Digital TV Guides

Digital TV providers overview

Digital TV providers overview

Updated: Thursday 25 March, 2010

By Becca Talbot - becca@consumerchoices.co.uk

Looking for a digital TV service but not sure exactly what you want or need? Read our provider overview and decide on the one that suits you.

Hereís a quick breakdown of each digital TV provider available:

Freeview

Freeview is the cheapest way to go digital. You can make the switch simply by buying a set-top box, or if you need a new TV you could get a digital integrated television with Freeview built-in. Set-top boxes start at around £20, and integrated TVs can be purchased for around £150.

If you donít want to sign-up to a 12-month contract but still want the extras you get with digital terrestrial television then Freeview is for you. You can also add Top Up TV for extra channels.

Top Up TV

If you want Freeview but feel you need more viewing options, then Top Up TV (www.topup.tv) is for you. Youíll get a Top Up TV+ set-top box that gives you access to all the normal Freeview channels as well as over 600 on-demand programmes a month.

The Top Up TV+ set-top box also acts as a digital recorder, letting you record, pause and rewind ďliveĒ TV, as well as offering parental controls. The Top Up TV+ set-top box costs £99.99 and then you pay £9.99 a month.

BT Vision

Customers wanting to sign-up to BT Vision (www.btvision.bt.com) will have to have BT Total Broadband. If youíre not already a BT Broadband customer you can sign-up online by clicking here.

Once you have BT Broadband, and have paid the installation cost, basic BT Vision is a free service allowing you to access all of the Freeview programming available in your area but with the added flexibility of being able to purchase pay-per-view programming when you want.

Customers can also add subscription packages on a month-by-month basis starting from £4 a month. This means that you could add the Kidís package over the summer holidays or the Sport package over the football season.

Sky

Sky (www.sky.com) is a recognised name in the subscription TV market, and offers satellite digital TV in a range of packages.

Sky channels are separated into two options; the Sky Entertainment offers all your favourites for £20 a month, including Skyís exclusive Atlantic channel, Sky1, Sky Living, the Comedy Channel and a range of music channels - so thereís something for everyone.

For an extra £5 a month you can upgrade to the Sky Extra, gaining access to an extra 51 channels - including all the documentaries, news, arts and entertainment you can handle..

And if thatís still not enough, Sky Movies, Sky Sports or the Sky HD pack will take your TV to the next level.

Virgin Media

Virgin Media (www.virginmedia.com) is a cable TV provider. It offers four digital TV packages in different sizes: Size M, Size M+, Size L and Size XL.

Customers can choose to add Sky Movies or Sky Sports to their package as well, and XL customers get ESPN for free. The packages increase with channel numbers, with M offering over 60 channels, and XL offering over 160.

Packages start from £5.50 a month for the Size M+, and require you to take a Virgin Media phone line as well. This costs an addition £11.99 a month for line rental.

TalkTalk TV

TalkTalk TV (www.talktalk.co.uk/tv), formerly Tiscali TV, offers a triple-play of products, allowing you to bundle digital TV, broadband and home phone.

TalkTalk works in exactly the same way as Tiscali TV did, delivering digital TV via your broadband connection. Digital TV delivered in this way is known as internet protocol TV (IPTV), and it is the same technology used by BT to deliver its BT Vision service.

You can only get TalkTalk TV if you take a bundle including its broadband and home phone, and prices start from £15.22 a month, plus line rental at £11.49 a month.

Also, like Tiscali TV, TalkTalk TV is only available in certain areas.



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