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. You might be missing out on a fantastic deal if you don't spend time researching other options from these providers.
Alternatives to Sky Broadband
BT uses the same broadband network as Sky. This means you can enjoy similar speeds (and perhaps a bit better, as BT quotes slightly higher average download rates).
BT also offers broadband and TV bundles. It doesn’t have as many channels, but this generally means you’re missing out on more niche or specialist interest TV shows, such as documentaries.
You’ll still have access to Sky TV channels with the addition of a NOW TV membership, Netflix and a discovery+ add-on. This would be the easiest way to carry on viewing any favourite shows you’ve been enjoying on Sky, or selections from Sky Cinema, Sky Atlantic and Sky Sports.
BT’s digital TV packages are very flexible. With plenty of dedicated packages for sports fans and entertainment buffs, during your 24-month contract, you can switch between plans every 30 days, giving you the freedom to only pay for the channels you want.
Unlike Sky TV though, it’s not possible to sign up as a standalone new customer for a BT TV subscription. It has to be bundled in with a broadband deal.
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 TV freeview channels, it also boasts a huge library of on-demand content.
With the Virgin 360 set-top box, you’ll have easy access to apps such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4 and My5. There’s also a Virgin TV Go app that allows you to download films and TV programmes onto your mobile, tablet or computer as part of your monthly subscription. We think this is one of the closest Sky Stream alternatives.
On the broadband side, Virgin Media offers a fast internet connection. Most homes within its network area can 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. You might find it easier to get a Sky subscription, though. Virgin Media is only available to just half of UK homes.
TalkTalk requires you to add on lots of boosts for an additional fee. But, like BT, these are flexible.
As well as easy access to catch-up services, TalkTalk is a good if you’re interested in sports. With TalkTalk you can get NOW Sport, for access to all eleven Sky Sports channels. There’s also scope for a NOW TV Sky Cinema or hayu membership if you enjoy your reality TV series.
TalkTalk broadband packages are widely available across the UK and are reasonably affordable. For example, TalkTalk Fibre 35 TV is available for under £35 per month, with a small, one-off set-up fee.
Smaller alternative network providers
Don't think you always have to go with the big names. There are plenty of smaller, alternative network providers (we call these 'altnets') that offer interesting deals. These are often fast, full fibre packages that come with perks such as satisfaction guarantees, free setup fees and pledges not to raise prices mid-contract.
Type your address into our deals checker and check through the list of results.
Can you get cheap alternatives to Sky TV?
Are you finding Sky’s TV packages too expensive? It's worth checking out NOW TV as a cheaper alternative.
NOW TV provides access to selected Sky channels using passes. 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 or a Sky Box. You can 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.
Frequently asked questions about Sky TV alternatives
What are the best alternatives to Sky HD?
Virgin Media has over 80 HD channels, which is more than the number offered by Sky. But all the major TV providers now offer multiple high-definition broadcast channels, you can even get around 20 HD channels with a Freeview box.
What is the best alternative to Sky Q?
The Virgin Media TV 360 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 TV 360 box is your best alternative for a multiroom device. This is a wireless device that connects via Wi-Fi or Ethernet.
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?
TNT Sports (previously known as BT Sport) 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.
Sky alternatives: Expert Summary
Sky Broadband uses the Openreach (BT line) telephone network to offer a broadband speed of either 11Mb (using ADSL) or 61Mb fibre optic. Its average fibre speed is a little slower than some, but only by a small amount. If you have access to a full fibre network, the fastest package you can sign up to on Sky is Sky Broadband Gigafast, with an average download speed of 900Mb.
What is Openreach?
Openreach is the company that maintains the former British Telecom Network used for the majority of broadband and phone services. If a repair or installation is required, it’s Openreach who will send an engineer, not your provider.
More than 650 service providers using the Openreach network. That’s the majority of the UK’s broadband providers. This includes Sky, TalkTalk and BT. The exception to this is Virgin Media - it uses its own, separate cable network.
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.
Although Virgin isn't directly comparable as it uses a different network, it can offer much better speeds.
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.
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.