Digital TV Guides
Compare TV packages
By Becca Talbot - email@example.com
Updated: Thursday 7 April, 2011
Want to make the switch to digital TV but donít know where to start? Our guide tells you everything you need to know to compare digital TV packages and get the best deal.
There are a lot of different digital TV packages on offer in the UK, so itís important you look at all the options. You donít end up spending money on channels youíre not going to watch or a service that doesnít give you what you want.
If you havenít already, read our beginnersí guide to digital TV, to find out what the benefits of digital TV are and why you should switch. Then compare TV packages, so you know exactly what to look for.
Advertisement: Article continues below
Virgin HD deal
of the month
Six months 1/2 PRICE
+ £14.99 line rental
FREE HD Box
FREE £50 Credit
Get Sky TV for only £10.75*
+ FREE Sky+ box
+ £14.50 line rental
£25 M&S voucher
Choosing a digital TV service
You can then find the latest digital TV deals and offers by comparing TV packages and prices on Digitalchoices.co.uk. But before signing up to a digital TV package from any provider, you need to ask yourself:
- What service? - Do you want a satellite TV package, a cable TV deal, a digital terrestrial service or an internet TV (IPTV) deal?
- What do you want? - Do you just want basic channels, on-demand TV programmes, film channels or a complete sports package, or high-definition channels?
- ďLiveĒ TV? - Perhaps you need a catch-up service or a digital TV recorder so you donít miss your favourite shows?
- Which channels? - Do you need sports channels, specialist channels or foreign channels?
- How much? - Do you want a monthly subscription with low upfront costs, a subscription-free service, or a pay-per-view package?
The answers to these questions will help determine the kind of TV package you should choose. You will then have to compare what the UKís digital TV providers have to offer.
Compare digital TV providers
The right digital TV provider and package for you will depend on what you want from digital TV.
If youíre looking for the cheapest TV option available, consider paying the one-off cost for a Freeview or Freesat set-top box for access to the digital terrestrial channels. On the other hand, if you want a variety of channels and much greater choice, have a look at what Sky and Virgin Media have to offer.
Hereís a bit more information about what the various providers offer:
- Sky - If itís lots of channels youíre after, including sports and films, consider signing up to a Sky satellite TV package. Sky TV is available to 98% of the UK - more homes than can receive Freeview or Virgin Media. To get Sky in your home, youíll need to have a satellite dish installed on the outside of your house and youíll be provided with a Sky set-top box. Subscriptions start from £19.50 a month, and you have the option to bundle your home phone and/or broadband with your TV too. Visit www.sky.com for more information.
- Virgin Media - If you live in a cable area, then a Virgin Media TV deal could be right for you - just over 50% of the UK can currently get cable TV. Virgin Media delivers its services via a fibre optic cable phone line, and all packages are bundled with Virgin line rental. Virgin Media offers a wide variety of channels and a host of free and paid-for on-demand TV programmes and films. Prices start from £12.99 a month for the Size M+ package with a basic cable phone line. Visit www.virginmedia.com for more information.
- Freeview - Freeview is the UKís free-to-view digital terrestrial service. It is currently only available in certain parts of the country, although by the time the digital switchover is complete in 2012, every home will have access to at least 50 subscription-free channels. You can get Freeview TV via a digital set-top box that is connected to a rooftop aerial. Standard boxes cost from around £20 from most electrical retailers, though Freeview HD boxes are considerably more.
- BT Vision - BT, the UKís largest phone and broadband provider, also offers its own digital TV service, BT Vision. Unlike other TV packages, BT Vision is delivered to customers TV sets via their broadband connection. It is available to all BT Total Broadband subscribers, and offers a range of on-demand TV programmes and channels, as well as the basic Freeview channels. For more information visit www.btvision.co.uk.
- Freesat - Like Freeview, Freesat is a subscription-free service. However, if you want to get Freesat in your home youíll need a Freesat set-top box connected to a satellite dish. Freesat is available in around 98% of the country, and offers over 120 channels. Freesat set-top boxes can be purchased from all good electrical retailers for around £30.
Switch to digital
Switching to digital TV is easy once youíve compared prices on Digitalchoices.co.uk. Just select the package you want and then click through to your chosen providersí website. Place your order online and you could have your digital TV service up in running in just a few weeks.
Most providers usually charge installation costs and set-up fees, though if youíre subscribing to a bundled deal, these may be reduced or waived altogether.