Sky TV is the biggest paid-TV broadcaster in the UK, with more than 11 million subscribers in the country.
If you can’t afford it or are looking for something extra, it’s time to consider the best Sky TV alternatives in the UK and what they have to offer.
A basic subscription to Sky TV starts at £26 per month, plus a £20 setup fee on an 18-month contract. The most basic package includes access to around 100 channels, and you still might end up paying more if you’re looking to watch sports or movies.
Why is Sky TV so expensive? In fairness, Sky TV has a lot to offer, including solid speed and exclusive TV content. Apart from the recent price hike, there are a lot of add-ons that can shoot up your bill.
The BT TV lets users put together their preferred TV lineup and change their packages every month. You can watch up to 94 Freeview channels, as well as Sky Cinema, Max, Sports, Atlantics, and others, if you pick a bundle with a NOW membership (or just add it to your existing package.)
Subscribers have up to 600 recording hours, depending on the subscription plan, an on-screen TV guide, and access to popular apps like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime.
A subscription to BT TV starts at £10 a month for their Essential package (non-flexible), £16 a month for the Entertainment package (flexible), and can go as high as £73 per month for VIP (flexible) bundles with a 24-month contract.
Virgin Media TV is a great alternative to Sky TV in the UK that offers access to, arguably, the fastest broadband available in the country. It has over 230 channels and pretty much every type of TV content that you can think of, from entertainment to sports.
What’s more, the Virgin Media TV set-top box has 4K Ultra HD capacity, a Voice Search function, and access to Netflix and Amazon Prime if you choose to subscribe to the streaming platforms.
Subscription starts at £33 a month for the basic Big Bundle package and goes up to £99 a month for the Ultimate Volt Bundle.
The only downside is you can’t watch Sky Atlantics on Virgin Media TV.
Now TV is Sky’s streaming TV service and one of the cheaper alternatives to Sky TV. It features more than 1000 movies and access to different types of Sky content.
Unlike Sky, which has a standard 18-months contract, Now TV is more flexible and offers bundles that are more specific and tailored to viewers’ preferences.
You can choose between entertainment, sports, and movie bundles, switch them up every month, combine them, and even add boosters to your package to stream across multiple platforms at the same time and watch Full HD.
You can also share your Now TV account for up to 6 devices, which makes it perfect for families.
Subscription prices start from £9.99 a month for an Entertainment membership and up to £33.99 a month for a Sports membership.
TalkTalk TV is only available to broadband subscribers. It offers two TV boxes for access to up to 30 streaming apps, 4K ultra HD, and more than 70 channels. Both boxes allow users to control their TV via Alexa or other Echo devices.
It’s one of the TV providers other than Sky that feature pause, rewind, and record options, as well as access to Now TV and Amazon Prime Video.
A TalkTalk box has a one-off fee of £25, but you’ll also have to pay a minimum of £2 per month and commit to a 30-day subscription period.
A Freeview vs Sky TV head-to-head comparison leans heavily in favour of the former for those who prefer watching movies on demand. With Freeview, there are no monthly costs, no contracts, and you get access to 70 standard channels and 15 HD channels.
The Freeview app is free on iOS and Android mobile devices and offers more than 30,000 hours of TV on demand for free, as well as more than 700 boxsets. If you’re looking to watch from your TV, you can purchase a Freeview set-top box from their website.
Freeset is a free-to-air satellite TV service that has everything from entertainment, movies, and news to sports and radio content. It offers two different 4K TV boxes, one of which allows users to record and pause whatever they’re streaming.
The company doesn’t have subscription plans and carries more than 170 channels, 25 of which are in HD. You also get access to free On-Demand platforms like BBC iPlayer, ITV hub, and YouTube, as well as paid services like Rakuten TV, Amazon Prime Video, and Netflix.
Netflix is one of the most popular alternatives to Sky and Virgin TV when it comes to movies, TV series, and even documentaries.
The streaming giant regularly adds new shows from all over the world, allows you to skip intros and outros, automatically plays new episodes, and you can create a channel for your kids that filters out any inappropriate content. This service is more popular with UK’s young adults than broadcast TV.
The streaming platform offers three subscription plans. The basic plan costs £5.99 for 1 screen, the standard plan goes for £9.99 and 2 screens, and a premium subscription costs £13.99 for streaming on 4 screens at the same time.
Prime Video is an on-demand service that has access to a wide range of classic movies and shows and its own exclusive content.
Unlike Netflix, Amazon charges extra for some titles. You can either rent or purchase content in its media library that doesn’t come free with your membership. If you decide to rent, you have 30 days to start watching the movie/series.
Amazon Prime Video is part of the Amazon Prime subscription, but you can get it as a separate service for £5.99 per month.
Apple TV is the best streaming alternative to Sky TV for Apple users and movie fanatics. Most of the movies/series are Apple’s original TV content, but there’s also an option to rent or buy certain titles.
A subscription to Apple TV costs £4.99 a month, and it’s also available to Apple One members.
If you want access to Sky channels, you can always download Now TV on your Apple TV.
Hayu is the to-go streaming platform for fans of reality TV, entertainment shows, and true crime programmes. It is a niche streaming service, but it’s immensely popular among its target audience.
Subscribing to Hayu costs only £4.99 per month, and you don’t need to commit to a long-term contract. The app is available to both Android and iOS users and is accessible via a browser.
Disney+ is undoubtedly the best streaming service for fans of Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic. Last year, the platform unlocked 75 new series and 270 new movies as part of its Star sub-brand, which hosts more mature content.
The monthly and annual subscriptions cost £7.99 and £79.90, respectively, and you can have up to 7 different profiles under one account. Parents who are worried that their child might get their hands on inappropriate content can set up a two-step parental control system and add an age limit to every profile.
Whether you’re a true sports fan or a movie fanatic, there are plenty of TV and streaming options out there, especially if you think that Sky TV is out of your price range. Depending on your TV priorities, with the range of services available, it’s never been easier to find the best sky TV alternatives in the UK in terms of cost and content.
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