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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, with 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.

  • 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, 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.

  • 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 - 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 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 grab 'em while you can.

Sky

Sky TV 25% off packages & £75 bill credit*

APPLIES TO ALL BUNDLES INCL SPORTS, MOVIES & FAMILY

Until Thu 24 Sept, new Sky* customers (or those who left it 12 months+ ago) can get 25% off a year's contract on all its TV packages (excluding the upgrade to watch Sports and Movies in HD) plus £75 in bill credit. A one-off compulsory £10 set-up fee applies.

Here's a quick breakdown of the deal:

  • 25% off all Sky's TV packages. You can choose any of Sky's packages - see the full list.
  • £75 credit. You'll get £75 in credit added to your first bill.
  • Compulsory £10 set-up fee. Unavoidable whatever package you get - this isn't reduced.
  • 'Free' broadband if you take its line rent. With Sky's £16.40/mth line rent, you can opt for one of its three broadband packages.
More information

Is HD included in the 25% 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?

TalkTalk

TV, b'band & line rent equiv £32.96/mth, get £100 vch*

With upfront line rent. Equiv £34.67/mth paid monthly

Until 11.59pm Thu 3 Sept, newbies to TalkTalk can get its Plus TV* bundle on an 18-month contract. It includes six Sky channels and you also get anytime calls to UK landlines.

Here's how the deal breaks down:

  • TV, calls & broadband. It's £15/mth for 12 months then it's £20 for the remainder of the 18-month contract. See full details
  • Line rental. The cheapest way is to pay £180.36 for a year upfront (rising to £191.16 on 1 Oct, so you're better off doing this sooner rather than later). Alternatively you can pay monthly – it's currently £16.70/mth, but is rising to £17.70/mth on Thu 1 Oct.
  • £100 Love2Shop voucher. Once the broadband's live, the voucher will be posted to you automatically within 28 days. Love2Shop can be used at Argos, Boots, Debenhams, Superdrug etc - see the full Love2Shop list for all retailers. You won't get the voucher if you need a new line installed though.  Read more on how to ENSURE you get the voucher
  • You get a 'free' router but delivery is £6.75. This is compulsory.
  • 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 but you WON'T get the voucher. It'll tell you before you commit.
  • Optional 'Unlimited' Sim. It includes a free Sim but if you're looking for a new plan for your phone, TalkTalk has just launched a top value plan just for its broadband customers with unlimited minutes, texts and data (3G only) for £12/month on a 30-day contract. This would be on top of your monthly TV, broadband and line rental costs and is optional.

Assuming you pay for a year's line rental upfront, it's £593.31 all-in over the 18-month contract, or £32.96/mth equivalent. Pay line rental monthly, including one month at the current rate and 17 months at the increased rate post 1 Oct, and it's £624.35 over the 18-month contract or £34.67/mth. Plus you get the £100 Love2Shop voucher.

If you were going to spend that at one of the eligible stores anyway, factor it in and it's effectively £493.31 over the 18 months, equivalent to £27.41/mth. If you pay for the line rental monthly, it's £524.35 all-in, equivalent to £29.13/mth.

More information

Virgin Media

TV, fibre b'band & line rental equiv £30.77/mth*

With upfront line rent. Equiv £32.99/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 plus line rental on an 18-month contract.

Here's how the offer stacks up:

  • Virgin Media TV, broadband and line rent with calls. See full 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 0800 064 3840 after signing up via the above link, you can pay £164 for a year upfront. Crucially you need to phone to do this before installation. If you pay upfront it works out equivalent to £13.67/mth for the first 12 months, then £16.99/mth for the remaining six. 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.

  • £12 off for 9 months. Go via the link above and the Big Easy TV and fibre broadband deal is £10/mth for the first nine months, then £22/mth for the remaining nine months.

  • Set-up is free. This includes if you need a new line installed (if you've a BT line you will do).

Factoring in the bundle price and line rental paid upfront, it works out at £553.94 over the 18-month contract for new customers, equivalent to £30.77/mth. If you pay for the line rental monthly, it's £593.82 all-in, equivalent to £32.99/mth.

More information

BT

TV, fibre & line rent equiv £38.79/mth, get £50 vch*

EQUIV £41.40/MTH IF PAID MONTHLY

BT's Entertainment Plus + Unlimited BT Infinity 1 + Weekend calls* package (click the 'Entertainment Plus' tab and it's the second deal down on the page) is a competitive bundle for new customers who want a decent number of channels and fibre broadband. Plus you get £50 Sainsburys voucher to spend in-store only.

It also includes weekend calls and gives access to all BT Sport Channels. It's a 12-month contract - here's what you'll get:

  • BT TV Entertainment Plus and fibre broadband. It's £17.50/mth for 12 months. See full details
  • Line rental. The cheapest way is to pay £183.48 for a year upfront (rising to £194.28 on 20 Sept, so you're better off doing this sooner rather than later), and then pay £17.70/mth for the remaining six months. Alternatively you can pay monthly - it's currently £16.99/mth, but is rising to £17.99/mth on Sun 20 Sept.
  • £35 set-up fee. There is also a £6.95 router p&p cost.
  • Free phone line. If you need a new phone line (ie if you don't have one or you're switching from cable), it'll be installed free.
  • £50 Sainsbury's in-store voucher BUT you must claim it. Frustratingly, you need to register for this via an online form (bookmark this link) after the broadband's activated. It's then posted within 30 days so diarise carefully.
  • 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.

Factoring in the bundle price, line rental paid upfront, set-up fee and router p&p, it works out at £435.43 excluding calls over the 12-month contract, the equivalent of £36.29/mth. If you pay for the line rental monthly, including one month at the current rate and 17 months at the increased rate post 1 Oct, it's £467.83 all-in, equivalent to £38.99/mth.

Plus you get the £50 Sainsbury's voucher. If you were going to spend in-store at Sainsbury's anyway, factor it in and it's £385.43, equivalent to £32.12/mth if you pay line rent upfront. Pay line rent monthly and it's £417.83 over the 12-month contract, equivalent to £34.82/mth.

More information

Best buysFor 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.

Talk Talk

TV, b'band & line rental equiv £31.30/mth*

with upfront line rent. Equiv £33.02mth paid monthly

Until Mon 28 Sept, existing TalkTalk TV customers can get its Plus TV* bundle on an 18-month contract. It includes six Sky channels and the ability to watch Netflix via your TV (though you'll need to subscribe which is an additional £5.99/mth). Plus, you get anytime calls to UK landlines with this deal.

Here's how it stacks up:

  • TV, calls & broadband. It's £15/mth for 18 months (it rises to £20/mth after that). See full details
  • Line rental. The cheapest way is to pay £183.48 for a year upfront (rising to £194.28 on 20 Sept, so you're better off doing this sooner rather than later), and then pay £17.70/mth for the remaining six months. Alternatively you can pay monthly – it's currently £16.70/mth, but is rising to £17.70/mth on Sun 20 Sept.
  • You get a 'free' router but delivery is £6.75. This is compulsory.
  • Need a new line? It's free with this deal.

Assuming you pay for a year's line rental upfront, it's £563.31 all-in over the 18-month contract for existing customers, or £31.30/mth equivalent. Pay line rental monthly, including one month at the current rate and 17 months at the increased rate post 1 Oct, and it's £594.35 over the 18-month contract or £33.02/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, 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 60 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 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 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 28 May 2015).

Goodmans

Goodmans: Record 150hrs of TV - £89*

Cheapest we can find, with 320GB hard drive

The 320GB version of this Goodmans* Freeview+ box, currently available for £89 from Tesco, is the cheapest box 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. 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).

BT Youview+: Cheap HD recorder - £109*

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 £109 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 it 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 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 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 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.

MSE Big Broadband Switch Event: Sky billing issues

We've heard from a few users who signed up to the Sky deal in our recent Big Broadband Switch Event that they've been charged the full price for the TV in their first bill. Sky told us this is a result of Sky TV installation taking place before broadband and phone service.

Sky is aware of this issue and has assured us that it will be refunding customers who have been overcharged so you won't end up paying anything more than the prices we featured when we ran the deal (if you're not sure what they were, see below). Sky's said it will be contacting all affected customers about this but we'll update this page when we find out more.

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

Sky: 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 it 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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