A Guide to Sky
What You Need to Know
- To get Sky you will need to have a mini dish installed. If you live in rented property you may need to check this is OK with your land lord.
- Sky have two basic TV packages, Entertainment and Entertainment Extra, which feature 40 and 90 channels respectively. Both also come with over 240 free to view channels.
- You can add to your subscription by taking extras, such as Movies, Sports and HD packages.
- You can get a discount for taking multiple packs. For example, if you want Entertainment Extra, Movies and Sports, you’ll want to get the Sky World package which combines all of them at a reduced price.
- The Sky + box comes free with your subscription. It's capable of recording whole series and can also pause and rewind live TV. If you take the HD pack, you’ll get the Sky + HD box, which allows you to view channels in five times greater detail.
- If you upgrade to the Sky + HD 1TB box, you’ll be able to store up to 740 hours worth of recorded programmes, meaning there’ll be plenty of space to for all your favourites from the TV listings.
- For an additional £10.25 a month you can get Sky in another room of your house. Bear in mind that you will need to buy an extra set top box for each room you want to watch Sky in.
- You may be able to make substantial savings on your monthly bills by taking advantage of a bundle deal from Sky. These can include phone calls and broadband, as well as TV.
- If you have both Sky broadband and Sky TV, you’ll be able to use the Sky Anytime on demand service, which boasts a host of quality shows, including series ‘box sets’, available to view whenever you like.
- Sky Go allows you to watch programmes on portable devices, such as laptops, smartphones and Ipads, free of charge.
Sky is one of the most well known names in television and, as you’d expect, they have a huge amount of options for speculative subscribers to choose from. This guide will tell you all you need to know if you’re thinking of becoming a Sky household.
What Do I Need to Get Sky?
To receive Sky you’ll need a set top box and a mini dish. Don’t worry though, these will be provided by Sky and installed for you when you become a customer.
Other than that, there aren’t any prerequisites to getting Sky TV, although if you rent your property, you may need to check with your landlord before having a dish fitted.
If you live in a block of flats, you can still have a dish fitted, but you may be excluded from some offers that include free installation.
You needn’t worry about the dish being unsightly. It’s only 60cm across and comes in a discrete matt black.
If you also wish to get your phone services and broadband from Sky, you’ll have to check that you’re in a Sky network area. You can do so on Sky’s website.
Choosing a Package
Putting together your viewing experience depends on 3 main choices;
- Which basic package of channels you take.
- Which additional extras, such as sports and movies and HD channels, you want to add to your pack.
- Which set top box you choose.
Between them, these elements determine not only what programmes you can watch, but also how you’ll be able to watch them. Here’s a run down in the options available to you when it comes to tailoring your subscription;
Sky’s entry level package consists of more than 40 channels, including 10 of the most watched paid for channels available through Sky. For £20 a month you’ll be able to watch a host of award winning shows in a variety of genres from channels such as; Sky Atlantic, Sky 1, Sky Arts, Comedy Central, MTV, FX, Gold and Dave.
On top of this, you’ll also get all the digital channels available via Freeview. However, Sky go much further than Freeview in the amount of free-to-air, non-subscription channels they broadcast. Any Sky package you take will include 240 free channels, from terrestrial mainstays like the BBC, to news outlets like CNN and Al Jazeera, with lots of other international and specialist channels as well.
Sky Entertainment Extra
For an additional £5 a month you can step up to the Entertainment Extra package, which contains an extra 51 channels. These extra channels include; Discovery, Disney XD and Sky Sports News.
Again, you’ll also get all of Freeview’s digital channels and Sky’s other free-to-air offerings.
As well as your basic package, there are lots of tempting extras you can take;
- HD Channels
Sky Movies can be added to your package for £16 a month. For this you get 12 dedicated film channels, showing 100’s of different movies of all genres, every week.
As well as Sky’s movie channels (which include the dedicated Comedy, Action, Family, Crime, Horror, Sci-Fi, Classics, Modern Greats and Romance channels) you also get Sky Premiere, which airs 5 new films for the first time every week, and Disney’s Cinemagic channel.
Sky has exclusive coverage of some of the most important sporting events in the world and, as a result, their sports package is immensely popular. For £20 month you get 5 dedicated sports channels; Sky Sports 1-4, plus Sky Sports News.
If you have the Movies package already, you can add the Sports channels for just £12 a month.
You can also add ESPN to the pack for an additional £9 a month.
For £6 a month you can take Manchester United’s dedicated channel, MUTV, or if you’re a fan of the blues, you can have Chelsea TV for the same price.
(You do not need to take the Sports package to get the non-Sky sports channels , you can simply add them to your basic package. However, if you do this, ESPN will cost £12 a month, rather than £9.)
There are over 50 HD channels available through Sky. Each package has a certain number of channels that can also be viewed in HD. You can access these HD versions of channels already included in your other packages by taking the HD package for £10.25 extra a month.
You can see which HD channels you’d get for your money on this page of Sky’s site.
You will receive Sky’s HD+ box for free when you take the HD pack, but remember that, in order to receive HD channels, you will need to have a HD ready TV.
If you like the sound of all the packages described above, you’ll want to consider Sky World. This package costs £63.25 a month and combines Entertainment Extra’s channels with Sky’s five sport channels, their 12 movie channels and their HD versions.
Set Top Box
When you join Sky you will receive their Sky+ set top box free of charge. This box comes with a number of great features. You can record programmes, to help avoid clashes in the TV guide and you can even set your box to automatically record an entire series. As well as this, you can also pause live TV and rewind it back. Perfect if you miss anything!
If you have the HD pack, you will get the Sky HD+ box. This has the same features, but is able to receive HD channels, allowing you to watch shows with 5x greater clarity.
Sky customers also have the option to upgrade to Sky HD+ 1TB box. This box has the same features, but with a much bigger recording capacity. You can store 240 hours of HD and 740 hours of normal TV on it.
For £10.25 extra a month/per a room you can make your Sky services available all over the house. You do however, need to buy a separate set top box for each room you want to watch sky in.
Sky Go allows all Sky customers to watch sky on mobile devices, such as smartphones, i-pads and laptops. Entertainment, Movie and Sports channels can all be seen, depending on your subscription.
Sky also provides broadband and phone services. By talking all three products together you can potentially save on your utility bills. These bundle offers require you to take at least a year’s contract, and you will need to live in an area where it is possible to take a sky phone line.
All of the following bundles include broadband with 20mb download speeds and 2gb monthly usage, free weekend and evening calls to UK landlines, a free Sky+ box (and set up), a wireless router and a £25 voucher for Marks and Spencer’s;
- TV Extra - £25 a month + £12.25 line rental.
- Movie Lover (TV + Sky Movies) - £36 a month + £12.25 line rental.
- Sports Fan (TV Extra + Sky Sports) - £45 a month + £12.25 line rental.
- Sky World - £53 a month + £12.25 line rental.
If you want to make the most of Sky’s HD channels you can go for bundles that include a the HD pack and the Sky+ HD box, as well as the previously mentioned broadband and phone services.
- TV Extra HD - £35.25 a month + £12.25 line rental.
- Sports HD - £50.25 a month + £12.25 line rental.
- Movies HD - £51.25 a month + £12.25 line rental.
There are also bundles that come with more extensive broadband. If you’d like Sky’s Unlimited broadband, which allows you as much monthly usage as you like, you can get it in one the bundles listed below, along with free weekend and evening calls to landlines and 3 months of free internet security;
- Unlimited Broadband + TV Extra - £32.50 a month + £12.25 line rental.
- Unlimited Broadband + TV + Movies - £43.50 a month + £12.25 line rental.
If you have Sky Unlimited broadband, a TV Subscription and a recent Sky + box, then you’ll be able to make use of Sky’s on demand service. Sky Anytime features a huge range of shows, movies (according to your subscription) and series ‘box sets’, all of which you can download and watch whenever you feel like it!
- You can get lots of digital channels for free. Read out guide to Freeview to find out how.
- Learn more about BT’s television services with our guide to BT Vision.
- Our guide to Virgin Media gives you all the information you need if your considering going with Virgin.