customer, with increasingly exciting rewards on offer as the years pass. Some of the goodies on offer include exclusive cinema previews, exclusive channels, tickets to sports events, prize draws and even the opportunity to be in the audience of Sky TV show recordings. Plus, every new customer that signs up gets to choose a free movie from the Sky Store as a welcome gift.

If you take out Sky TV, you won’t automatically be enrolled in Sky VIP. You’ll have to download the My Sky app, and within that you’ll find a place to sign up on the home screen.

What add-ons are available with Sky TV?

Not so long ago, Sky had a whole bunch of variously named bundles such as Sky Complete and Sky Variety. These days Sky makes it a bit simpler: you start with the impressive Sky Entertainment TV pack, then bolt on whatever else you want. Bear in mind Sky TV now comes with Sky Box Sets and a Netflix subscription as standard. Here are the options for additional packs.

Sky Cinema & Sky Sports

Both can be added on, together or separately, but things start to get a bit more expensive at this point. At the time of writing, Sky Cinema costs an extra £8 a month (it may be more, or less if there’s an offer on). For that you get a bunch of movie channels showing over 1,000 different movies each month.

Sky Sports is more expensive, generally, but if you add these channels on when you sign up, there is often money to be saved, especially if you take out Sky Cinema too. Both Sky Sports and Sky Cinema require an 18-month contract.

TNT Sports (the new name for BT Sport)

For sports lovers wanting access to absolutely everything, TNT Sports comes with TNT Sports 1, TNT Sports 2, TNT Sports 3 and TNT Sports 4, although unlike the old BT Sport, ESPN is no longer included. All the channels are available in HD. You'll get every UEFA Champions League and Europa League matche, some exclusive Premier League games and Premiership Rugby, Boxing, MotoGP, UFC and WWE. Discounts are often available to customers signing up for BT Sport and TNT Sports. It's also good to knowl that TNT Sports on Sky is offered via a rolling 31-day contract so you can easily cancel at short notice.

Ultra HD

Not only does this give you access to crystal clear Ultra HD where available with Sky channels, it also unlocks Netflix Premium, so you can watch Netflix on four separate devices as opposed to one (as is offered by the Basic subscriptions).

Disney+

This exclusive Disney+ streaming app is becoming a must-have for families in particular. With all the Marvel and Star Wars movies, along with all the National Geographic content, it’s a worthwhile investment for households with younger members who have outgrown the kids’ channels. Plus, it’s on a rolling 31-day contract so if they watch everything too quickly, you can easily cancel.

Sky Kids

Kids channels are somewhat poor as standard in the basic Sky TV package. You get CBBC and CBeebies, but that’s it. We’re pretty sure that’s so that Sky can sell you the Sky Kids bolt-on. It’s only a fiver if you get it at the same time you take out Sky TV, but offers eight dedicated kids channels (including Nick Jr, Boomerang and Cartoonito among others) as well as over 5,000 episodes of various kids TV shows on demand, plus the Sky Kids app.

Read our Sky Kids guide

Sky Multiscreen

If you want to watch Sky on more than one TV around the house, you can with Sky Multiscreen, which costs an extra £15 per month with Sky Q. This will give you one Sky Q Mini box. You can choose to have a maximum of four Sky Q minis but you can only watch on two boxes at a time; the main Sky Q box and one mini.

To get Sky Whole Home with Sky Glass, you will have to pay extra for a Sky Stream Puck. These small boxes allow you to watch your Sky subscription on an additional TV, and they are also both Dolby Atmos and 4K HDR enabled. Each Sky Stream Puck costs £50 on top of your Sky Glass subscription, but it is a one-off payment for the duration of your contract.

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