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Digital TV Deals

Best digital TV offers

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Weleid | Edited by Martin

Updated Weekly

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, with best buys, will help you slash the cost.

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 4,000 MoneySavers to see where hagglers had most success, and they reported at least 75% success rates with these 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.

  • Benchmark 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. These packages often include broadband as well, but to benchmark 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.

  • Be 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.

  • Get put through to 'retentions'

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

  • Don'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."

  • If you fail, try again

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

Best buysFor 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 if you see one you like, grab it while you can.

Sky

33% off Sky Q TV packages*

£20 set-up fee applies

Newbies (anyone who hasn't had a Sky service in the last 12 months) can can sign up to one of Sky TV's* packages and get 33% off all of them, but you pay full price for extra boxes and installtion. Like all Sky newbies you'll also get the new-ish Sky Q box.

Here's a quick breakdown of the deals:

Sky Q TV packages & deals. You can choose any of the following Sky packages on a 18-month contract.
  • Original bundle. Includes 270 channels, incl Sky Atlantic, Sky 1, Fox and Good Food. Reduced from £22/mth to £14.74/mth.

  • Variety bundle. The Original bundle plus entertainment, music and kids' channels. Reduced from £32/mth to £21.44/mth.

  • Box Sets bundle. Formerly the Family bundle, this includes the Variety bundle, Sky Box Sets, HD and 3D versions of included channels. Reduced from £38/mth to £25.46/mth.

  • Cinema bundle. The Original bundle plus 11 movie channels and over 1,000 movies on demand. Reduced from £40/mth to £26.80/mth.

  • Sports bundle. The Original bundle plus seven sports channels: Sky Sports 1-5, Sky Sports News and Sky Sports F1. Reduced from £49.50/mth to £33.17.

  • Complete bundle. Everything above, plus box sets on demand and Sky 3D. Reduced from £80/mth to £55.58/mth (this bundle also includes the HD upgrade for Sports and Movie channels).

You get a 1TB Sky Q box as standard BUT you have to pay £20 installation. £199 installation for a 2TB box (£60 with Multiscreen) – What is Sky Q? Discounted but beatable unlimited fibre broadband & line rent from £25/mth for 18mths – not compulsory. You don't need to take Sky broadband with this deal but if you want to unlimited fibre broadband and line you'll pay costs £25/mth for 18mths, instead of the usual £38.99/mth. It's beatable on price from other providers (see our Cheap Broadband guide) but it's the cheapest way to get Sky fibre at the moment, and each Sky Q box acts as a signal booster for the new Sky Q router only.
More information

What if I left Sky less than 12 months ago?

Want to know more about Sky Q?

Virgin Media

Virgin Media TV, fibre b'band & line rental equiv £31/mth*

Or paid monthly it's £32/mth + £20 upfront

New customers who sign up for Virgin Media's Player Bundle* can get TV, unlimited FAST broadband at up-to-100Mb speeds (6x faster than standard speeds), and line rental with weekend calls on a 12-month contract.

The offer is available to 50% of the UK (you're told if eligible when applying). Here's what you get:

  • Pay line rental upfront to get this cheapest. Call Virgin on 0800 211 8165 shortly after signing up, and ask to pay £196 for a year's line rental. Crucially, you need to phone to do this before installation.

  • Pay monthly and it's £19 line rental. Whether you pay monthly or upfront, you also get weekend calls included to UK landlines and Virgin Mobile numbers – these are max 60 mins (hang up and redial at this point).

  • Activation is £20. This fee is unavoidable.

  • Up-to-100Mb broadband and basic TV for £13/mth. After the 12-month contract, it's £45/mth. With the TV, you get a 500GB TiVo set-top box and 70+ channels, though many of these are available on Freeview. Bigger and pricier TV packages are available – see full details

- Cost analysis. Pay upfront for line rental and take basic TV, and the bundle cost (including activation fee) is £372 over the 12-month contract, excluding calls, equivalent to £31/mth. If you pay line rental monthly, it's £404, equivalent to £33.67/mth.

- Anything else? Regular cashback site users may be able to get more cashback. Always check it's exactly the same deal though, and remember the cashback isn't 100% guaranteed until it's in your account.

- Can it put prices up? Sadly, telecoms firms often do but you'd probably be able to leave penalty-free if that happens.

More information about the Virgin TV deal

BT

BT TV, fibre & line rent equiv £40.99/mth, £75 card + £30 vch*

£59.99 to pay upfront

Until Thu 29 June, BT newbies can get the Entertainment Plus + Unlimited BT Infinity 1 + Weekend Calls* TV and up-to-52Mb fibre broadband bundle, which comes with a decent number of channels. You'll need to click on see packages at the bottom of the middle column.

On a 12-month contract, it also includes weekend calls and gives access to all BT Sport channels.

  • BT TV Entertainment Plus, fibre broadband and line rental monthly. It's £35.99 for 12 months, then £57.49/mth after. See full details
  • £59.99 set-up fee. Includes router p&p cost.
  • Free phone line. If you need a new phone line (eg, if you don't have one or you're switching from cable), it'll be installed free. Weekend calls are also included.
  • BT Sport. BT TV customers get access to the full range of BT Sport channels, which have coverage of some Premier League and all Champions League games. It's free until 31 July, £3.50/mth from Aug. If you want HD it's free for three months, then £5/mth.
  • You can claim a £75 prepaid Mastercard and £30 Amazon voucher. Annoyingly BT won't remind you to claim, so diarise to use this Mastercard claim link. You've up to three months to claim after activation – it may take up to 45 days. Note: We are aware some people on past BT deals are struggling to claim their rewards. There may be a delay to your Mastercard but we’re pushing BT to get this sorted. See below for full info. The Amazon voucher should be sent automatically within 90 days of signing up.

The total cost of the bundle set-up and router is £491.87, equivalent to £40.99/mth before calls.

If you claim the £75 Mastercard and you'd spend the £30 Amazon voucher, factor them in and the total cost is £386.87 for the year, equivalent to £32.24/mth before calls.

More information

How do I claim the prepaid Mastercard and voucher/cashback?

TalkTalk

TalkTalk TV, b'band & line rent equiv £25/mth

Nothing to pay upfront

Since it was hit by a high-profile hack in last year, TalkTalk's been doing its best to attract new customers with competitive deals like this one. It's vowed to improve package flexibility and make new and existing customer offers uniform. Though whether people will trust it after the brand damage is yet to be seen.

New and existing TalkTalk customers can get its Plus TV* bundle on an 12-month contract. It includes six Sky channels, and plenty of on demand content.

Here's how the deal breaks down:

  • All-in broadband, Plus TV and line rental. It's £25/mth for all three, after the 12-month contract this'll rise to £37.50 unless you ask to move onto another promo deal. See full details
  • You get a 'free' router & TV box. This is compulsory but free with this deal.
  • Need a new line? If you don't have a line or only have a cable one (or in a few cases other lines), installation is free.
  • Optional free Sim. This deal includes a free Sim which comes with 200 minutes, unlimited texts and 500 MB of data per month on a 30-day rolling contract. Any extra calls, texts or data charges will be on top of your monthly TV, broadband and line rental costs.

Add up the upfront costs, broadband, TV, line rental. it's £300 all-in over the 12-month contract, or £25/mth.

More information

Cashback sites may pay you for signing up

As an extra boon, members of specialist cashback websites can be paid when they sign up for some products. Do check that it's exactly the same deal though, as terms can be different. And remember the cashback is never 100% guaranteed until it's in your account.

Full help to take advantage of this  and pros & cons in our Top Cashback Sites guide.

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, Freeview may be the best option.

If you've a fairly new TV, it'll probably have basic Freeview built in to it, giving you over 60 permanent channels and 15 HD channels. (If it doesn't and you want Freeview, basic boxes start from around £10.)

Some people can't get Freeview because of their location (check on the Freeview website) 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 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 YouView+ box. These start at around £90 for a box with 500GB of memory (records up to 250 hours of TV).

Use our MegaShopBot to compare prices, but here's our top pick (prices are correct as of 19 April 2017).

BT YouView+: Cheap HD recorder – £89*

Cheapest we can find allowing you to record in HD but it's a refurb

The BT YouView+* box has great user reviews and is the cheapest HD box we can find. It's currently priced at £89 via Amazon (other HD boxes cost more, with some running well into £100s).

However, it's this cheap because it's a refurbished box, meaning it's pre-owned but has been certified and tested by BT. It may not come in the original packaging but is covered by a one-year warranty.

It comes with a 500GB hard drive and allows you to record two channels at the same time, or watch one and record another. It allows you to store up to 125 hours of HD recordings or 300 hours of standard recordings.

You'll also need an HD TV to watch HD channels – decent HD TVs start at £100 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 and 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 his TV programmes, Martin heard from one family that followed this step-by-step technique and 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 deal?

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 ad-blocking 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.

Warning: This is an archive so this deal is no longer available.

Sky: TV, Line rental and broadband deals

How to complain about your TV provider

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. Common problems include installation dates not being met, limited service, incorrect billing and more. It's always worth trying to call your provider first, but if not, then…

Free tool if you're having a problem

This tool helps you draft your complaint and manage it too. It's totally free, and offered by a firm called Resolver which we like so much we work with to help people get complaints justice.

If the complaint isn't resolved, Resolver can escalate it to the free Ombudsman Services (or CISAS if you're complaining about Virgin Media).

Important: if your issue is about a voucher or incentive that was part of an MSE Blagged deal, then instead just let us know by emailing voucherhelp@moneysavingexpert.com as that's usually quicker.

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