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Digital TV Deals Best digital TV offers

At symbolDon’t overpay for Sky, Virgin 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, including best buys, will help you slash the cost.

How to 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 7,000 MoneySavers to see where hagglers had most success, and they reported at least 80% success rates with those 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.

1Benchmark 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. If you need 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.

2Be 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.

3Get put through to 'retentions'

If you're coming to the end of your contract, or are out of it, then 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 to do it.

4Don'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."

5If you fail, try again

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

Best buys: For 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 grab 'em while you can.

BT

25% off Sky TV PLUS £75 credit*Applies to all tv bundles incl sports, movies and family

Until Thu 26 Mar, newbies to Sky (or those who left 12+ months ago) can get 25% off any of Sky's* TV packages, including the 'Original', Variety' and 'Sports' bundles (see below for full details) on a 12-month contract. You'll also get £75 in credit applied to your first bill.

Here's a quick breakdown:

  • 25% off all Sky bundles (On a 12-month contract)

  • £75 credit. This will be applied to your first Sky bill. Read more on how to ENSURE you get the credit.
  • Compulsory £10 set-up fee. Sadly this is unavoidable.

The cheapest TV bundle is the 'Original'. If you choose this and factor in the 12-month discount of 25%, the £75 credit and £10 set-up fee, it's £128.56 all-in for a year, equivalent to £10.71/mth.

IMPORTANT: Unfortunately a few people have previously had problems with Sky deals tracking. To prevent that please 1) disable any adblocking software, eg, Adblock, that you have running and 2) ensure you are not blocking cookies.

In the unlikely event there is a problem and the credit doesn't appear on your first bill - or if you've experienced a similar problem with a previous deal - please email skyvouchers@moneysavingexpert.com.

When emailing, please make sure you include the full name of the Sky account holder, order date and connection date, the email address you signed up with, your Sky account number and details of the promotional deal you signed up to. This info will help ensure you get a quick response.

TalkTalk

TV, b'band & line rent equiv £21.63/mth plus £75 vch* with upfront line rent. Equiv £22.74/mth paid monthly

Until Thu 5 Mar newbies to TalkTalk with non-cable phones can get its Essentials TV* bundle for £22.74/mth including line rental on an 18-month contract. You can cut it to £21.63/mth equivalent if you pay for the line rental upfront for the first year. Here's how it stacks up:

Here's how it stacks up:

  • TV, calls & broadband. It's £4.25/mth for 12 months, then £8.50/mth for the remaining six months. Details
  • Line rental. It's 16.70/mth so £300.60 over 18 months When signing up if you choose to pay £180.36 then £16.70/mth for the remaining six months it's £280.56 - equivalent to £15.59/mth.
  • £75Love2Shop voucher, spendable at Boots, Argos & more than 80 other stores. Once the broadband's live, as soon as you log into your TalkTalk account to do anything, the voucher'll be sent (takes up to 28 days). Love2Shop can be used at Argos, Boots, Debenhams, etc.  You WON'T get the voucher if you need a new line installed though, eg, if switching from cable or in rare cases from other landlines (you'll be told during sign-up). Read more on how to ENSURE you get the voucher.
  • You get a router but delivery is £6.75. Includes a compulsory router, but you must pay a one-off fee of £6.75 for delivery.
  • Need a new line? It's free with this deal (usually £20).

Assuming you pay for a year's line rental upfront, it's £389.31 all-in over the 18-month contract for existing customers, or £21.63/mth equivalent. Pay line rental monthly and it's £409.35 over the 18-month contract or £22.74/mth.

Plus you get the £75 Love2Shop voucher. If you were going to spend that at stores like Argos or Debenhams anyway, factor it in and it's £314.31 all-in over 18 months if you pay upfront, equiv to £17.46. If you pay monthly, it's £334.35 all-in over 18 months, equiv to £18.58/mth.

More information

BT

TV, b'band & line rent equiv £25.48/mth + £125 vch* With upfront line rent. equiv £29.15/mth paid monthly. Plus watch BT Sport free online

BT's also offering a competitive bundle for new customers. The BT TV Starter* package comes with BT TV, fibre broadband and calls, and is one of the cheapest ways to get BT Sport.

It's £7.50/mth on a 12-month contract for TV and broadband. Plus you'll get a £125 Sainsbury’s voucher on top.

What you'll get:

  • BT TV Starter and fibre broadband. £7.50/mth over 12 months. Details
  • Line rental. It's currently £16.99/mth. But if you pay upfront for 12 months, it’s £159.84, equivalent to £13.32/mth.
  • £49 set-up fee. There is also a £6.95 router p&p cost.
  • Free phone line. If you need a new phone line, it'll be installed free.
  • £125 Sainsbury's voucher. Sadly, you'll have to claim this. See below for full info. Once claimed, the voucher takes up to 45 days to arrive. See below for more info.

Read more on how to ENSURE you get the voucher.

Factoring in the bundle price. line rental paid upfront, set-up fee and router p&p, it works out at £305.79 all-in over the 12-month contract, the equivalent of £25.48/mth. If you pay for the line rental monthly, it's £349.83 all-in, equivalent to £29.15/mth.

Plus you get the £125 Sainsbury's voucher. If you were going to spend that at Sainsbury's anyway, factor it in and it's £180.79 all-in over 12 months if you pay upfront, equiv to £15.07/mth. If you pay monthly, it's £224.83 all-in over 12 months, equiv to £18.74/mth.

More information (plus how to get the Sainbury's voucher)

Virgin Media

TV, fibre b'band & line rental equiv £30/mth* With upfront line rent. Equiv £32.21/mth paid monthly

New customers who sign up for Virgin Media's Big Easy Bundle* can get TV, fibre broadband and line rent with weekend calls for £16/mth for the first 12 months and then £22/mth for the remaining six months.

Here's how the offer stacks up:

  • Virgin Media TV, broadband and line rent with calls. Details
  • You need line rental - call Virgin to get a year upfront for £164. Line rental's usually £16.99/mth, but if you call 0845 840 7777 after signing up via the above link, you can opt to pay upfront for a year at £164. Crucially you need to phone to do this before installation, otherwise you'll pay more.

    Pay upfront for a year and it effectively works out at the equivalent of £12/mth over 12 months. It'll then be £16.99/mth for the remaining six months. After the first year, if you want to stay with Virgin, it's likely you'll be able to pay upfront for another year, though obviously prices could change.

  • £6 off for 12 months. Go via the link above and the Big Easy TV and fibre broadband deal is £16/mth for 12 months (it'll then be £22/mth for the remaining six months).
  • Installation is free. This includes if you need a new line (which if you've a BT line you will do).

Factoring in the £6 off for 12 months, bundle price, and line rental paid upfront, it works out at £539.94 over the 18-month contract for new customers, equivalent to £30/mth. If you pay for the line rental monthly, it's £679.82 all-in, equivalent to £32.21/mth.

More information

Best buys: For existing customers

Providers usually offer the best deals for new customers, but sometimes run promotions for existing customers too. Otherwise you may have better luck haggling - see our How To Haggle guide for tips on how to blag a better deal.

TalkTalk

TV, b'band & line rental equiv £21.63/mth* with upfront line rent. Equiv £22.74/mth paid monthly

Existing TalkTalk broadband customers can get its Essentials TV* bundle (including basic TV, calls and unlimited broadband) on a 18-month contract for £22.74/month. You can cut it to £21.63/mth equivalent if you pay for the line rental upfront for the first year.

Here's how it stacks up:

  • TV, calls & broadband. It's £4.25/mth for 12 months, then £8.50/mth for the remaining six months. Details
  • Line rental. It's 16.70/mth so £300.60 over 18 months When signing up if you choose to pay £180.36 then £16.70/mth for the remaining six months it's £280.56 - equivalent to £15.59/mth.
  • You get a router but delivery is £6.75. Includes a compulsory router, but you must pay a one-off fee of £6.75 for delivery.
  • Need a new line? It's free with this deal (usually £20).

Assuming you pay for a year's line rental upfront, it's £389.31 all-in over the 18-month contract for existing customers, or £21.63/mth equivalent. Pay line rental monthly and it's £409.35 over the 18-month contract or £22.74/mth.

More information

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 on your TV, Freeview may be the best option.

If you've a fairly new TV, it'll probably have basic Freeview built into it, giving you over 50 permanent channels and 12 HD channels. (If it doesn't and you want Freeview, basic boxes start from £10).

Some people can't get Freeview because of their location (check at Freeview) 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 their 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 Freeview+ box. These start at around £90 for a box with 320GB of memory (records up to 150 hours of TV).

Use our MegaShopBot to compare prices, but here are our top picks (prices are correct as of 02 Mar 2015).

Goodmans

Goodmans: Record 250hrs of TV - £79* Cheapest we can find, with 320GB hard drive

This Goodmans* Freeview+ box, currently available for £79.49 from Amazon, is the cheapest we can find. It's not HD (see below if that's what you'd prefer), but does have sufficient capacity to record over 250 hours of TV with its 500GB hard drive. Plus it lets you record whole series and pause/rewind live TV.

This box is designed to work with standard terrestrial aerials - it won't work with satellite dishes, you'll need a Freesat box for that (similar to Freeview but for satellite dishes).

Goodmans

Goodmans: Cheap HD recorder - £110*Cheapest we can find allowing you to record in HD

The cheapest HD box we can find is also from Goodmans*, currently priced at £110 via Maplin (other HD boxes cost significantly more, with some running into £100s). However user reviews are mixed, so bear that in mind.

It comes with a 320GB hard drive and allows you to record two channels at the same time, plus you can watch another channel while recording something else. It allows you to store up to 80 hours of HD recordings and 200 hours of standard recordings.

You'll need an HD TV to watch HD channels - decent TVs start at £160 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

See the cheapest ways to watch Premier League games

Moving house imminently? Check if fees apply

Buying a deal with broadband? Check the download speed & 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.

While filming one of Martin's TV programmes, one family that followed this step-by-step technique cut its Sky bill from roughly £50/mth to £25/mth, without losing any regularly-watched channels, and through pushing hard on the phone for a better deal. That's £300/year saved.

Problems with getting an MSE Blagged voucher?

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 adblocking 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 voucherhelp@moneysavingexpert.com.

Sky: Line rental and broadband deals

How to complain about a TV deal

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. If that doesn’t work, you can also take your complaint to Ombudsman Services (CISAS if you're complaining about Virgin Media).

One way to do this is to use a free service from a company called Resolver which will manage your complaint and take care of the administration, including escalating it, if necessary.

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