Digital TV Guides

Bundling your digital TV

Bundling your digital TV

Updated: Thursday 8 December, 2011

By Anthony Hill - anthony.hill@consumerchoices.co.uk

If you’re looking to save money on your monthly household bills, it may be worth bundling your TV, broadband and phone services with one provider to get a cheaper deal.

The massive growth in the digital TV market, along with decreasing home phone and broadband costs, has led to many companies offering money-saving "bundles", or all-in-one packages, allowing customers to take all their home entertainment and telecoms services from the same provider.

There are two types of bundled package on offer: TV and phone packages and TV, broadband and calls packages.

This guide will help you through the minefield of choosing a digital TV bundle, so you can make sure you’re getting the best deal for you.

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Digital TV bundles on offer

Virgin Media - Virgin Media (www.virginmedia.com) offers the ultimate bundled package, with what it calls a “quad-play” of services. You can combine not just your digital TV, broadband and home phone services, but also a mobile broadband subscription. You can also get a discounted deal on your mobile contract if you’re a Virgin Media Mobile customer.

If you just want to take Virgin Media’s TV service though, it is possible to get cable TV without a Virgin phone line - however it is considerably more expensive than subscribing to a bundled package.

Sky - Sky (www.sky.com) offers a “triple-play” bundled deal, which gives you Sky digital TV, broadband and home phone all for less than £20, although this doesn’t include line rental. Its digital TV service is also available on its own, for customers looking for an unbundled package.

BT Vision - BT Vision (www.bt.com), the internet TV (IPTV) service from telecoms giant BT, is available to all BT Total Broadband customers. Its TV, broadband and calls package costs just £22.90 a month, and gives subscribers up to 20Mb broadband with a 10GB download limit, free weekend calls and a pay-per-view BT Vision deal. This doesn’t include line rental, however, an extra £14.60 a month.

TalkTalk - TalkTalk TV also offers a triple-play bundle, though it’s TV service is only available to existing TalkTalk broadband and home phone subscribers. No new customers can sign-up to TalkTalk TV at present.

Video: Getting the best digital TV package

Why should I bundle my services?

There are several reasons why bundling your TV, phone and broadband services is a good idea:

  • Cost - Bundling is the cheapest way to get the services that you want, all on one easy bill
  • Freebies - Bundles have become so competitive that you can now get “free” add-ons too. These offer you extra services, at no extra cost - like Virgin Media’s “free” M digital TV deal, which offers a set-top box and digital channels for the cost of your monthly home phone
  • Free installation - You may be eligible for a free installation offer by subscribing to a bundled package
  • Bills - The fact that you only have to pay one company for all your home entertainment services is also appealing.

Disadvantages of bundling

There are also a few disadvantages of bundling, that you should be aware of before signing up:

  • Quality - Because the major attraction is the price, many people opt for the “free” or cheap packages, only to find they have compromised on their services
  • Offers - Make sure that you’re not tempted into paying extra for a service that you don’t want, need or won’t use.

If you want high-quality broadband and cheap calls, you might want to consider getting your services from separate suppliers or going for one of the more expensive packages.

How much does bundling cost?

Prices of bundled packages vary between providers, but here’s a brief overview:

  • Sky - Sky’s triple-play bundles cost from £19.50 a month. You’ll get one of six digital TV “viewing pack”, as well as up to 20Mb broadband and free evening and weekend calls for your home phone. You’ll also have to pay £12.25 a month for your line rental with Sky, or take line rental from another provider.
  • Virgin Media - Virgin Media offers less channels than Sky, but its triple-play deal has Size M+ TV, up to 10Mb broadband and free weekend calls, for £20 a month, plus £13.90 a month line rental.
  • BT Vision - BT’s cheapest triple-play bundle costs £22.90 a month and offers Freeview TV with on-demand pay-per-view programmes, up to 20Mb broadband and free weekend calls. Line rental with BT is an extra £14.60 a month.
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