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Sky Sports backdoor price hike alert as all channels go HD

All Sky Sports channels will be shown in HD as default from October, the broadcaster has begun telling customers. And while it's yet to give full details of the changes, if you get full Sky Sports, aren't on a promo deal and don't currently watch in HD, your bill may rise by £24/year – even if your TV can only handle standard definition. 

From 1 October, all Sky Sports channels will be broadcast in HD as standard, and as a result, the cost of the full Sky Sports package will increase by £2/month. You'll still be able to watch in standard definition if you've only got a standard definition TV, but you'll have to pay for HD regardless.

If you don't currently have HD and are out of contract (ie, not on a promo deal), you'll see your bill go up in October. If you are still in contract, you won't see any price change until your contract ends – though you'll still get to watch the sports channels in HD from 1 October.

Sky initially didn't give us full details of the shake-up, but it has now clarified that some customers could gain from the changes.This is because the price to get sports channels in HD at the moment is currently an extra £6/mth, and the broadcaster says that those paying this amount can get a £4/mth reduction, so they're paying the same as those that are being upgraded as part of the change.

Sky says it's in the process of writing to affected customers at the moment to explain the changes – but some who've been contacted have already responded angrily and dubbed it a "blatant price rise". 

For top tips on cutting your bills, see our Haggle with Sky guide.

I'm hit by the price rise – can I leave penalty-free?

This price rise only affects Sky Sports viewers who are out of contract immediately – if you're still in contract, your bill WON'T change until your current deal comes to an end. 

Any customer who is out of contract and wishes to cancel penalty-free can do so by giving 30 days' notice, whether or not you're affected by these latest changes. So if you have been hit and are unhappy and want to leave, you can do so. Full instructions on how to do this are on the Sky website, but in brief, you can call it on 03300 413 018 or use the online chat function.

If you're affected but DON'T want to leave Sky, you may be able to use this price rise as valuable haggling ammunition to get a better deal. Check out our Sky Haggling guide for full help on how to do this, but here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Benchmark the best deal elsewhere, so you ask for a realistic discount.
  • Get through to the retentions (sometimes called disconnections) department. They have the most power to slash costs, as their job is to keep you.
  • Use charm and be friendly. Aggression or anger will just put their back up.
  • Don't panic if they call your bluff and say they'll disconnect you.
  • Problems mean discounts, so if you've had issues with Sky in the past – eg, slow broadband – politely tell it when you haggle.

'This is just a blatant price hike'

We've seen a number of complaints from Sky Sports customers who say they don't want to  watch in HD and believe the change is essentially a price hike.

Sky Sports customer Justin, from Merseyside, told us: "I think this stinks. I'm happy watching sports channels in normal vision so this is just a blatant price hike. I'm a pensioner so every pound counts."

And here are some of the similar complaints we've seen on social media:

I pay £6/mth to upgrade to HD – will my bills be cut?

Currently Sky Sports charges an extra £6/mth for HD.

Sky says if you pay £6/mth currently, you'll be able to get a reduction of £4/ you pay the same as those who have just been upgraded. 

To do this, you need to contact Sky and ask. Full details on how you can do this can be found on Sky's website.

What if I watch Sky Sports but don't get every channel?

Sky has told us that the standard prices for individual channels will be £18/mth for one sports channel or £22/mth for two. Sky says this mirrors the price that you pay for individual sports channels at the moment.

If you believe you are paying extra for HD, you should contact Sky and ask for a reduction in your costs.

I watch Sky Sports on another provider – am I affected?

Sky says that customers who get Sky Sports through an external provider will not see their prices go up as a result of the changes.

But if you want to know if your service will be upgraded to HD, it says you'll have to go to your provider directly.

What does Sky say?

A Sky spokesperson said: "We want to make sure we are offering customers the best possible viewing experience and so from 1 October, we will be offering Sky Sports in HD as standard.

"Customers who don't currently have an HD box can upgrade free of charge."

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