What TV channels can I get?
TV packages can vary in a lot of ways. There are different prices, different set top boxes… but what we really care about are the different channels. Every provider has its own approach to building TV packages, and that means you could miss out on getting your favourites if you pick the wrong one. Here’s a quick lowdown of what you can watch with each provider.
If you don’t fancy shelling out for a pay TV package, you’ll still be able to watch free-to-air channels with a set top box from Freeview, YouView, or Freesat. With Freeview and YouView you can watch over 70 channels, or with Freesat you’ll get 200. Both have a good range of all genres, including plenty of entertainment, radio, news, and a good number of HD channels.
Not sure which one to go for? Check out our Freeview vs Freesat vs YouView guide.
BT TV channels
Telly from BT (www.bt.com) uses a YouView box, so with its basic TV Starter package you’ll get all the free-to-air channels plus a few extras thrown in from BT, including BT Sport. Upgrading to TV Entertainment gets you more - including lots of entertainment and factual ones, as well as Eurosport. And if that’s not enough, you can subscribe to ‘Bolt-ons,’ which give you bundles of the kinds of channels that you want. There are Bolt-ons for kids, music, and HD channels, plus Sky Cinema, Sky Sports, and loads more.
Sky TV channels
Because it access satellites rather than cables, Sky (www.sky.com) has a lot more channels in its basic TV package than other providers - a massive 240. That’s all the free-to-air satellite channels, plus Sky’s exclusive ones, including Sky 1 and Sky Atlantic. The Variety Bundle has even more channels, and the Family Bundle adds a load of HD ones on top of that. And of course, you can add Sky Cinema and Sky Sports to any Sky TV package.
Virgin Media TV channels
TV packages from Virgin Media (www.virginmedia.com) gain more channels as they go up in size. The smallest, Player TV, has pretty much just Freeview channels, then Mix TV adds on some Sky ones, lots more entertainment, and some music, News, and a bit of sport. Fun TV throws in extra factual, kids, and music channels. The biggest of the lot, TV XL, has a ton of HD and a lot of Disney. As well as all those, you can add premium channels - Sky Cinema, Sky Sports, international, or adult ones, for instance - to any package.
TalkTalk TV channels
TalkTalk (www.talktalk.co.uk) TV is nice and straightforward with only two packages: TV, which gives you basic free-to-view telly; or TV Plus, which includes a YouView+ box and 30-odd extra entertainment channels. If those aren’t enough, you can add bundles of channels with ‘TV Boosts.’ There are Boosts for entertainment, sport, kids, music, and world channels, and many more.