When choosing a TV package there are lots of factors to take into consideration. You need to decide what channels you want and if you will be locked into a contract or not. You also need to consider whether you can purchase a TV and internet bundle to save money.
Many companies have some great TV packages and it's not easy to say which ones are the “best” as it really depends on you and what you are looking for. Comparing a wide range of deals will help make your decision easier and quicker. That’s exactly what we’ve done for you in this guide, compared a wide range of TV packages to help make your decision easier.
TV Sports Packages: BT, Sky & more
BT, Sky, Now, TalkTalk, Virgin; all these big TV provider names offer a package for sports lovers but which one is the best? Here we bring you the options from each provider so you can see which one has the sports channels you are after.
BT TV Sport Packages
The three main packages from BT Sport actually include all the same channels. The differences are in the internet speed.The two more expensive packages cost more per month and then the price will rise after 18 months however the delivery charge for this package is just £9.99 compared to the cheapest package where the delivery costs £29.99. You can see these three packages below.
Sky Sport Packages
With Sky, there are three sports packages you can add to the standard Entertainment Pack that everyone gets (which costs £22 per month) so any Sports Package will be an additional cost on top of this basic price.
As you can see below you have three options depending on what you want. If you want the standard BT Sport Channels you can get them for just £10 per month for 18 months. If you want the sports channels, but wouldn't mind the extra cinema channels, you can go for the second package. However the price increase for this one (for the first 18 months) is not small. See more information on these packages below.
NOW TV Sport Packages
With Now TV, you have the option to choose to access sports channels for a certain amount of time; daily, weekly or monthly.
If you just want to treat friends to a sports game night-in, you have the Day Pass option or if you want to be able to watch all sports channels anytime you have the more expensive monthly pass. Check out all the passes and their prices below.
Virgin Sport Packages
Virgin has two TV packages and four TV Bundles to choose from which incude Sports channels. Although they are not the only packages which give you sports channels, below we have highlighted the two packages that we believe are the best for sports lovers.
TalkTalk TV Sport Packages
If you want a sports package with TalkTalk, you can add one (or more) of the following “boosts” that include sports channels to your standard package.
There is something for everyone, whether you’re just interested in the cheapest and most simple package, or the full sports AND movie experience, there is also a more extensive package for you.
Entertainment Packages: BT, Sky & more
If you are a movie lover and also love your TV shows, you may want to go for a TV package that offers a great selection of shows, movies and even documentary channels (if you consider this entertainment). See the Factual Content section below where we go into more detail about factual channels.
BT Entertainment Packages
BT’s best entertainment package is Entertainment + Sport.
Note that BT Sport is not included in this package, but you can add it on a pay-per-month basis to your Entertainment package.
BT Entertainment + Sport has a huge selection of channels, which you can read about in detail in our BT TV Packages guide.
Sky Entertainment Packages
As we discussed in our Sky TV Packages Guide, all Sky customers get the “Sky Entertainment” package, which includes the following channels: Sky One, Sky Two, Sky Arts, Sky Witness, and Sky Atlantic.
Then you can add as many more as you like. For entertainment lovers we recommend the Sky BoxSets add-on at £10 a month and the Sky Cinema add-on for £10 a month. You can read about these in more detail in our Sky TV Packages Guide.
Always be on the lookout for special deals and offers. For instance, at the time of writing this, Sky’s current special offer is the “Sky TV, Sports and Cinema” deal which costs £45 per month compared to the usual £60.
NOW TV Entertainment Packages
Just like the Sports Passes, NOW also have a Pass you can get for your entertainment needs. The NOW TV Entertainment Pass will cost you £7.99 a month on a pay-per-month basis and the channels you will get are the following: Sky 1, Sky Witness, Sky Atlantic, Gold, Comedy Central, Sky Arts, Fox, MTV, Nat Geo Wild, Discovery Channel and SyFy.
Virgin Entertainment Packages
Virgin has four main packages that include a bit of everything. All Packages have some Entertainment channels so your choice will depend on which channels you want exactly, your budget and if you do any online streaming as if you do, you might want to go for package that gives you a higher internet speed.
The more expensive the package, the faster the internet speed and the more channels it includes. For example, if you want Sky Cinema you will have to go for the most expensive VIP Package and if you also want to entertain the kids, then you will have to choose either the Full House or VIP Package.
TalkTalk TV Entertainment Packages
TalkTalk has three of its "Boosts" which give you Entertainment channels. With the first two Boosts below you get access to 105 channels but the difference is in the internet speed and of course, the one with a faster internet speed is more expensive. Have a closer look at them below.
BT TV or Sky TV: Comparing Kids Options
If you want to keep the kids entertained, there are a lot of options out there. With some providers you can get kids’ channels as a simple, inexpensive add-on, like with BT TV.
A BT TV kids’ package will only cost you £5 a month and has a nice choice of the top kids’ channels. Some providers give you the same channels but for less. For instance, Now TV’s kids’ channels cost just £3.99 a month with the Now TV Kids’ Pass. This includes the same channels as the BT TV kids’ package.
Virgin doesn't have a specific kids’ package, but kids’ channels are included in the Mix, Full house and VIP packages. Although these cost more, if you are looking to get a full TV package with everything, Virgin could be an excellent choice.
Documentaries and Factual Content
If you’re someone who likes to watch documentaries, you could go for a package that includes channels such as National Geographic, Animal Planet and the History Channel.
The basic Starter Package (£39.99 for 18 mths, then £62.49) from BT TV will get you channels like Yesterday and Quest. With an upgrade to Entertainment Plus (£49.99 for 18 mths, then £72.49) you will get a lot more, including Discovery, History, National Geographic, Nat Geo Wild, Crime and Investigation, ID and Animal Planet. If you want these in HD, you can upgrade again to the Max package (£64.99 for 18 mths, then £83.99) which has six of these channels in HD.
Sky’s prices a little lower than BT TV’s, with the standard Sky Entertainment package costing £22 a month. This includes the following channels: National Geographic, Nat Geo Wild, Crime & Investigation, Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and the History Channel.
If you want factual channels with NOW TV, your best option will be the Entertainment Pass. This costs £7.99 a month on a pay-per-month basis and includes the Discovery Channel and Nat Geo Wild. If you don't want all the fancy factual channels and are happy with the other channels that NOWs Entertainment Package offers, it could be a good option for you.
Virgin’s three main packages all include some factual channels and you can see exactly which ones are included in a full list on their website. With TalkTalk, you also start with a basic TV package and personalise it by adding different “Boosts”. Yesterday and Quest are included in the basic package and if you want the rest you can add the Entertainment Boost on a pay-per-month basis that you can cancel anytime!
Billing and Payment Options
Maybe you want to choose a TV package and provider based on the flexibility of the payment options offered.
Are you willing to be locked into a long-term contract or would you prefer to pay each month and cancel anytime?
Now TV looks like the winner with its pay-as-you-go system. Now TV specifically focuses its services at people who do not want a long-term contract. On the other hand, the other top TV package providers all run their TV deals on a long-term contract basis. Not only can you be charged an early cancellation fee if you do not see out the full term of the contract, sometimes the monthly price increases after a few months.
With Sky TV, fees are charged monthly and you have to sign a long-term contract, usually for 12 or 18 months. You will be charged an early cancellation fee if you decide you want to cancel the contract before the end date. With Sky you will have to pay attention to price increases since the monthly fee goes up for most of their packages after 12 months.
TV, Internet and Phone Bundles
Another great way to look at and compare TV packages and providers is by the bundles they offer. By “bundles” we mean a package that includes a TV subscription, phone and broadband too.
Bundling can be a great way to save money and it can make things easier for you getting all your services from the same provider. Most providers offer broadband, phone and TV services bundled into one.
The Brilliant Broadband Package from Now stands out because of its generously low price. At £18 per month for an 18 month contract you get 11 Mbps average download speed and it is truly brilliant broadband. It's perfect for those who stream and download a lot of content or for busy households with many people using the internet at the same time. You also get 115 entertainment channels and free calls anytime to UK mobiles and landlines.
On the more expensive end, we have a package from Sky: Entertainment + Kids and Fibre Max. This is a very different £47 per month for 18 months with a 3£9.95 set-up fee. However, it does include quite a lot more than Now TV’s Brilliant Broadband Package. This package will give you 63 Mbps average download speed and 157 channels altogether. Free calls are not included in this package, you will pay for the calls you make.
These aren't the only bundles. Most providers will have some sort of bundle package and even limited time special offers so don't forget to look into this if you have decided to go with a bundle.
If you want the best quality channels, the biggest range of choice AND you want everything in HD, you can go for Virgin’s pricey VIP Bundle. Although not cheap, it gives you over 260 channels, Sky Cinema & Sky Sport in HD and BT Sport in 4K quality. It will cost you though - £79 a month for 12 months and then a steep increase to £129 a month for another 12 months. Just don't forget the £25 set-up fee!
If you’re looking at prices and you want the best value for money, the package for you could be the Entertainment and Sport Package from BT TV. Thisincludes 108 channels at £49.99 per month with a £19.99 set-up fee. If you're really looking at prices and you want to spend as less as possible and just want some basic channels, the cheapest basic package at the moment is the Sky Entertainment package. Thiscosts £22.00 per month and gives you an incredible 300 Sky TV channels.
The TV package that you choose should reflect your needs and your budget and we hope that this guide has made it easier for you to compare what's out there.
If you’re still unsure about TV packages, broadband and how it all works, take a look at our comprehensive TV and broadband guide. It explains everything from “what is broadband” to “saving money on your broadband and TV”.