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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.

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.

Sky

Sky TV 25% off packages & £75 bill credit*Applies to all TV bundles incl Sports, Movies and Family

Until Thu 25 Jun, 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. Choose from the following (monthly prices effective from 1 June when Sky hikes prices - until then you'll pay slightly less):

    - 25% off the Original bundle. About 40 channels, incl Sky Atlantic, Sky 1, Fox and Good Food. Reduced from £21.50/mth to £16.13/mth.
    - 25% off the Variety bundle. The Original bundle plus kids' channels. Reduced from £30/mth to £22.50/mth.
    - 25% off the Family bundle. The Original bundle plus kids' channels and HD versions of included channels - you won't need the HD upgrade to view these. Reduced from £36/mth to £27/mth.
    - 25% off the Movies bundle. The Original bundle plus 12 movie channels. Reduced from £38.50/mth to £28.88/mth.
    - 25% off the Sports bundle. The Original bundle plus seven sports channels, including Sky Sports 1-5, Sky Sports News and Sky Sports F1. Reduced from £47/mth to £35.25/mth.
    - 25% off the Complete bundle. Everything above plus box sets on demand and Sky 3D. Reduced from £75.75/mth to £58.13/mth (this bundle also includes the HD upgrade for Sports and Movies channels which isn't discounted).

  • £75 credit. You'll get £75 in credit added to your first bill.
  • Half-price broadband if you take its line rent. With Sky's £16.40/mth line rent, you can opt for a year’s half-price unlimited b'band (£3.75/mth on a 12mth contract) or six months' half-price fibre (£10/mth for 6mths, then £20/mth for rest of the 18mth contract)

    You'll have to pay £6.95 for a router and it's £20 installation if you need a new line (or to change from cable).

Quick questions

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 £25.13/mth* with upfront line rent. Equiv £26.24/mth paid monthly

Until Thu 18 Jun, newbies to TalkTalk can get its Essentials TV* bundle for equivalent to £25.13/mth including upfront line rental, on an 18-month contract (it's equiv £26.24/mth if you pay line rental monthly).

It includes seven Sky channels and the ability to watch Netflix via your TV (though you'll need to subscribe which is an additional £5.99/mth).

  • TV, calls & broadband. It's £7.50/mth for six months, then £10/mth for the remaining 12 months. Details
  • Line rental. It's £16.70/mth so £300.60 over 18 months. When signing up you can choose to pay £180.36 upfront for the first year, then £16.70/mth for the remaining six months - £280.56 in total, equiv to £15.59/mth.
  • You get a 'free' router but delivery is £6.75. This is compulsory.
  • Need a new line? Some customers will have to pay £20.

Assuming you pay for the first year's line rental upfront, then monthly for the remaining six months, it's £452.31 all-in over the 18-month contract for, equivalent to £25.13/mth. Pay line rental monthly for the 18-month contract and it's £472.35, equivalent to £26.24/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 for £12.99/mth for the first 12 months and then £22/mth for the remaining six months, plus line rental.

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 0800 0643840 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 £13.67/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.

  • £9 off TV & b'band for 12 months. Go via the link above and the Big Easy TV and fibre broadband deal is £12.99/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 £9 off for 12 months, bundle price, and line rental paid upfront, it works out at £553.82 over the 18-month contract for new customers, equivalent to £30.77/mth. If you pay for the line rental monthly, it's £593.70 all-in, equivalent to £32.99/mth.

More information

BT

TV, fibre b'band & line rent equiv £32.45/mth* With upfront line rent equiv £34.15/mth paid monthly.

If you want to stick with BT, its TV Entertainment Starter* package (it's the first one on the page) is a competitive bundle for new customers who want a decent number of channels and fibre broadband.

It's on a 12-month contract. Here's what you'll get:

  • BT TV Entertainment and unlimited fibre broadband. £12.50/mth for 12 months. Details
  • Line rental. It's currently £16.99/mth. But if you pay upfront for 12 months, it’s £183.48, equivalent to £15.29/mth.
  • £49 activation 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.

Factoring in the bundle price, line rental paid upfront, set-up fee and router p&p, it works out at £389.43 all-in over the 12-month contract, the equivalent of £32.45/mth. If you pay for the line rental monthly, it's £409.83/mth all-in, equivalent to £34.15/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 £22.63/mth* with upfront line rent. Equiv £23.74/mth paid monthly

Until Thu 18 Jun, existing TalkTalk broadband customers can get its Essentials TV* bundle (including basic TV, calls and unlimited broadband) on a 18-month contract for £22.63/month. You can cut it to £23.74/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 £5/mth for 12 months, then £10/mth for the remaining six months. Details
  • Line rental. It's £16.70/mth so £300.60 over 18 months. When signing up you can choose to pay £180.36 upfront for the first year, then £16.70/mth for the remaining six months - £280.56 in total, equiv 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.

Assuming you pay for a year's line rental upfront, it's £407.31 all-in over the 18-month contract for existing customers, or £22.63/mth equivalent. Pay line rental monthly and it's £427.35 over the 18-month contract or £23.74/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 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 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 2 Apr 2015).

Goodmans

Goodmans: Record 250hrs of TV - £80* one of theCheapest we can find, with 320GB hard drive

This Goodmans* Freeview+ box, currently available for £79.99 from Amazon, is one of 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.

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: Cheap HD recorder - £120 (+£5 p&p)*Cheapest we can find allowing you to record in HD

The cheapest HD box we can find is also from Goodmans* currently priced at £120 (+£4.89 p&p) via Amazon (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, or watch one and record another. 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 provider

The TV industry doesn't have the greatest customer service reputation and while a provider may be good for some, it can be hell for others. Common problems include installation dates not being met, poor service or 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 will help you draft your complaint and then 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 justice from complaints.

Resolver- free TV complaints tool*

If the complaint isn't resolved, Resolver will automatically 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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You shouldn’t notice any difference and the link will never negatively impact the product. Plus the editorial line (the things we write) is NEVER impacted by these links. We aim to look at all available products. If it isn't possible to get an affiliate link for the top deal, it is still included in exactly the same way, just with a non-paying link. For more details, read How This Site Is Financed.

Duplicate links of the * links above for the sake of transparency, but this version doesn't help MoneySavingExpert.com: BT, Simplify Digital, Sky, TalkTalk, Uswitch, Virgin

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