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's TV service is flexible and incredibly simple. It's built around TV Packs - collections of channels and on demand content that you combine to create the specific package that you want. Here’s an overview of how it works.
Every Sky customer gets as standard:
Sky Entertainment - gives you loads of channels covering drama, comedy, light entertainment, arts, music, the hottest US imports and more. Those channels include Sky One, Sky Two, Sky Arts, Sky Witness, and Sky Atlantic - home of popular shows like Game of Thrones.
Then, you can build your package by adding as many of these other packs as you like:
Sky BoxSets - adds more than 350 box sets of shows, which you can watch at any time. Full runs of Game of Thrones, Twin Peaks, Stan Lee's Lucky Man and Grey's Anatomy are just some examples of what's available. Even if those don't appeal, there's so much there that you're sure to find something that does. Find out more about on-demand content
Sky Cinema - more than 10 dedicated movie channels, covering all genres from new blockbusters, to arthouse hits and classic family fodder. Sky shows a new premiere every single day, and also has more than a thousand on demand flicks to watch at any time.
Sky Sports - this works a little differently from the other packs. Seven Sky Sports channels are available - you can get one, two, or all of them together as a complete bundle. The channels are:
- Sky Sports Premier League - shows top games from the Premier League, as well as highlights, discussion, analysis and debates
- Sky Sports Football - shows live football every week, including the EFL, Carabao Cup, SPFL and La Liga
- Sky Sports F1 - every practice, race and qualifying session of the F1 season
- Sky Sports Cricket - shows every England home Test, domestic matches and all ICC competitions
- Sky Sports Golf - live coverage of the Majors, and also the European and PGA tours
- Sky Sports Action & Sky Sports Arena - these two channels are only available together, and show a massive range of shows, including International and European rugby union, NFL, GAA and darts
Sky Kids - 11 dedicated children's channels, including Disney XD, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, as well as more than 4,500 episodes on demand. The Sky Kids App lets the little 'uns watch select content on the go (you can choose what they can see) and parental controls let you block access when it's bedtime.
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 Q 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 Kids pack 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 Q 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 Q 1TB 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 150 hours of HD TV - or about 300 hours in standard definition
- Record three shows and watch a fourth live at the same time
- 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... and it can act as a hotspot to boost your home Wi-Fi signal
If all that still isn't enough, you can upgrade to the Sky Q 2TB box instead. It'll give you double the storage space, plus it's 4K Ultra-HD ready.
If you want Sky in more than one room, you can also get Sky Q Mini boxes. These aren’t as feature-rich as the main box, but it’s an affordable way to get Sky across the house. And because it's Sky Q, you can access all your recorded and on-demand shows. The box will even remember where you stopped watching last time.
Sky TV existing customer deals
Already got Sky TV and want to try out its broadband too? The provider regularly has great deals for existing customers. Check out our guide to find out more:
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 first, such as Game of Thrones
- Sky Q box lets you pause and rewind live TV, and record hours-worth
- Slick, fast interface and easy-to-use electronic programme guide
- Sky Q boxes add loads of 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
- The best on-demand content is 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.
What else can I get from Sky?
As well as satellite TV, Sky offers broadband, home phone, and other services. Read all about it: