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Digital TV Deals

Best digital TV offers

Weleid | Edited by Martin

Updated Weekly

At symbolDon't overpay for Sky, Virgin, TalkTalk or BT TV. Existing customers can haggle for £££s off with just a phone call, and new customers can slice chunks off signing up the right way.

Digital TV subscriptions can mount up to £1,000+ if you add up the price over the contract. This step-by-step guide, with best buys, will help you slash the cost.

Haggle down the price

In mature industries such as digital TV, companies grow by tempting customers from other firms, not by grabbing customers new to that market. So just call up, threaten to leave and your existing company will often offer kick-butt discounts.

New customers can still call up companies to haggle, armed with the best deals below, but where this technique comes into its own is for existing, out-of-contract customers.

Before we get into it, here are some successes to show you how easy it is:

Called Sky, told them I was leaving and was put through to retentions. They kept me on the same package but reduced it to £30/month, a £180/year saving.

I rang Virgin Media, as I was being charged £38/mth for broadband, TV and phone before call charges. I mentioned a family member had signed up to all three for only £30/mth. It immediately reduced my package by £10/mth.

Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media are easiest to haggle with. We polled 4,000 MoneySavers to see where hagglers had most success, and they reported at least 75% success rates with these three providers. See full results.

How to haggle – step-by-step

We've pulled out the top tips here, but for more see our full Haggle with Sky & more guide.

  • Benchmark the best buys

    The first step is to ensure you know the type of price you should be looking to beat. New, hot customer offers abound on digital TV packages – you should aim for these.

    Note down the best TV buys for the package you want using the best buy deals below. These packages often include broadband as well, but to benchmark broadband prices, see our Cheap Broadband guide for the cheapest bundled and standalone deals.

    Then call your supplier near the time you're due to renew. Quote the best buys and ask for a price match.

  • Be polite and charming

    Don't be aggressive. You've no right to a discount – just a right to leave. Think of it like financial flirting.

    Good haggling is simply an exchange between two people trying to agree on a win/win deal. It should be done with seduction, a gentle patter and a touch of firmness. Aim for polite, firm and non-combative.

    It's rumoured some operators have quotas on the discounts they can give, so make them want to give you a price cut.

  • Get put through to 'retentions'

    If you're coming to the end of your contract, or are out of it, you're wielding a powerful weapon: customer loyalty. Companies desperately want to keep you, so if they believe they'll lose you, you can often get much better deals.

    If you don't get the deal you want from the first person you speak to, tell 'em you're considering leaving. Then you get put through to 'disconnections', which is really 'retentions'. It's this department's job to keep you, and it has more power deals.

  • Don't be forced to disconnect

    If your bluff is called, and the deal isn't good enough, then consider leaving. Yet don't be forced into a corner to disconnect. An easy 'get out of jail free' card is to say: "I need to check with my husband/wife/dog etc first – I'll call you back."

  • If you fail, try again

    Don't assume one setback means a no. Wait a few days and try again. You may have been unlucky – the person you spoke to might have already hit a quota of discount deals, so it's worth trying again. Or maybe you talked to somebody in a bad mood, or perhaps you just didn't use enough of your haggle charm.

Best buysFor new customers

If you're a new customer, or your haggle didn't give you a big enough discount, the current top deals are below. Here, it's all about timing. Offers come and go, so if you see one you like, grab it while you can.

Sky

Sky TV packages + Sky Q box - from £20/mth to £75/mth*

£20 to pay upfront

Newbies (anyone who hasn't had a Sky service in the last 12 months) can can sign up to one of Sky TV's* packages, which you can customise depending on what you like to watch. You'll also get the new-ish Sky Q box as part of the deal.

Here's how it works - all bundles come on an 18-month contract:

  • Choose your Sky Q TV package

    - Original bundle - £20/mth. Includes 270 channels, incl Sky Atlantic, Sky 1 and Fox.
    - Variety bundle - £25/mth. The Original bundle plus entertainment, music and kids' channels. Reduced from £32/mth.
    - Box Sets bundle - £31/mth. This includes the Variety bundle, Sky Box Sets, HD and 3D versions of included channels (formerly called Family bundle). Reduced from £38/mth.
    - Cinema bundle - £30/mth. The Original bundle plus 11 movie channels and over 1,000 movies on demand.
    - Sports bundles - from £38/mth. The Original bundle plus choose from one sports channel for £38/mth, two for £42/mth, three for £46/mth or all ten Sports channels for £47.50/mth
    - Complete bundle - £74.50/mth. Everything above, including box sets on demand and Sky 3D - this bundle also includes the HD upgrade for Sports and Movie channels.


  • You get a 1TB Sky Q box as standard BUT you have to pay £20 installation. £199 installation for a 2TB box (or £65 if you choose Multiscreen) – What is Sky Q?

  • Choose if you want broadband & line rent from Sky. It's £18/mth for 12mths, but isn't compulsory. You can just take a TV package, but if you want unlimited up-to17Mb broadband and line from Sky, it costs £18/mth for 12mths (£28.99/mth after). It's beatable on price from other providers (see our Cheap Broadband guide) but each Sky Q box acts as a signal booster for the new Sky Q router.

More information

What if I left Sky less than 12 months ago?

Virgin Media

Virgin Media TV, fibre b'band & line rental, equiv £29/mth*

Pay £348 over 12mth contract

New customers (those who've not been a customer in the last 12 months) can sign up for Virgin Media's Player Bundle* and get TV, unlimited FAST broadband at up-to-100Mb speeds (6x faster than standard speeds), and line rental with weekend landline calls on a 12-month contract.

The offer is available to 50%+ of the UK – you're told if you're eligible when applying (or use our new tool Broadband Unbundled which only shows deals available in your postcode). Here's how to get it:

  • Broadband and TV's £11/mth. Go for the Player Bundle and you get up-to-100Mb broadband and basic TV for £11/mth over 12 months (£29/mth after). With the TV, you get a 500GB Tivo set-top box, which lets you pause, rewind and record live TV and 70+ channels, though many of these are available on Freeview.

  • Pay phone line rental upfront to get this cheapest. Call Virgin on 0800 064 3840 shortly after signing up, and ask to pay £196 for a year's line rental. Crucially, you need to phone to do this before installation. If you choose to pay line rental monthly it's £19/mth. Whether you pay monthly or upfront, you also get weekend calls included to UK landlines and Virgin Mobile numbers, see other call costs.

  • Activation is £20. This is added to your first bill and is unavoidable.

  • Want to add sports or movies or a bigger choice of channels? See full package options

  • - Cost analysis: If you pay a year's line rent upfront, over the 12-month contract it's £348, equiv £29/mth. Pay line rent monthly and it's equiv to £31.67/mth.

More information about the Virgin TV deal

TalkTalk

TalkTalk TV, b'band & line, from equiv £27/mth

Pay £324 over 12mth contract

This deal from TalkTalk is cheaper than some standard prices for just broadband & line. But the firm's had massive problems. A major 2015 hack saw customers' personal info stolen, and it's got a terrible rep for service - 40% voted it 'poor' in our latest poll (although BT wasn't much better).

We don't think it's proved itself yet, but if you do want it: new and existing TalkTalk* customers can get broadband, line rental and six Sky channels for discounted prices.

Here's how the deal breaks down:

  • TV starter + YouView plus box. It's £6/mth but you can cancel at any time after the first month. What channels you get and TV details
  • Choose either... up-to-17Mb standard broadband, and line rental. It's £18.95/mth for a 12-month contract; after this'll rise to £27 unless you ask to move onto another promo deal.
  • Or... up-to-38Mb fibre broadband, and line rental. This is the usual £33.50 for the contract and after unless you move onto another promo deal.
  • £25 to pay upfront. This covers the router and TV box cost.

- Cost analysis: Factor in the £25 upfront cost and over the 12 months it's equiv £27.04/mth for standard speed broadband and £41.59/mth for fibre. It's also worth adding TalkTalk says the prices are fixed for the 1yr broadband & line contract.

More options and information

BT

BT TV, fibre & line rent, equiv £37/mth*

Pay £767 over 18mth contract & get £100 back

Until Thu 14 Dec, BT newbies can get the Entertainment + Unlimited BT Infinity 1 + Weekend Calls* TV and up-to-52Mb fibre broadband bundle, which comes with a decent number of channels and you can pay a bit extra to access BT Sport. Click on "See packages" at the bottom of the middle column.

It's available to 83% of the UK. It depends on your postcode – you're told when applying (or use our new tool Broadband Unbundled which only shows deals available in your postcode). Annoyingly, the line rental and broadband is on an 18-month contract, with the TV on a 12-month contract.

  • BT TV Entertainment and fibre broadband. TV and broadband costs £23/mth. The TV contract ends after 12 months, you can either cancel it then, or keep it on a rolling contract. BT have told us there's no planned price increase. After the 18-month broadband contract, its cost jumps, though, so TV and broadband would then cost £41/mth. See details
  • BT line rental. It's cheapest to pay £208.80 for line rent upfront for the 12mths (you must opt for this at sign-up), then pay £18.99/mth for the remaining six months of the contract. Pay monthly and it's the usual £18.99/mth.
  • £29.99 set-up fee. Includes activation and router p&p cost.
  • Free phone line installation. If you need a new phone line (eg, if you don't have one or you're switching from cable), it'll be installed free. Weekend calls are also included.
  • BT Sport. It's 'free' for 18mths to get the full range of BT Sport channels, which have coverage of some Premier League and all Champions and Europa League games. HD's free for three months, then costs £5/mth on a 30-day rolling contract.
  • Get £100 on a prepaid Mastercard but you MUST claim it. Annoyingly BT won't remind you, so diarise to use this Mastercard claim link . You've up to three months to claim after activation, it may take up to 45 days to arrive.

- Cost analysis: You pay £766.73 over 18 months before calls if you choose to pay a year's line rental upfront. But claim and use the Mastercard (which is as good as cash where it's accepted) then it's £666.73, equivalent to £37.04/mth. If you pay line rental monthly, then it's equivalent to £43.66/mth.

Cashback sites may pay you for signing up

As an extra boon, members of specialist cashback websites can be paid when they sign up for some products. Do check that it's exactly the same deal though, as terms can be different. And remember the cashback is never 100% guaranteed until it's in your account.

Full help to take advantage of this and pros & cons in our Top Cashback Sites guide.

Get the most out of Freeview

Freeview

Ask yourself: "Do I really need every channel?" If the answer's 'no', and you're not bothered about getting Premier League matches or hundreds of extra channels, Freeview may be the best option.

If you've a fairly new TV, it'll probably have basic Freeview built in to it, giving you over 60 permanent channels and 15 HD channels. (If it doesn't and you want Freeview, basic boxes start from around £10.)

Some people can't get Freeview because of their location (check on the Freeview website) which means you'll need to look at one of the other options. Freeview says 98.5% of people will be able to get it, with channel line-ups dependent on area.

If you want to really get the most out of Freeview though, and be able to record, pause or rewind live TV or record whole series, you'll need a YouView+ box. These start at around £90 for a box with 500GB of memory (records up to 250 hours of TV).

Use our MegaShopBot to compare prices, but here's our top pick (prices are correct as of Oct 2017).

BT YouView+: Cheap HD recorder – £99*

Cheapest we can find allowing you to record in HD but it's a refurb

The BT YouView+* box has great user reviews and is the cheapest HD box we can find. It's currently priced at £99 via Amazon (other HD boxes cost more, with some running well into £100s).

However, it's this cheap because it's a refurbished box, meaning it's pre-owned but has been certified and tested by BT. It may not come in the original packaging but is covered by a one-year warranty.

It comes with a 500GB hard drive and allows you to record two channels at the same time, or watch one and record another. It allows you to store up to 125 hours of HD recordings or 300 hours of standard recordings.

You'll also need an HD TV to watch HD channels – decent HD TVs start at £100 but for more info and deals, see our Cheap HD TVs guide.

How to pick the right package

If you're not sure what extras you want, read these tips on what to watch for:

Only pick the channels you know you'll watch

Moving house imminently? Check if fees apply

Buying a deal with broadband? Check the download speed and limit

Do you want to record programmes?

Do you really need to pay for TV at all?

Switching from Sky/Virgin to Freeview saves many £400+/year, enough to supplement the loss of movie channels with DVD rentals! However, even without ditching, the savings can be huge.

For more details on renting and downloads, read the Watch Movies & TV Online guide.

Problems with getting an MSE Blagged deal?

If you signed up to an MSE Blagged Deal – a best-in-market deal we've negotiated exclusively – which involves you being sent a voucher, we'll always do our best to ensure you get the voucher.

But as we warn above, there can occasionally be problems with the deal tracking. In particular, if you were running ad-blocking software or cookie blockers when you signed up for the deal, or exited your browser while in the process of signing up, this can stop it tracking correctly.

Key tips

  • Many vouchers are supposed to arrive within three months of installation. If it hasn't been that long yet, please be patient.
  • If you're waiting for an email voucher, please do check your spam folder regularly in case it's been diverted there.

If you've satisfied the criteria above and still don't know what's happened to your voucher, please email us at [email protected].

Sky: TV, Line rental and broadband deals

How to complain about your TV provider

If you have a problem with your TV provider and need to complain, contact it and keep a record of the date, what you said and the person you speak to. Common problems include installation dates not being met, limited service, incorrect billing and more. It's always worth trying to call your provider first, but if not, then…

Free tool if you're having a problem

This tool helps you draft your complaint and manage it too. It's totally free, and offered by a firm called Resolver which we like so much we work with to help people get complaints justice.

If the complaint isn't resolved, Resolver can escalate it to the free Ombudsman Services (or CISAS if you're complaining about Virgin Media).

Important: if your issue is about a voucher or incentive that was part of an MSE Blagged deal, then instead just let us know by emailing [email protected] as that's usually quicker.


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