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Basic Guide to Sky TV

Now very much a British institution in terms of television, Sky TV has been around since the late 80s. 

It has gone from strength to strength, going from four channels back then to being the UK’s premium home for films and sport, as well as being a serious player in both the news and television markets. It is now being watched in more than 10 million homes.

It has also embraced broadband, becoming one of the three biggest internet providers in the UK - you can even get many Sky TV services without having a satellite dish now, thanks to Sky Go. But what are your options in terms of television deals?

The basics

If you opt for a Sky television package, an engineer will come out to your home and fit a Sky dish (you may already have one, especially if you live in a block of flats or apartments). If you also take a broadband package, this will use your standard BT telephone line.

You’ll also receive a Sky box (see below) and a viewing card, which slots into the box and holds the details of what channels you’re paying for (so they’ll be unlocked once your service is up and running). Once successfully installed, you’ll be good to go.

There’s a whole host of television options to choose from, starting from around £20 per month. You won’t get the latest films and sport at this price, but you do get the benefit of fantastic Sky standards such as Sky+, catch up and more than 35 Sky Entertainment channels you won’t find for free elsewhere.

Why Sky?

Once up and running, you’ll have access to a fantastic array of television entertainment. The top Sky Entertainment Extra+ service, for example, has more than 80 Sky entertainment channels, plus another 240 free-to-air channels.

So why bother, when Freeview has a huge array and is free? Two obvious answers are movies and sport (if you want more on those, click the links), but exclusive channels such as Atlantic and Sky1 HD are also hugely popular (see our channel guide for more on those).

It’s impossible to ignore the impact Sky has had on how quickly we get the best US drama and films onto our screens, not to mention what it has done for football, cricket and rugby - the three most popular sports in the UK. And when you add the best of world sport to that list, you’re talking about a serious worldwide TV player.

Dish of the day: Which Sky box to choose?

As long as you’re happy to have a Sky dish at your home, the whole range of Sky’s television services will become available to you via your Sky Box. 

In fact, once you’ve decided to take the plunge, your next decision is which type of ‘box’ to get (if you need more details on particular features, see our guide to Sky’s additional features such as ‘on demand’ catch up):

  • Sky+ HD box: Features Series Link; the ability to pause and rewind ‘live’ TV; and you can record two channels at once. You also get access to 45 HD channels, Entertainment Extra+ services, 185 hours of space for TV recordings and catch-up and on-demand services.
  • Sky+ HD 2TB box: This one is for the serious TV hoarders, offering 1,180 hours standard TV recording and 350 hours of HD/3D TV space too.
  • Sky HD Multiroom box: Free with Sky Multiroom packages, these extra boxes let you enjoy HD and 3D TV content away from your main television (including all Sky Guide features, except the ‘new’ Sky Guide).

(Note: All of them are essentially 3D boxes, although you’ll need a Entertainment Extra+ package, which you can find out more about in our Sky channels guide).

All Sky TV boxes also include the Sky Planner and TV guide, which includes parental controls, interactive services and show reminders.

Visit the Sky Shop

More reasons to choose Sky TV

In recent years Sky has truly become an all-round television and broadband provider, offering a host of additional services that have seen it leading the way in UK home entertainment. 

For more details on these, check out the links below:

  • Sky on the move and internet extras: Here we look further into Sky’s internet and mobile add ons, such as Sky Go, Wireless, WiFi, Mobile and Remote Record.
  • Additional Sky features: Looking for more on TV services such as My Sky, On Demand catch Up, Pay Per View, the Sky Store, or Sky Player? Look no further.

As it did with sport and films in the UK, Sky is leading the way with remote and internet access to television services hee too. If you’re wavering about its value, and are a serious TV-aholic, then these extra services may well swing you to the Sky cause.

Upgrades and switching

If you’re either looking to switch to (or from Sky), or are looking to upgrade your current Sky Television and/or broadband, head here to compare the latest deals and offers for both new and existing customers.