Digital TV Packages

digital tvFollowing the switchover from analogue a couple of years ago, all televisions in the UK are now digital. While all new televisions come with Freeview which provides users with a number of channels, many people opt for a digital TV servicesubscription in order to acquire additional channels and further services, such as being able to record programs or pausing live television.

There are three main ways by which users in the UK: via a cable, via a mini dish and using a set top box in conjunction with the user’s broadband connection. Sky is the main provider of digital television via satellite and Virgin Media is the main user of cable as it is the only national digital cable company in the UK as it owns and manages its own network of fibre optic cables.

Currently in the UK the top providers of digital television services include Sky, Virgin Media, BT and TalkTalk. Each of these providers has a collection of packages to target the needs and price range of different individuals. In most cases, digital service providers couple their TV service with phone line rental and/or broadband services. These bundles make it easier and cheaper for users to manage their all their services.

How to get the best digital television deal

  • Before you start looking at what is available, it is important to establish exactly what you want in a digital television subscription, such as any specific channels or features such as recording and on demand. Writing a list of what you want and then comparing it to the deals around will help you find the deal that is best for you.
  • Check availability. While digital television is now available throughout the UK, some services, such as Virgin Media’s fibre optic digital service, are only available in certain areas of the UK.
  • Take advantage of price comparison websites. These sites can quickly summarise what deals are available in your area, making it even easier for you to compare the prices of different digital television services. In addition, such comparison sites also highlight if there are any special deals or discounts available.
  • Be wary of low initial fees. Many digital TV providers entice new customers with low monthly fees for the first part of the contract only to have them double later on. When you are comparing prices, be sure that you take this into account.
  • Ask about installation or set up fees. In order to avoid any nasty surprises later on, make sure you know all the costs involved with getting digital TV.

Comparison of top UK digital TV providers

Provider Maximum Number of Channels Extra Features Connection required Payment method Plans available
Sky 400+ • Sky go, watch Sky on smart devices
• Pause and record TV shows
• On demand content
Mini Dish Monthly • Digital TV only
• Catch-up TV
• Media Bundles
Virgin 250+ • Pause and record TV shows
• Catch-up TV
• On demand content
Cable Monthly • Digital TV only
• Media Bundles
BT 70-90 • Pause and record TV shows
• Catch-up TV
• On demand content
YouView box and Internet connection Monthly • Media bundle only
TalkTalk 70 • Pause and record TV shows
• Catch-up TV
• On demand content
YouView box and Internet connection Monthly • Media bundle only