The way television is being delivered is leaping into the 21st century and choosing how you get your TV and broadband package is becoming ever more confusing.
Up until the 80s there was only really one way to get TV, and that was through your aerial. Once Sky came to Britain satellite TV has been becoming ever more popular, but the free analogue channels were still the way most of us received television. In the 2010s we saw the Digital Takeover, meaning that we need a Freeview box to watch hundreds of channels, or listen to dozens of radio stations.
Satellite and cable TV still offers many more options than the free to air services do. However, with the introduction of internet speeds so fast that it’s possible to watch, download and record more than one thing at the same time the way subscription based TV delivery is changing too. Sky, Virgin Media, BT and many others are all offering fast broadband which will let you not only watch and record TV, you can do all your online browsing, shopping, gaming and run your Smart Home network with it too. Which begs the question, which is best for you?
Trying to identify which is the best is like trying to guess the length of a piece of string. Every home’s needs are different, and so the best packages will be different too. For example Sky Q offers a basic subscription service (including all the channels currently available on Freeview) which you can expand buy buying additional ‘passes’. These allow you to access additional channels which are devoted to kids movies, sport, entertainment, history, and so on. BT has introductory offers on TV and broadband which include HDTV, superfast fibre, additional disks to eliminate WiFI blind spots and other hardware including Amazon Echo, Fitbits, and Samsung Galaxies.
So How Do You Decide Which Is Best For You?
First of all, decide what it is you need, want, could live without and definitely don’t want. Buying a sports package might seem like a great idea if there’s an introductory offer, but if you only watch football, cricket, or other seasonal games, a full year’s investment isn’t a smart move. The offers expire and you could end up spending full price for a sports package you never watch. Currently all of BTs offers include BT Sport channel, and require you to also subscribe to a BT landline. If you neither want nor need a full package of sport, or you already have a landline contract and number you’re already satisfied with, then other packages with other smaller providers such as Plusnet provide broadband with or without a phone contract.
You may decide you don’t want TV at all. Many people are finding that they’re not even interested enough in the channels that are available and are happy to watch boxsets, series and movies via Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, on the studio’s website or YouTube, Daily Motion, or Vimeo. If you only watch online TV channels there’s a good chance you can stop paying your TV licence, which will go a long way to offset the cost of any online media subscription you choose.
Secondly, think how much broadband you’re actually going to use. This is hard for the average user to decide as who knows how much data an HD movie uses, or an album? How much data does scrolling through Instagram or Facebook use per hour? If you have a family of data hungry teens you’ll be using far more data than if you live alone, or you’re retirees who just watch movies and Skype the family at weekends. Families where everyone in the household has their own phone, tablet, and smart devices will generally need an unlimited usage package. On the other hand, if you’re a couple or a single person then a cheap, fixed usage package could be best for you. If decide to go for a fixed data package but you find you run out at the end of each month you can increase the amount of data you receive by chatting with your customer service agent.
Choosing Speed, Quality, And Reliability
Thirdly, you need to look at factors outside your wants and needs. Some providers still offer terrible service if you live out in the countryside or in an otherwise remote location. Use a postcode checker to see which companies are able to offer the fastest broadband where you are. Ofcom are currently encouraging internet providers to be more open about the disparity between the best potential internet speeds and the speeds customers actually receive at home.
Now you’ve looked at what’s available and built a picture of everything you would like, look at your budget and look at what you are actually happy to pay. If you’re in the fortunate position where everything you want falls within your budget, brilliant! On the other hand most of us will find we need to readjust their requirements to reflect what’s actually possible. Simply going for the cheapest possible could in fact end up being more costly. If you go for a fixed or limited usage package which is too small it could end up being more expensive when you have to buy additional data to get to the end of each month.
Don’t Pay Premium Prices Any Longer Than You Have To
And remember, a lot of the deals you see now are introductory. New customers get great deals but once they expire you go on to a full price package. So remember to look at offer expiry dates carefully, look at what the full price is going to be, and how long you’ll be tied into the contract before you can switch. Use that date to set an alert on your calendar to look for the best new introductory offers will be available to you then. Switching is usually very simple, and your new provider will take care of the switching process.