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10 best alternatives to Sky TV in the UK

Is your Sky TV package not working hard enough? It might be time to switch. Here are our favourite, and most affordable, alternatives to Sky.

family watching tv parents kids
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Published: Monday, 27th June 2022 at 11:26 am

We all love telly. It’s the backbone to our nation. There’s no problem that can’t be solved by sitting down to watch EastEnders with your mum at 7:30pm, or having a TV dinner with your housemates when Love Island is on. In recent years, we’ve been enjoying the countless streaming services that have cropped up. Who knows how we would’ve entertained ourselves during lockdown if it wasn’t for Tiger King?

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Whatever you choose to watch on TV, and however you choose to watch it, it’s important that you have the right TV package for you. It’s worth thinking about what you want to watch on TV and what you can do without.

For Sky customers — an already pretty expensive TV package — you might already be considering this. That’s why the RadioTimes.com team are here to suggest some Sky alternatives which give you a little more bang for your buck.

British broadcaster Sky provides broadband and television to countless homes across the UK.

You can start your Sky Signature package from £26 a month (a £12 saving on the original £38 monthly cost), with an additional £20 set-up fee and a minimum 18-month contract. This package includes over 300 channels which aren’t available on Freeview, and 500 box sets.

As a stand-alone package, Sky Signature is a good deal. But things can get a bit pricey.

You can customise your package with additional channels. For sports fans, there’s Sky Sports for an additional £25 a month, Sky Kids which will set you back £6 a month for those of you with little ones, and Sky Cinema for movie buffs — an additional £12 a month, down from £19 a month.

With a Sky TV package, you’ll get a Sky Q box as standard. This is a multimedia platform which combines your usual telly with on-demand and catch-up services, like All 4, ITV Hub, and BBC iPlayer, and apps, such as YouTube, Spotify, and Netflix.

It’s an extra £12 per month to watch these services in HD (on a 31-day rolling contract), and an extra £15 a month to watch TV in more than one room (on an 18-month contract) as you’ll need to purchase a Sky Q Mini Box. If you want to view videos in a third room, another box will set you back £50. You’re allowed a maximum of four boxes per household.

If you’re already a Sky TV customer, you’ll already be aware that these extras quickly add up. So if you’re thinking about changing providers, here are our best and cheaper alternatives to Sky.

Best alternatives to Sky for live TV

Virgin Media

Unlike some of the Sky TV alternatives, we’re about to show you, Virgin Media doesn’t offer a stand-alone TV-only package. The cheapest is the ‘Big bundle’: M100 Fibre Broadband, Talk Weekends and 100+ TV channels for £29.99 a month on an 18-month contract, with a £35 set-up fee. For Wi-Fi, TV, and your home phone, 30 quid isn’t a bad deal, especially if you’re looking to move these three things over from Sky.

Plus, until Wednesday 29th June 2022, you can self-install your Virgin Media kit for free with no delivery fees. If self-installation isn’t available at your address, Virgin Media will send out an engineer for free.

Sign up to Virgin Media from £29.99 a month

Tip: Sky has an 18-month contract. If you're planning on switching, make sure you have checked when you can get out of the contract from.

Freeview

EastEnders: Janine Butcher (BBC)
Janine Butcher (Charlie Brooks) in EastEnders

Freeview’s aim is to bring great telly to homes across the UK for no monthly cost. With the current cost of living crisis, we are hugely appreciative of services like Freeview for bringing us our favourite TV shows when it’s not always possible to afford expensive TV packages or streaming services.

It offers over 70 channels, as well as 15 HD channels, and if you have the internet, you can include Freeview Play to watch on-demand shows from places like My5, BBC iPlayer and All 4. Freeview Play is built-in to the majority of new TVs, so chances are, you already have it!

Best alternatives to Sky for entertainment

BT

Billie Eilish
Billie Eilish and Finneas O'Connell in Billie Eilish: The World's a Little Blurry Apple

BT is considered one of the ‘big three’ broadband and TV providers, alongside Sky and Virgin Media. However, unlike Sky, the packages are competitively priced so you can bag an entertainment bundle for as little as £17. If sports are more your bag, there’s a £16 package with your name on it.

All packages come with a 24-month contract, and a £39.99 activation fee.

Sign up to BT TV from £16 a month

Know you want the sport channels? Take a look at our pick of the best BT Sport offers available right now.

Apple TV Plus

Apple TV Plus was a late contender to the streaming war, but that doesn’t make it any less mighty. It focuses on original shows and films, such as Slow Horses, Ted Lasso, Cherry starring Tom Holland, and Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry, rather than hoarding a back catalogue of popular TV series and movies like other streaming services do.

The streaming service will cost you £4.99 a month; you can get three months free when you buy selected Apple products, so if you’re planning on purchasing a new device anyway, this is a great benefit. There’s also a seven-day free trial regardless of whether you buy from Apple.

Apple TV Plus is compatible with smart TVs, fire sticks and gaming consoles. Just search for 'Apple TV+' in the app store and install it.

Sign up for a free seven-day trial at Apple TV+

Hayu

For reality TV, you’re not going to find a better streaming service than Hayu. So if you’re someone who lives for staged arguments, celebrity gossip, and melodramatic moments, and for TV series like Keeping Up With The Kardashians, The Real Housewives franchise, and Botched, Hayu could provide all the telly you need (especially as it has over 300 shows to choose from).

Like Apple TV Plus, Hayu is £4.99 a month, however, you can pay £23.99 for six months or £43.99 for 12 months — the 12-month plan will save you 25% off the monthly price. There’s also a 7-day free trial for you to sink your reality TV-loving teeth into.

Hayu is compatible with most smartphones, tablets and TV devices, including Google Chromecast.

Sign up for a free seven-day trial at Hayu

BritBox

BritBox is a joint venture between ITV and BBC. When it initially launched, people were a bit confused why the streaming service was needed; after all, we could catch up on our favourite British shows on ITV Hub, All 4 and BBC iPlayer, so why do we need them all in one place? However, with almost 300 television box sets and over 65 films for just £5.99 a month, BritBox quickly became a viable alternative to paying for a TV licence.

Sign up for a seven-day free trial at BritBox

Tip: A lot of streaming services offer a free trial, so if you want to try out a few options before making the leap from Sky, take advantage of the trials.

Best alternatives to Sky for sports

NOW TV

Formula 1 sprint qualifying
Formula 1 Getty Images

Upgrading to Sky Sports will set you back an additional £25 a month, and if you’re new to Sky, it’s £46 a month for the first 18-months. This gets you eight Sky Sports channels where you can watch Premier League, F1, and more.

The Sports Membership on NOW TV comes with 11 Sky Sports channels, including HD ones, over 1,000 hours of highlights and sports documentaries on demand. You also have the choice to connect up to six devices, all for £33.99 a month.

The £33.99 also includes a free seven-day trial of Boost — the upgrade which lets you watch sports on three devices at any one time.

Sign up for a seven-day free Boost trial at NOW TV

Best alternatives to Sky for the whole family

Disney Plus

The Book of Boba Fett
Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano in The Book of Boba Fett

The RadioTimes.com team are big fans of Disney Plus — we think it’s borderline unbelievable how much amazing content you can get on the streaming service for such a small price.

Disney Plus currently costs £7.99 per month or £79.90 for the year (the yearly subscription saves you over 15% of the monthly cost). Here, you can enjoy family favourites such as Frozen, The Simpsons and Encanto, Marvel and Star Wars, original series like Pam & Tommy, National Geographic, and so much more.

Sign up to Disney Plus for £7.99 a month

Want to get Disney Plus for less? Take a look at the Disney Plus offers available right now.

Amazon Prime Video

Another fantastic value for money TV subscription service is Amazon Prime Video. From countless box sets and movies to documentaries and reality TV, there’s something for the whole family on Amazon Prime Video.

If you already have Prime, you’ll have access to Amazon Prime Video along with other great benefits like free next-day delivery and access to events like Prime Day 2022. This will set you back £7.99 a month, or you can opt for an annual subscription costing £79 (£6.58 per month). If you want to use Amazon Prime Video exclusively, that’s £5.99 per month, but you won’t get any of the other benefits.

Sign up for a 30-day free trial at Amazon Prime Video

Netflix

Get great entertainment for less with Netflix. It has a catalogue of blockbuster movies like Don’t Look Up and The Power of the Dog, binge-worthy box sets like Bridgerton and Stranger Things, and, not to mention, a huge array of docuseries and documentaries.

You can watch Netflix anytime and anywhere from any device, like your phone, laptop, tablet, smart TV or streaming device. Plans start from £6.99.

Sign up for Netflix for £6.99

Tip: If you’re planning on switching from Sky TV, it’s worth finding out what (if anything) would happen if you still want Sky as your broadband provider.

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For more on streaming, head over to our recommendations of the best UK streaming services or best streaming device to make your TV smart.

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