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The amount you download determines the broadband package you should get. To keep things simple, we ask if you would like to see packages which are unlimited. These packages are ideal for users who are online for several hours during the day, or use the internet extensively for entertainment - like downloading movies and TV, streaming entertainment, or playing games. They are also good for large households where several people go online at the same time. If that sounds like you, pick ‘Just unlimited’.
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Just enter your postcode to see all the BT deals in your area, buy the deal and you will receive FREE online movie credit worth £120. Redeemable at CHILI TV where you can rent hundreds of films from their handpicked Special Selection.
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Why do we need your postcode?

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TV streaming services explained

These days, we have more channels than ever before - more than 70, in fact, with even the most basic Freeview boxes. Of course, that’s not enough for most of us. In the last few years, different ways of watching TV programmes have sprung up, in the form of on demand services, ready and waiting for us to stream over our broadband connections whenever we want to watch. Let’s take a look at what those streaming services are, what they offer, and how you can get them.

Catch up TV

Seven-day catch up is available on most TV packages. The main services you’ll find are BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4OD, Demand 5, STV Player (Scotland only), UKTV On Demand, and S4C Clic.

These let you scroll back and watch the episodes of your favourite programmes that you missed on live TV. You’ll find them on nearly every TV package from Virgin Media, Sky, BT, and TalkTalk. They’re also available through set-top boxes from YouView, Freeview+, and Freesat - though you’ll need to upgrade to Freetime to get any more than iPlayer and ITV Player.

You can also find catch up services online, through smartphone and tablet apps, Smart TVs, and various streaming sticks.

Netflix

We all know Netflix as one of our favourite online streaming sites, but you can also watch the likes of Breaking Bad, Orange is the New Black, and Daredevil on your TV set.

You’ll find the Netflix app on Freeview and Virgin Media TiVo, or through your YouView box - so it’s available with BT TV and TalkTalk TV packages as well. The latter two will even let you add the cost of a Netflix subscription to your monthly TV bill.

Netflix is also on smartphone and tablet apps, Smart TVs, and most streaming sticks, which you can plug into your telly even if you have Virgin Media or Sky TV.

Amazon Instant Video

The TV and movie streaming service from Amazon is a comprehensive one, with thousands of titles available to watch and download, but unfortunately it’s not easy to get it on your TV. There’s a dedicated app through Freeview, though not through any other provider. Still, it’s available on Smart TVs, streaming sticks, and certain set-top boxes and Blu-ray players - all of which are compatible with TV packages from the likes of Virgin Media, Sky, BT, and TalkTalk.

Sky Go

Sky Go, and Sky on demand if you have a Sky+ HD box, lets you stream your favourite Sky TV shows. That includes everything you find on Sky Living and Sky Atlantic, like Game of Thrones, Hannibal, and Mad Men. Plus, on demand content from Sky Cinema and Sky Sports is available too if you subscribe to them.

All Sky TV subscribers can access it for free, but if you’re not a customer you can still watch shows for a monthly fee. You’ll even find it on some Smart TVs and streaming sticks, and on NOW TV, so you can watch Sky programmes on your telly while still subscribing to a Virgin Media, BT, or TalkTalk TV package.

There’s also the option of upgrading to Sky Go Extra if you want to download videos as well as stream them.

See our full guide to Sky Go for the lowdown.

YouView

A YouView box will not only let you watch dozens of live TV channels: it also has streaming services in the form of seven-day catch up and box sets. Plus there are apps for Sky Cinema, NOW TV, and Netflix for even more shows.

YouView is available as a standalone box, or as part of a BT TV or TalkTalk TV package - and with TalkTalk, you’ve also got the option to add Boosts to stream even more TV. Read our full guide to the YouView box for more.

Now TV

Owned by Sky, Now TV has all kinds of stuff available to stream: recent blockbusters, Scandinavian dramas, and some of the more popular shows Sky has to offer like Penny Dreadful and Modern Family. As well as that, you can buy passes to watch Sky Cinema and Sky Sports on demand.

Now TV has its own dedicated set top box - which you can combine with broadband - but if you don’t fancy splashing out on that, you can also access the app through most devices, including smart TVs and streaming sticks. It’s also available through YouView - meaning you can watch it with a BT TV or TalkTalk TV package too.

Read more about Now TV in our guide.

PictureBox and TVBox

PictureBox offers movie streams on demand, on a monthly subscription basis - again, that’s through its website or apps for various devices. But TalkTalk TV offers it right there through your YouView box via a TV Boost.

There are two on offer: PictureBox, for a hand-picked selection of films on demand that rotates every month; and TVBox, for some of the best on demand box sets from the US, like Suits and The Mindy Project. Or, if they both sound good, you can double them up into a single Boost that costs a little less overall.

Curzon Home Cinema

Curzon Cinemas are best known for their dedication to independent, arthouse, and classic films - and that extends to their Home Cinema service too, which has a good rotation of those movies to stream or rent. It’s available online or through an app on most devices, but if you have BT TV you’re in luck - you can stream Curzon Home Cinema through your YouView box. You’ll also find it on Freesat if you upgrade to Freetime.

YouTube

YouTube isn’t just available on browsers and apps these days - you can watch as many cat videos as you want through your telly, if you have a Virgin Media TiVo box or Freetime from Freesat.

blinkbox

With blinkbox, you can stream and download both movies and TV box sets - including some of the latest blockbusters, and big shows from across the Atlantic like Mad Men and New Girl. Right now, it’s only available online or through apps… but it recently got acquired by TalkTalk, so it’s likely that it’ll become available through your TalkTalk TV pretty soon as well.

FAQs

  1. What are the main TV services in the UK?

    Freeview is the most common TV service in the UK - set top boxes are affordable, and new TVs predominantly all come with Freeview tuners built-in. Once you have Freeview you can watch TV as much as you want with no additional cost. Other subscription-free TV options include YouView and satellite TV service Freesat.

    However, for the best choice of channels and on demand services, you’ll need to join a subscription-based TV service. The four big ones in the UK are from Sky, Virgin Media, BT, and TalkTalk.

  2. How do I switch to a new TV service?
    Switching TV services is a breeze if you use a comparison service like ours. Simply enter your postcode, and we’ll list all your different options side by side, so you can easily compare features and price. When you find a package you like, click the link and you’ll be taken straight to the provider’s site. Fast, simple and hassle-free.
  3. Can I save money by bundling TV, phone and broadband?
    Yes you can. Providers like Sky and Virgin Media offer competitively priced bundles, comprising broadband, homephone and TV, and getting all three services from the same place often leads to significant savings. It also makes it easier to manage finances, as all services come on a single bill.
  4. How do I get movie channels?

    Sky often has the first TV broadcast rights for big movies, so if you want to see the latest blockbusters first, you’ll need Sky Cinema - which you can get through Sky, Virgin Media, BT, and TalkTalk TV packages for an additional monthly charge.

    Most TV providers also offer new home entertainment releases to view on a pay-per-view basis. Bear in mind, you may need a broadband connection to access some of these services. See our guide for more info.

  5. How do I get sports channels?

    There are multiple sports channels in the UK, with the biggest being Sky Sports and BT Sport.

    Sky Sports is available at an extra monthly cost on Sky TV, BT TV, TalkTalk TV, Virgin Media TV, and Now TV. Read our guide for more info.

    BT Sport, which also includes ESPN, is available on BT TV, and for an extra monthly cost on Sky TV and Virgin Media TV. Read our guide for more info.

  6. Do I need fibre optic broadband?

    Fibre optic broadband is much faster and much more reliable than broadband through the phone line, but it’s not essential for everyone. If you just want to browse the web, check email, Facebook, Twitter etc, you’ll be fine with standard broadband through the phone line.

    However, if you stream a lot of video, download music, films and games, and other such activities, you will likely find a fibre connection hugely beneficial.

    It’s also a boon for large households, especially ones with lots of gadgets like smartphones, tablets, and computers connected up most of the time. The more people using a connection, the slower it will be, so if you have a big family where lots of people want to connect to the web at the same time, for example, a fibre connection will ensure everyone can get a good experience.