Is there a cheaper alternative to Sky?

Sky TV packages will now be feeling the impact of its latest round of price hikes made this June, which have pushed up annual subscriptions by as much as £72.

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The UK’s biggest paid TV broadcaster Sky has over 12 million subscribers in the UK. This means that more than a third of UK households are paying up to £60 per month for their Sky package, and this is on top of the cost of installation.

The biggest additional amount anyone will be asked to pay is £6 a month or £72 a year, though that's understood to affect only a small number of customers. Sky says price increases for individual customers are capped at 8%, and the average increase will be "less than £3 a month".

Then, if you throw in multi-room, high definition (HD) channels and non-packaged sports channels, subscription fees could rise to almost £100 a month – and this still doesn’t get you the latest movies and sporting events, which you’ll need to purchase separately through Sky’s box office channels.

So can you afford it? If you can’t, now is a great time to explore the alternatives.

Why Sky is not your sole option

The good news is things could have moved on since you signed up to Sky and, these days, it might not be your only option. Here’s why:

1. You can get a lot of the channels free elsewhere

Many of the entertainment and terrestrial channels that you watch on Sky are actually available for free with other TV providers, so consider whether it’s worth paying that monthly subscription fee for a handful of programs aired exclusively on Sky’s own entertainment channels such as Sky 1, Sky Living and Sky Atlantic.

2. Sky Movies is not the cheapest, and may not be the best option

Sky offers 12 dedicated movie channels but, if you don’t make full use of them, consider cheaper options such as Netflix, TalkTalk TV, Wuaki and Amazon Prime. You can find out more about the similarities and differences of streaming pages on our dedicated page.
Sky does get the latest releases before online subscription services like these, but they are shown on its pay-per-view Box Office channels which you can still use without a monthly fee for its movie channel package.

You can also rent the latest movie titles online too, before they’re shown on Sky. Remember also that you can even watch movies free on some channels available through FreeView, YouView and Freesat.

3. Free TV services offer enough channels to keep the kids entertained

If you subscribe to Sky purely for the kids, remember that some children’s channels such as CBeebies are available for free and, when combined with the plethora offered by Amazon Prime or Netflix, you should find you have more than enough viewing to keep the kids entertained.

4. It’s not just Sky that you can watch on the move

Sky users benefit from its mobile/tablet app, Sky Go website and Sky+ app on which you can watch live TV, catch up on popular series and program your Sky receiver to record while you’re out and about.

But these benefits are no longer exclusive to Sky. Other TV providers now offer similar apps, as well as being able to access TV on demand services such as iPlayer, 4OD, YouTube and more, directly from your TV.

Many of the entertainment and terrestrial channels that you watch on Sky are actually available for free with other TV providers...

5. Sky Sports isn’t just on Sky

For sport lovers, and particularly football fans it’s likely that you will have no choice but to pay for Sky’s sports channels. However, you can save money by purchasing these through an alternative provider. For example, you could pay the one-off fee for a Top Up TV box and just add the Sky Sports package or buy a NOWTV 24 hour sports pass for £6.99.

6. HD TV is available for free

Sky offers a good range of high definition (HD) channels at an extra cost of £10.00 per month. But some of these channels are available for no monthly subscription with alternative TV providers, so consider if it’s worth paying the extra for the Sky-branded HD channels.

Is Sky the limit?

Although there are a range of options out there, it does appear that the only real way to save money on your monthly TV subscription is to sacrifice channels and/or services – but you may be able to do this without too much pain.

Our helpful streaming comparison page is designed to help you work out which streaming package best suits your viewing preferences. You can also find out the range of prices on offer from each provider, which can also help you work out whether you can do without your Sky subscription.

Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing.

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