Everything you need to know about Sky TV
There’s a dizzying amount of stuff to watch on Sky TV: The hottest US shows, the most popular sports events, movie premieres, homegrown programmes, loads of kids’ TV - the list goes on.
With so much choice, choosing a package can be a little daunting, but don’t worry - we’re here to help. In this guide, we’ll look at what you can get with Sky TV, what we like about it, what we don’t like about it, and what actual Sky TV customers think of it.
So without further ado, let’s get going.
What TV packages can I get from Sky?
Sky (www.Sky.com) offers three TV ‘bundles’ that incorporate different numbers of channels. The important thing to note is that all Sky TV bundles are customisable. You can, for example, add Sky Sports or Sky Cinema to any package.
You can also save money by adding broadband to your bundle. Most of Sky’s standard and fibre optic broadband packages are truly unlimited, which mean you can download as much as you like without fear of being hit with hidden charges or restrictions. Want to binge on an entire series on Netflix, or download vast amounts music? There’s nowt stopping you.
In addition, Sky also has a fibre package with a 25GB usage limit for those who want to spend a little less. It’s good for small households, though heavy users will want to stick with the aforementioned unlimited options.
Here are the Sky+ TV bundles:
- Original Bundle - gives you more than 35 entertainment channels, including Sky 1, Sky Atlantic, Sky Living, Sky Arts 1 and 2, Syfy, Fox, MTV and Comedy Central. That’s on top of the usual Freeview channels, naturally, so around 270 channels altogether.
- Variety Bundle - get everything in the Original Bundle, plus over 40 extra news, documentary and kids’ channels, including the Discovery Channel and three Disney channels. Over 300 channels altogether.
- Box Sets Bundle - you get all the channels in the Original and Variety bundles, and more than 300 box sets of TV series to watch on demand, including The Wire, 24 and Grey’s Anatomy. That's a whopping 350+ channels altogether.
- Sky Cinema Bundle - pick this and you’ll get the Original Bundle plus all 11 Sky Cinema channels.
- Sky Sports Bundle - this one gives you the Original Bundle and the all seven Sky Sports channels, showing live Premier League football, every Formula One race and more.
- Complete Bundle - as the name implies, it gives you the full whack - basically the Box Sets Bundle with Sky Sports and Sky Cinema.
If you’re serious about TV, you should consider one of these Sky Q bundles. They’re more expensive than standard Sky packages, but they give you a lot more, including the ability to watch Sky TV around the whole house, improved search, better personalisation, apps like Vevo, connectivity with your smartphone and more. It's all very slick indeed.
- Sky Q 1TB - gives you a Sky Q 1TB box that stores up to 150 hours of TV and can record three channels at the same time, more than 300 channels, 50+ channels in HD, more than 350 box sets, exclusive web videos, apps, and Sky Q Extra.
- Sky Q 2TB - gives you everything in the Sky Q 1TB Bundle, but adds a superior Sky Q 2TB box, with even more space for recordings, a Sky Q Mini box so you can watch Sky TV in another room, and the ability to use the service on two tablets.
For the full list of what you can watch with each TV package, check out our complete guide to Sky TV channels.
Sky On Demand and Sky Go
Sky has an extensive library of on-demand content, which is delivered over the internet. That means you’ll need to connect the Sky+ HD box - provided with all TV packages - to your broadband to get it.
This doesn’t have to be Sky broadband, so if you’re already signed up with a different provider, you should still be ready to go. Sky On Demand lets you access catch-up services like BBC iPlayer and shows from Sky’s own entertainment and movie channels as well. What you can watch depends on what bundle you sign up for - you’ll need Sky Cinema to watch films, for example, or Variety Bundle to watch Disney Channel shows.
Signing up with Sky also gives you access to Sky Go, which lets you watch live TV, catch-up TV and on-demand movies and shows on your PC, smartphone, tablet, games console and more in line with your subscription.
If you want the newest of the new movie releases, you can buy or rent them from the Sky Store, and play them through your Sky HD+ box, computer or smartphone.
Films are typically available to rent or buy from the service at the same time they appear on DVD and Blu-Ray. So if you want to watch a movie before it’s on TV, Sky Store’s one of the easiest ways to do it.
If you only want to watch something once, you can typically rent it, with new films costing £4.49. If you buy, however, there is an additional perk in the form of Buy & Keep - not only do you get a digital version to watch whenever you want, Sky also sends you the DVD. Not every film has this option, but most of the new releases do, and it’s a great idea.
While you don’t have to be a Sky customer to use Sky Store - it’s open to anyone - the ability to watch through your set top box is a real perk for Sky customers.
What set top box do I get from Sky?
When you sign up to any Sky+ TV package, you’ll get a Sky+ HD set top box. This is easy to use - the interface is impressively slick- and comes with some very cool features, including:
- Pause and rewind live TV
- Record up to 185 hours of TV - for an extra charge, you can get an even bigger box if you need more space
- Series record available, so you can automatically capture every episode of a series
- Access to catch-up services and other apps if you have an internet connection
- Built-in Wi-Fi, so you can connect easily
If you want Sky in more than one room, you can also get Sky HD Multiscreen boxes. These aren’t as feature-rich as the main box - there’s no recording function, for example - but it’s an affordable way to get Sky across the house.
This works a little differently for Sky Q, however. Take a look at our guide to Sky Q for more info.
Sky TV existing customer deals
Already got Sky TV and want to try out its broadband too? The provider is currently offering an exclusive deal for existing TV customers: three months’ free unlimited broadband.
What’s good about Sky TV?
- Good variety of channels - entertainment, factual, kids, music, movies, sport and more
- Only way to get Sky Atlantic, which airs a lot of hit US shows, such as Game of Thrones, first
- Sky+ HD box lets you pause and rewind live TV, and record hours-worth
- Slick, fast interface and easy-to-use electronic programme guide
- Sky Q 1TB and Sky Q 2TB boxes add loads more features, including better search, personalisation options and intelligent suggestions of shows you might like
- You can watch TV fluidly round the house, pausing in one room and picking up in another, with Sky Q
- Sky Cinema regularly premieres the biggest films first on UK TV
- Sky Sports has the widest collection of sports on TV, including Premier League football, Aviva Premiership rugby, international cricket, golf, Formula One and more
- Tons of catch-up TV, on-demand box sets, movies and more
- Rent and buy movies from Sky Store through your set top box
- Sky Go included - watch Sky anywhere on PC, smartphone, games consoles and more
What’s bad about Sky TV?
- More expensive than most TV options
- Best on-demand content locked if you don’t have the appropriate bundle
- Requires a satellite dish, which can be hassle to get installed
Sky Customer reviews
Sky performed well in our last Customer Satisfaction Awards, achieving an overall score of four out of five. Customers were particularly positive about the quality and reliability of Sky TV and Sky broadband, and the clarity of pricing and billing.
They were less enthusiastic about the speed of the broadband however, nor were they blown away by additional customer benefits - Sky got average scores in both categories.You can find out more on our reviews page, or take a look at more TV packages.