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Student Accommodation

Best digital TV package deals 2019

For the times when you're binging TV shows to avoid uni work (those essays can wait, right?!), it's super important to get the best deals on subscription packages. Here are our top picks...

Happy woman beside yellow tv

Credit: jamesteohart (background), WAYHOME studio (foreground) – Shutterstock

With the rise of online streaming services, the cost of paid TV subscriptions has dropped hugely. Whether you're into your sport, movies or boxset binges, paying for live TV channels is still really popular (especially in shared student houses).

We've reviewed and compared the best TV package deals currently available, shown below. And, as an added bonus, we'll also throw in a few money-saving tips along the way 😉

For the best value, most of the TV packages here are bundled with broadband. If you have an existing broadband contract you can usually go TV only by browsing the provider's website.

TV and broadband packages

Compare TV package deals

ProviderBroadbandContractEffective Monthly CostWebsite
Virgin Media
Virgin Media Big Bundle
108 Mbps
FIBRE
12
months
£31.75
Inc. fees & reward
Visit » £50 VOUCHER
Sky TV
Sky Entertainment
11 Mbps
(Costs extra)
18
months
£23.11 Inc. fees Visit »
TalkTalk logo
TalkTalk Fast Broadband + TV
11 Mbps 18
months
£31.95 Inc. fees Visit »
BT TV bundle
BT Classic Starter Bundle
10Mbps
18
months
£36.12 Inc. fees & reward Visit » £30 REWARD

Digital TV package reviews

Virgin Media

Virgin Media

The Big Bundle

EXCLUSIVE! We’ve secured you a £50 voucher with this offer making it a no brainer.

Also, if you’re only planning to stay in your house for one year, you’ll want a package that’s for 12 months, rather than 18. Considering the huge broadband speed of 108 Mbps and the 100+ channels, this one from Virgin’s a great deal.

Get this deal »

Package details

  • Channels: 110+
  • TV box: Record, pause and rewind
  • Average broadband speed: 108 Mbps 😮
  • Contract: 12 months
  • Reward: £50 restaurant choice voucher
  • Extra: 110+ TV channels, smart TV box + Talk Weekends calls
  • Advertised cost: £33pm
  • Effective cost: £31.75pm (see below)
  • Lifetime cost: £381

Effective cost breakdown

  • TV & broadband for 12 months: £396
  • Upfront costs: £35
  • Calculation: (£396 + £35 – £50) / 12 = £31.75pm

Visit Virgin TV »

↑ Comparison table

 

Sky TV

Sky TV

Sky Entertainment

This package offers more channels than other providers, and the Sky Q box allows syncing with devices. Choice of add-on packages inc. Sports, Cinema, HD. The broadband bundle’s optional.

Get this deal »

Package details

  • Channels: 300+
  • TV box: Record (1Tb), pause/rewind, sync
  • Contract: 18 months
  • Advertised cost: £22pm
  • Effective cost: £23.11pm
  • Lifetime cost: £416

Effective cost breakdown

  • TV for 18 months: £396
  • Upfront costs: £20
  • Calculation: (£396 + £20) / 18 = £23.11pm

Visit Sky »

↑ Comparison table

 

TalkTalk TV green logo

TalkTalk

TalkTalk TV, broadband and entertainment boost

This has 30 extra entertainment channels (inc. Sky) beamed from a smart recording TV box. Broadband’s included.

Get this deal »

Package details

  • Channels: 80+
  • TV box: Record (180hrs), pause/rewind
  • Average broadband speed: 11 Mbps
  • Contract: 18 months
  • Advertised cost: £31.95pm
  • Effective cost: £31.95pm (see below)
  • Lifetime cost: £575.10

Effective cost breakdown

  • TV & broadband for 18 months: £575.10
  • Upfront costs: £0
  • Calculation: £575.10 / 18 = £31.95

Visit TalkTalk »

↑ Comparison table

BT TV

BT TV

Classic Starter Bundle

This is a good choice if you want BT Sport, but otherwise Virgin Media on a shorter contract would be better value as a fibre bundle. And, although it’s not the fastest broadband, BT guarantee that if it’s not the speed they promise, they’ll give you £20 back.

Get this deal »

Package details

  • Channels: 80
  • TV box: Record, pause/rewind
  • Average broadband speed: 10 Mbps
  • Contract: 18 months
  • Reward: £30 prepaid card
  • Advertised cost: £34.99pm
  • Effective cost: £36.12pm (see below)
  • Lifetime cost: £649.81

Effective cost breakdown

  • TV & broadband for 18 months: £629.82
  • Upfront costs: £49.99
  • Calculation: (£629.82 + £49.99 – £30) / 18 = £36.12pm

Visit BT »

↑ Comparison table

Is it worth getting a paid TV subscription?

Mary and Giles from Gogglebox

Credit: Channel 4

Most recent TVs will already have Freeview channels included – but if you have an older tele, you can get a Freeview box on Amazon. With Freeview, you can access over 70 channels – including HD – and the boxes can be bought for around £20. After that viewing is free (hence the name…).

If it’s movies you’re into, online streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime (get six months free here) may satisfy your cravings for less money.

But if you have specific interests, such as live sport or Disney boxsets, paying for a TV subscription can open you up to over 300 live channels. Just review all the channels you’re getting before committing to a lengthy contract and weigh up the value for you.

Do you need to pay for a TV Licence?

The answer is probably. Even though you’re paying a monthly subscription for your TV package, this doesn’t include the cost of a TV Licence. You’ll likely need to buy this separately.

They cost around £150 for the year and can be bought online. If you have a licence but don’t watch live TV during the summer months, you can apply for a refund.

But, if you’re savvy, you might not actually need one based on this TV Licence loophole.

How does installation work?

remote control pointed at tv

Credit: Concept Photo – Shutterstock

Getting set up with a TV package is usually quite easy. After confirming they can supply your address, your provider will send you a set-top box that you can connect to your TV.

However, if your house hasn’t had cable or satellite services before, installation can be more complex, often requiring an engineer to visit for an extra cost. You also need to get permission from your landlord!

After installation, you’ll pay the advertised monthly fee for the length of the contract. If you find you’re not watching all the channels, you can sometimes rework the contract.

How to get cheaper TV contracts

Four friends watching tv together

Credit: bbernard – Shutterstock

Here’s a handful of quick ideas to save money on your paid TV services:

  • Only sign up for the channels you need
  • Pay upfront
  • Select paperless billing
  • Bundle with broadband and line rental
  • Watch out for price hikes (switch!)
  • Always haggle at the end of the contract
  • Seek out hidden charges when comparing (think about the ‘effective monthly cost’).
Moving out soon? Find out how to get your full deposit back here.
You can cut down your monthly bills even further by finding the best deals on energy and gas suppliers – have a read of our guide to find out how.

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