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A 2013 Battle of the Giants - Sky Satellite TV Vs. Virgin Media

By Edited Feb 13, 2014 0 0

Which TV Broadband Package is The Best Deal

These days there’s a battle going on between Sky Satellite TV and Virgin Media to become the best broadband TV and calls bundle provider in the country.  It is close when it comes to the quality of the services and the pricing.  In this article, we’ll look at which company comes out on top by assessing the best offers available, the availability of the services, the price of the different packages, bundles, large and small, additional costs, and the TV channels you will receive.

Best Offers

These days the internet and broadband market as well as the satellite TV and digital TV realm are packed full of incentives to get customers on board.  Sky for example at the moment offer a £25 Marks and Spencer voucher when you sign up for the TV option.

With the unlimited broadband, you can get half price unlimited broadband for a year as well.  Similarly, with fibre optic broadband, you get six months half price when you take their service.  With Virgin Media, you can get a £60 bill credit and six months half price on your packages when you sign up for the essentials, premier, or VIP service.

With the broadband and phone line options, you get £30 bill credit, six months half price and also free installation.  When you don’t go for a phone line and you just get Virgin Media broadband, you get £11.75 off for six months.  When you go for Sky media TV, you can get £7 off the Virgin TV service for the first six months.  The offers available really are very competitive and it’s worth keeping an eye out on what comes into the market when you are looking for your deals.

The Availability of Sky Satellite TV and Virgin Media Services

Sky satellite TV is available throughout the country.  Satellite TV can be received by 100% of the British Isles, because it is not landline based and it doesn’t matter how remote you are.  Virgin Media is only available to around 50% of homes at the moment with them currently rolling their cables out to more homes in order to increase their service.  The broadband service for satellite TV provider Sky is predominantly driven through ADSL although you are able to get on fibre optic cables in around 30% or 40% of the country.

In order to check availability, you should do a post code check on a website such as uSwitch to find out whether the fibre optic cables have arrived in your area or not.  Try and use an Ofcom approved service for your check.

The Pricing of the Packages

When you go for broadband and calls only, Sky tends to be cheaper.  However, if you are able to leave the phone line with Virgin Media, you can make a bit of a saving.  Sky Unlimited cost £10 with line rental of £14.50 so your total cost of a broadband and phone line with Sky is £24.50.  The similar package with Virgin Media is £29.49.  However, if you drop the line rental you’re only paying £22.50 for the Broadband and so you’re about to £2 cheaper.  With Sky you can’t drop your landline as you need it for the broadband.

The Best Budget Bundles

Virgin offers a very good bundle on the M Plus TV package.  You have just 55 channels and 30Mbps broadband but it is a little bit cheaper than Sky’s offering.  The Broadband light service with satellite TV provider Sky only offers 2GB of data per month.  The classic collection on Virgin comes in at £32.99 and on Sky at £36 so your difference isn’t large but Virgin probably offers the best cheap option.

Larger Bundles

With two larger bundles offering around 150 channels without HD, unlimited broadband and a call plan with any time calls, we see that Sky is significantly cheaper.  With a Sky TV Broadband unlimited and talk time package, the cost of Sky is about £48.50 whereas the TV XL plus broadband and talk unlimited on Virgin comes in at £64.99.  This is based on developing a bundle for yourself to make Virgin comparable with Sky.  Sky is therefore much cheaper at the top end of the market.

On line rental, Sky is also cheaper coming at £14.50 instead of £14.99 per month with inclusive anytime calls, you’ll pay £19.50 with Sky and £22.99 with Virgin.

Satellite TV vs. Cable Channels

When you have a look at the number of channels available on the different packages, you find Sky steaming ahead.  On Freeview you have 50 channels, with the Virgin Media M Plus option you have 94, with the Virgin Media large you have 129, and with the Virgin Media extra large you have 173.

With the Sky entertainment package you have 280 channels and with Sky Extra 332.  You’re certainly ahead with Sky.  With the basic option, Virgin looks pretty good.  Their essential collection is £26 per month, however with the Sky basic bundle the original package is just around £21.50 a month.  And you get much more TV for your money.  Sky is certainly better when it comes to TV channels choice.

HD Channels

Sky satellite TV options includes an extra £10.25 per month for HD channels.  With Virgin, they are free but they are far more limited in number.  On the Virgin Media M Plus offering, you have six, with the Virgin Media Large offering you also have six, and with the Virgin Media extra-large option you have 27 HD channels.  With Sky entertainment you get 31, and Sky Extra 45.

Sky is the clear HD winner in the entertainment packages.  The figures also don’t include the Sky Sports and movies in HD which Sky also wins. 

Sky Sports

Virgin and Sky fight vigorously on the sports front.  Generally, Virgin tends to be cheaper but when you start to focus on broadband and calls as well, Sky are better.  The sports channel, Sky sports news, through Sky is a terrific channel which many of us can’t live without.

Speeds of Broadband

The broadband offerings from Sky and Virgin are quite different.  You can get Sky unlimited broadband on up to 15Mbps connection all around the country.  In fact, there are probably only around 200,000 homes in the UK that can’t get ADSL connection through Sky.  With Virgin, their offers are through fibre optic broadband and they’re up to 30Mbps, up to 60Mbps and up to 100Mbps.  They’re faster with the fibre optic broadband option from Sky only up to 38Mbps but they are less available.

Virgin also has a traffic management policy and fair usage policies on the majority of their packages that restrict your usage.  Sky is truly unlimited broadband and therefore is the best.  For heavy users, Sky is the obvious choice, although the most expensive Virgin broadband is now free from fair usage policies too.

The Sky Plus HD box offers features such as pause and rewind, the opportunity to record two channels at once and also the ability to access lots of additional on-demand content.  The box has 250GB in storage compared to 160 with Virgin.  You can therefore get more on the Sky box.  Sky’s box is better than the standard Virgin TiVo.

Overall

Overall the Sky packages win when you try to get a comprehensive bundle.  If you need super-fast broadband and can compromise on traffic management then you can go for Virgin Media.  For me, Sky is the undoubted winner on both TV and broadband because of their broadband that’s free from fair usage policies and their diversity of channels.

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