What are TV and internet deals?
An internet and TV bundle combines your broadband and television services (and usually a landline too), so they are handled by one company and all paid for with one monthly fee.
If you’ve been shopping around for a new provider in an effort to save money, one of the best options is to choose an internet and TV bundle. At the high end, you’ll find unlimited downloads and all the sport and film channels you’d ever want; while if you’re looking to save by getting the basics and combining your bills into one service, TV and internet deals can also be the best way forward.
Which providers offer broadband and TV?
You’ll find all the four biggest home broadband service providers (BT, Sky, Virgin Media and TalkTalk) have the option of signing up for internet and TV bundles, along with a few others, so there’s lots of choice.
- BT: Affordable TV service with Freeview, free AMC and BT Sport on some packages, and optional premium channels. Unlimited fibre internet up to an average 67Mb.
- NOW TV: Great value flexible internet and TV bundles, including one-month contract options. Access Sky TV channels without a satellite dish. Add sports, movies, entertainment and kids TV channel bundles without signing up to a long contract.
- Sky: Huge selection of channels with optional add-on packs for movies, sports, entertainment and much more. Fibre internet up to an average 63Mb. Requires a satellite dish and phone line.
- TalkTalk: Low-budget TV bundles with unlimited internet. Some packages include a Freeview TV box with no additional running costs, or add premium entertainment channels for a small monthly fee. Optional extra channels can be purchased on a flexible rolling monthly contract. As with Sky, BT and Virgin Media, TalkTalk also occasionally offer flexible student internet deals.
- Virgin Media: Like Sky, Virgin has hundreds of channels, but also offers very fast internet with top speeds over 500Mb, and an option for internet without a phone. Only available in Virgin network areas.
What kind of TV deal can I get with broadband?
There are various kinds of TV packages you’ll find bundled with broadband. It’s important to understand the differences between the types of TV services, because as well the cost implications, it will impact what channels and services you can access.
Freeview + optional premium add-ons
BT and TalkTalk both offer broadband and TV bundles with YouView TV boxes. These are Freeview receivers which also include support for streaming TV and premium channels. YouView boxes also provide handy live pause and rewind features, and some models have a hard drive for recording.
With flexible packages and a decent choice of extras on top of the Freeview line-up, these are an excellent middle ground between free broadcast TV and the premium cable and satellite services.
Satellite TV from Sky offers a vast number of channels covering all interests, including the latest hit TV shows and movie premiers. You also get a Sky TV box with recording and streaming access to on-demand content.
But this is at the premium end of the broadband and TV market. While you can choose a basic Sky TV service, the best channels are only available with pricier subscriptions. You will also need to install a satellite dish on your home.
Virgin Media TV is Sky’s direct competition. Like Sky, it provides a dizzying number of channels, plus an on-demand library. But unlike Sky, it doesn’t require a satellite dish. Virgin also offers much faster broadband speeds than most other providers.
However, Virgin is more expensive than some other broadband and TV providers. It is also only available in Virgin network areas (which covers slightly more than 60% of homes around the UK).
If you don’t have or can’t get an antenna or dish, or just aren’t bothered about broadcast TV, then streaming is now a viable alternative. Between paid services such as Netflix and free catch-up from BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Channel 5, there’s more than enough to keep you occupied.
NOW and EE both offer streaming TV and broadband bundles. With EE, you get an Apple TV box that supports catch-up streaming such as iPlayer, as well as a vast library of movies and TV shows to rent or buy from iTunes.
NOW TV and broadband bundles are a little different; NOW offers TV passes (for entertainment, movies, sports, and kids shows) which give access to selected Sky channels on flexible contracts. And NOW TV can be streamed on a wide range of devices, including smart TVs, games consoles, smartphones, and NOW’s own streaming sticks and boxes. Note that you can use the Apple TV box supplied by EE to view NOW TV passes!
Where can I get the best TV channels?
Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and Europa League matches are the main attraction of BT Sport, but it also offers a wealth of other sporting events including UFC, MotoGP and World Rally Championship.
BT Sport is available on the following broadband and TV services:
- BT (BT Sport 1 free for all BT broadband subscribers)
- Sky (BT Sport 1 free for all Sky TV subscribers)
- Virgin Media (does not include BoxNation)
- Plusnet (users have access to BT Sport lite)
Sky Atlantic is a showcase of the very best TV from the states. This Sky channel has exclusive UK rights to HBO and Showtime productions. Some of the series available on Sky Atlantic include Game of Thrones, True Detective, Westworld, Watchmen, Veep, Barry, and Succession.
Sky Atlantic is available on the following broadband and TV services:
- NOW TV
- BT (by adding a NOW TV Entertainment Pass to your package)
Across the 11 Sky Cinema channels, you can find everything from the latest blockbusters to cinematic classics.
Sky Cinema is available on the following broadband and TV services:
- BT (by adding a NOW Sky Cinema pass to your package)
- NOW TV
- Virgin Media
Sky Sports offers the very best in football, golf, cricket, rugby, tennis, F1 and much more. With 11 channels to choose from, there’s something for fans of all sports.
Sky Sports is available on the following broadband and TV services:
- BT (by adding a NOW Sky Sports pass to your package)
- NOW TV
- Virgin Media
Many providers are now offering Netflix as an add-on with packages (in addition to those already providing access to the app through a TV Box). You can get Netflix with the following TV services:
- NOW TV
- Virgin Media
At a glance: where to find the best TV channels
|BT TV||NOW TV||Sky TV||TalkTalk||Virgin Media|
|YES||NO||YES||YES||YES (not BoxNation)|
Can I get broadband, phone and TV in a bundle?
A phone line is usually required for internet access, so the majority of broadband and TV packages will include phone services. You may not get inclusive calls, but every provider offers inclusive call add-ons for an additional fee.
Can I get broadband and TV without a phone line?
Virgin Media is the only major provider who can offer broadband and TV bundles without a phone line. All other packages include phone line rental, and may also come with inclusive calls. Of course, you don’t have to use the phone for calls, but in most cases, an active line is required for the broadband to work.
Read our guide to broadband without a phone line to learn more.
Should I get an internet and TV bundle package?
Not sure if a broadband and TV deal is right for you? Let’s run through some pros and cons to help you decide.
Pros of broadband and TV
- Can be cheaper. It’s often cheaper to get a bundle compared to signing up for each service separately. Add up the cost of both, and see which works out best for you.
- Simplified billing. With broadband and TV (and probably phone, too) you get multiple services paid on one bill for one fixed price.
- Get a free TV box. Many bundles include a free TV box with handy features like recording and integrated streaming. However, there can sometimes be a small fee for postage.
- Most TV packages are flexible. While you are going to have to sign up to a contract for the initial broadband and TV deal, you can add extra channels whenever you like, and remove them for free if they’re no longer required.
Cons of broadband and TV
- Not every service has the same selection of channels. Research the channel line-up before signing on, because not every service offers all the channels you may want.
- You might not be able to keep the TV box, or it might stop working. If you decide to cancel the broadband service your TV box might not offer the same features. And some providers may ask for the TV box to be returned when your contract ends.
- They’re not the cheapest deals. TV and broadband packages do tend to be more expensive. That is because they include more, but if you’re mainly interested in saving money, then you might be better off with a cheap broadband package and Freeview TV.