What are the best alternatives to Sky?
Sky is one of the best providers for anyone interested in a premium TV and broadband bundle. But it’s not the only service offering such packages, so while there are lots of good reasons to go with Sky, you’re not going to miss out if you look elsewhere.
At this end of the market, the best alternatives to Sky are:
BT uses the same broadband network, so you can enjoy similar speeds (and perhaps a bit better, as BT quotes slightly higher average download rates).
BT is also able to offer broadband and TV bundles. It doesn’t have as many channels, but this generally means you’re missing out on content aimed at more niche or specialist interests. BT TV can also be much cheaper than Sky, and it’s fairly flexible thanks to the option to switch TV packages every 30 days at no cost.
Virgin Media is the only mainstream TV service that can challenge Sky in terms of features and the sheer number of live broadcast channels. As well as hundreds of live channels, it also boasts a huge library of on-demand content.
On the broadband side, Virgin Media is able to offer much better speeds; most homes within its network area are able to get an average download rate of up to 1.1Gb. However, you do need to be within the Virgin network area to get any of these services, and it doesn’t cover as many properties as Sky.
Can you get a cheap alternative to Sky TV?
If the price of Sky is what’s putting you off, it doesn’t mean you need to miss out on a lot of what it can offer, because there is a cheap alternative from NOW TV.
NOW TV provides access to selected Sky channels using passes, which you can buy on a monthly, weekly, and even daily basis. You’re not locked into any lengthy contracts and can swap channel packs as you please without penalty. It’s a flexible and affordable way to get the most popular Sky TV broadcasts.
And because NOW TV is a streaming service, there’s no need to have a Sky TV satellite dish. You can also access NOW TV on a wide variety of devices, including smartphones and laptops, so you’re not limited to viewing it at home.
NOW also has cheap broadband deals, which you can get in a bundle with a TV pass.
Other alternatives to Sky TV
Virgin Media TV
Virgin TV is the most directly comparable service to Sky in that it offers an overwhelming choice of channels alongside many hours of on-demand content. And you get an advanced TV box that provides very similar features to Sky Q. If you’re interested in getting a vast number of channels and loads of extra features, Virgin Media TV is the best alternative to Sky TV.
BT is a good option for a cheap alternative to Sky. It doesn’t offer quite as many channels, but you’ll still get the most popular broadcasts. It will require you to pay for premium channel packs, although you can swap them over for free every 30 days.
TalkTalk is a very similar deal to BT TV, making it another good budget alternative to Sky TV. BT does offer more channels in its base packages compared to TalkTalk — which wants to sell you on lots of boosts for an additional fee - but like BT these are flexible.
However, TalkTalk is the better option if you’re mainly interested in sports; BT TV can only get a couple of Sky Sports channels, whereas with TalkTalk you can get both the full BT Sports and Sky Sports channel packs together.
Frequently Asked Questions about Sky TV alternatives
What are the best alternatives to Sky HD?
Virgin Media has approximately 50 HD channels, which is roughly similar to the number offered by Sky. But all the major TV providers now offer multiple high definition broadcast channels, you can even get around 15 HD channels with a Freeview box.
What is the best alternative to Sky Q?
The Virgin Media V6 TV box is a direct competitor to Sky Q, and the only one which can match it in terms of features. Both these boxes offer high-capacity hard drives for recording, multiroom capabilities, and 4K support.
What is the best alternative to Sky Multiroom?
The Virgin Media V6 box is your best alternative for a multiroom device. However, unlike the Sky system which works wirelessly, each Virgin TV box must be wired into the Virgin network connection.
What is the best alternative to Sky Movies?
Sky Movies is available as a premium add-on with multiple TV providers; Virgin, BT, TalkTalk, and NOW can all be used to view Sky Movies.
If you’re looking to get away from Sky Movies entirely, cut the cord and move to streaming platforms instead. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video both have massive movie libraries, and there are also specialist services such as BFI Player and Shudder.
What is the best alternative to Sky Sports?
BT Sports is a great alternative to Sky Sports, with multiple channels and live premier league games.
You can also watch Sky Sports on other services such as Virgin TV and BT TV for an additional fee, though you may not always get access to the full range of channels.
Alternatives to Sky Broadband
Sky Broadband uses the Openreach (BT line) telephone network to offer a broadband speed of either 11Mb (using ADSL) or 59Mb fibre optic. Its average fibre speed is a little slower than some, but only by a small amount.
Here are a few of the best providers which offer similar broadband services:
BT has slightly higher prices than Sky, but can also offer a slightly quicker average fibre speed (67Mb vs 59Mb on Sky), and the option of a cheaper 50Mb service. Like Sky, it also includes free access to a national Wi-Fi hotspot network.
Although Virgin is not directly comparable as it uses a different network and can offer much better speeds, its 54Mb package is a worthwhile option to consider as it’s good value and nearly as quick as Sky.
If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to Sky Broadband, compare the following providers:
TalkTalk broadband speeds are close to Sky, but it can be a little cheaper. While the fastest fibre packages are closely matched (albeit with a marginally faster average speed in TalkTalk’s favour) the entry-level 38Mb TalkTalk fibre service delivers a lot more for your money as it’s around the same price as Sky’s 11Mb broadband.
With prices starting from under £20 per month, NOW is one of the cheapest broadband providers around. It becomes less competitive at higher speeds, especially for the fastest fibre deals where Sky has it beaten on price, although it does also offer a rolling monthly contract in addition to longer-term deals.
Top three alternatives to Sky
Here are our three favourite alternative providers for Sky TV and broadband.
Not the cheapest, but it offers fast broadband, tempting TV bundles, and lots of extras and freebies.
A fantastic budget alternative to Sky TV. Some very cheap broadband deals can save you a lot of money, and we love the flexibility of its Sky TV passes.
Virgin Media is the only provider which can deliver a complete package capable of matching Sky’s TV and broadband offerings. Its incredible broadband speeds outclass most of the competition, too.