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Digital TV Deals Best digital TV offers

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At symbolDonít 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 2,600 MoneySavers to see where hagglers had most success, and they reported over 70% 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 youíre 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 called '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 isnít good enough, then consider leaving. Yet donít 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 Ė Iíll 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 didnít 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.

SkyTV

Sky TV 50% off + 'free' £50 codes* 10,000 codes available. Newbies get a year's TV half price

We've more codes offering 50% off Sky TV for anyone who's not had Sky for at least 12mths.†These give 50% off a year's TV packages including Sky Sports & Movies (not the HD upgrade) plus £50 to spend via credit on a prepaid Mastercard or a £50 M&S or Tesco voucher†(see how to claim below). There's an unavoidable £10 set-up fee.

You've got until Thu 6 Nov to get a code or until they run out. It must be redeemed via this link* by 11.59pm Thu 6 Nov. Here's what's you get:

50% off TV packages for a year (excl HD)

Get £50 in credit or Tesco/M&S vouchers

PLUS... a year's 'free' broadband if you take Sky Movies and Sky's £16.40/mth line rental


Get your 50% off a year's Sky TV code

Enter your email address and postcode

Email:
Postcode:
Privacy Policy

IMPORTANT INFO - MUST READ:

  • You must get and redeem your code by 11.59pm Thur 6 Nov. If you've claimed a code by Mon 3 Nov but haven't redeemed it via this link* by then, we'll email you a reminder. After that we won't send any more emails about this offer.
  • You must use the specific link above. If you don't, you won't get this deal.
  • Codes can't be passed on or sold. The codes are linked to postcodes.
  • Please ONLY get a code if you'll use it. As there's heavy demand, you'll be denying someone else a code otherwise.
  • This deal doesn't work in conjunction with cashback. Sky says it will not honour cashback on any orders made via a cashback site.

The savings here can be huge. When we ran a similar deal previously, @Syfish16 tweeted: "Thanks, used one of your Sky codes, got more channels for a saving of £360 this year. #legend"

Quick questions:

What counts as a new customer?

Once I've got a code, what packages can I choose from?

Is HD included in the 50% off?

What about line rental, is that included in the deal?

Are channels such as BT Sport/ESPN or other sports channels included?

Can I add any extras?


Virgin Media

TV, fibre b'band & calls equiv £30/mth* With upfront line rent. Equiv £32.66/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 £15/mth for the first 12 months and then £20/mth for the remaining six months.

If you apply by 29 Jan 2015 you'll also get a six-month subscription to online streaming site Netflix, giving you access to shows such as Breaking Bad, Homeland and Sherlock.

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 £144. Line rental's usually £15.99/mth, but if you call 0345 840 7777 after signing up via the above link, you can opt to pay upfront for a year at £144. 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 £15.99/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.

  • £5 off for 12 months. Go via the link above and the Big Easy TV and fibre broadband deal is £15/mth for 12 months (it'll then be £20/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).
  • Six-month Netflix subscription. Both new and existing Netflix subscribers can benefit. If you don't already have Netflix, you'll need to register and provide a unique code which is emailed to you within five working days of your service going live.

    If you're an existing Netflix customer you'll get a six month break from paying the monthly subscription. Log into your Netflix account and enter the code you'll be sent on the Your Account section.

Factoring in the £5 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 £587.82 all-in, equivalent to £32.66/mth.

More information

TalkTalk

TV, b'band & calls equiv £22.22/mth, plus £75 vch* with upfront line rent. Equiv £23.74/mth paid monthly

Newbies to TalkTalk with non-cable phones can get its Essentials TV* bundle for £23.74/mth including line rental on an 18-month contract.

You can cut it to £22.22/mth equivalent if you pay for the line rental upfront for the first year (a £172.20 payment before 1 Dec, £180.36 if you get it after then). Plus, until Thu 6 Nov, you'll also get a £75 Love2Shop voucher (you won't be eligible if you need a new line). Here's how it stacks up:

  • TV, calls & broadband. It's £4.25/mth for the first six months, then £8.50/mth for the remaining 12 months. Details
  • Line rental. It's currently £15.95/mth, rising to £16.70/mth from 1 Dec, so £299.85 over 18 months. When signing up if you choose to pay £172.20/year upfront (rising to £180.36 if you get it after 1 Dec) then £16.70/mth for the remaining six months it's £272.40 - equivalent to £15.13/mth.
  • £75 Love2Shop voucher, spendable at Boots, Argos & over 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).
  • Need a new line? It's free with this deal (usually £20).

Assuming you pay for a year's line rental upfront, it's £399.90 all-in over the 18-month contract for new customers, or £22.22/mth equivalent. Pay line rental monthly and it's £427.35 over the 18-month contract or £23.74/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 £324.90 all-in over 18 months if you pay upfront, equiv to £18.05. If you pay monthly, it's £352.35 all-in over 18 months, equiv to £19.58/mth.

More information

BT

BT TV, b'band & calls equiv £29.54/mth + £75 vch* With upfront line rent. EQUIV £31.32/MTH PAID MONTHLY Plus stream BT Sport free online

BT's also offering a competitive bundle for new customers. Its BT TV Essential* package comes with BT TV, broadband and calls, and is one of the cheapest ways to get BT Sport, though only via BT's free app and online player (you'll need BT's fibre optic broadband to watch it via your TV).

On an 18-month contract, it's £9/mth for six months then £15/mth, for TV and broadband. Plus you'll get a £75 Sainsburyís voucher on top. The offer ends Fri 31 Oct.

What you'll get:

  • BT TV Essentials, broadband and calls. This is £9/mth for six months then £15/mth for the remaining 12 months. Details
  • Line rental. You must take BT line rental. It's usually £15.99/mth or £287.82 over 18 months. When signing up if choose to pay £159.84/year upfront then £15.99 for the remaining six months it's £255.78, equivalent to £14.21/mth.
  • £35 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.

Factoring in the bundle price. line rental paid upfront, set-up fee and router p&p, it works out at £531,73 all-in over the 18-month contract, the equivalent of £29.54/mth. If you pay for the line rental monthly, it's £563.77 all-in, equivalent to £31.32/mth.

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

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 & calls equiv £20.73/mth* With upfront line rent. Equiv £22.33/mth paid monthly

Existing TalkTalk broadband customers can get its Essentials TV* bundle (including basic TV, calls and unlimited broadband) on a 12-month contract for £22.33/month. You can cut it to £20.73/mth equivalent if you pay for the line rental upfront for a year (£172.20 per year).

It's the same deal as the one for new customers above, but on a longer minimum-term contract and without the voucher. Here's how it stacks up:

  • TV, calls & broadband for £4.25/mth for the first six months, £8.50/mth for the remaining 6 months. That's £76.50 for 12 months or £6.38/mth. Full details:
  • Line rental at £15.95/mth or £172.20/year (equiv £14.35/mth). Line rental's usually £15.95/mth, but when signing up, you can choose to pay £172.20 upfront for a year. You can choose to pay a year's line rental upfront again but the price may not be the same.

There's a small risk it could hike monthly costs. See our TalkTalk help section in case that happens.

Assuming you pay for a year's line rental upfront, it's £248.70 all-in for existing customers, the equivalent of £20.73/mth. If you decide to pay line rental monthly it's £267.90 the equivalent price is £22.33/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 29 Oct 2014).

Goodmans

Goodmans: Record 150hrs of TV - £73* Cheapest we can find, with 320GB hard drive

This Goodmans* Freeview+ box, currently available for £72.99 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 150 hours of TV with its 320GB hard drive. Plus it lets you record whole series and pause/rewind live TV.

If 150 hours of TV recording isn't enough for you, there's also a 500GB version, allowing 250 hours of TV recording. It costs slightly more at £99.

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 - £79* Cheapest we can find allowing you to record in HD

The cheapest HD box we can find is also from Goodmans*, currently priced at £79 via Tesco Direct (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.

Echostar

Echostar: Ultra-slim box with HD - £122* HD box with a 500GB hard drive

If you're after an HD box with a little more memory, the ultra-slim Freeview+ box by Echostar*, which we found for £122 through Amazon, ticks the boxes.

It has a 500GB hard drive - so has the capacity for you to record 125 hours in HD, or around 300 hours in standard definition.

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?


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.

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.

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