Are you finding that watching satellite TV is becoming too expensive? Take a look at what happens with your Sky equipment if you choose to cancel and find out the cheaper alternatives to Sky TV.
I was an avid Sky fan for over 15 years. And let’s be honest, up until around 5 years ago, there were few alternatives. You could stick to freeview, with around 30 channels. Or you could pay for Sky and receive 100’s of channels with the best movies and sports.
But near the end of my Sky subscription, I realised I was getting far less than I used to. Many of the events I used to watch were now pay-per-view and a lot of football and cricket had moved over to BT Sport. And yet, I was paying more.
But before you leave Sky, why not see if you can negotiate a better deal. I used to do this every year and would often get 50% off from my contract. Find out about negotiating a better deal.
And don’t forget, you can exchange your Nectar points for movies from the Sky Store, starting at just over 1000 points.
But if you’ve made up your mind about leaving, then there are some important things you need to know…
Can I keep my Sky box and equipment if I cancel?
Yes, you can keep all your equipment including your satellite dish if you decide to cancel your Sky subscription. And as long as you’re out of contract, you won’t have to pay anything. The only exception is if you leased your Sky Q box.
If you’re still tied-in to a contract, you’ll need to pay whatever is owed. For example, if you pay £40 per month and have 2 months remaining, you will need to pay Sky £80.
Can I still use my Sky box if I cancel my subscription?
Yes and no. You will still have access to the free-to-view channels but your Sky box will no longer be able to record and store programmes. And you will no longer have access to any of the shows you’ve recorded either.
Selling your Sky box
If you decide that without the recording function, your Sky box will just end up as an annoying box in the corner of the room, then why not sell it? There’s a big market for 2nd hand boxes, but how much you’ll get depends mainly on the age and memory size. eBay is a good place to try, or Facebook Marketplace if you don’t want to pay any fees.
Cheaper alternatives to Sky
Now, there are plenty options out there if you’re looking for an alternative to Sky, and the good news is that they’re all cheaper. Which is best for you depends on your viewing needs. Below is a list of your best options.
Top of the pile is Netflix. Not only does Netflix provide you with classic TV series and movies, but they also produce their own shows. Stranger Things anyone?
The system is a joy to use, especially when watching TV series. With a push of a button, you can skip the opening intros and you don’t have to watch the closing credits either before the next episode starts.
There are 3 packages you can pay for, which means that you shouldn’t end up paying for more than you use.
The only downside is that you sometimes have to be quick to watch your favourite shows. Some programmes are only available for a limited time, so you need to bear that in mind.
As a family of 5, we quite happily subscribe to the basic package without issue.
Pros: Easy to use, lots original content and a great back-catalogue.
Cons: Space is limited at Netflix, so favourite programmes can be removed.
Amazon video is included with your Prime membership and is often overlooked by many people. Currently, Prime will cost £7.99 per month or £5.99 if you just want the Video membership.
Like Netflix, Amazon has access to plenty of classic shows and movies as well as their own exclusive content. Amazon has also recently started to show a limited number of English Premier League football games too.
Although the number of shows are limited compared to Netflix, it’s still worth looking at if you have Prime membership. There are also plenty of extra movies available, but you will need to pay to rent or own these.
Pros: Good value with all the other Prime benefits, some original content.
Cons: Too many of the movies require you to pay extra.
Visit Amazon Video>>
You may be aware that NowTV is actually owned by Sky, so you might not automatically think of it as a suitable alternative. However, the beauty of NowTV is that it offers almost all the same content without you being fixed to a long contract.
NowTV uses entertainment passes. So, you choose a pass for a month, pay your money, sit back and watch. There are even day passes available for sports fans. This can be far cheaper if you only want to watch your favourite team, rather than paying for a month long subscription.
There are also plenty of discounts available for NowTV passes too, so it’s possible to get an even better deal. You can even exchange Tesco Clubcard vouchers for 3 times their value for NowTV, which is a great bargain.
Pros: No contract, very similar to Sky.
Cons: Limit your entertainment passes, otherwise it works out more expensive than Sky. Some passes auto-renew, so you need to cancel
BritBox brings you some British TV classics thanks to a collaboration between ITV and BBC. And recently, Channel 4 have also got onboard. For £5.99 per month, you can watch old shows like Dr. Who, Love Island, The Office and the Inbetweeners.
But is it really worth £5.99 per month? It depends on how much you miss the shows you used to watch. And although Channel 4 have provided their shows, you can watch all theirs for free on their own streaming service.
Personally, I would be surprised if there is enough content there to keep people subscribing. Especially when all the programmes were originally available for free.
Pros: Loads of content with plenty of classic shows.
Cons: Nothing original, some of the content available for free elsewhere.
This is the newest subscription service to hit the UK and, unsurprisingly, provides you with all your favourite Disney films. But not only that, it includes Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic.
With a similar interface to Netflix, this an easy app to use with a large range of movies – plenty for the kids to watch. There are TV series there too, such as The Simpsons, Star Wars; Mandalorian and High School Musical (if that’s your thing).
Original content is a little limited at the moment, although I’m sure that will come with time.
You can subscribe for £5.99 per month or get a 15% discount if you opt to subscribe for the whole year.
Pros: Great movies and a selection of new content. Easy to use system.
Cons: Limited. Once you’ve watched your favourite movies, might be little else to come back to.
If you’re a fan of reality TV, then this is the option for you. If not, scroll on down!
Hayu has thousands of episodes from shows such as The Real Housewives, The Kardashians, plus plenty of true crime programmes. And at £4.99 per month, it’s the cheapest option on this list. I would like to write more about it, but reality TV isn’t my thing.
Pros: Cheaper than the rest, many hours of reality TV.
Cons: Limited content for most people.
Freeview has come a long way over the last 20+ years. No longer is it restricted to just 4 channels that finish at midnight. In fact, Freeview has access to over 70 TV and radio channels.
According to the Freeview website, over 95% of the nation’s favourite TV is available on their service. And the best thing is… it’s all free. Well, except for the TV Licence that is.
On top of all this, Freeview Play has over 20,000 hours of on demand content available.
Pros: A cheap option with plenty of content
Cons: The biggest and best shows (including sport) are only available elsewhere.
If you like the idea of Freeview but you’re a little concerned that there aren’t enough channels for you, you could try TVPlayer. For £6.99 per month, TVPlayer gives you access to all the free to view channels, plus an extra 10 premium channels. These include Discovery, TLC, History, and Lifetime.
Pros: A little extra on top of basic TV.
Cons: Expensive for what you receive. Get far more from the other services.
Which is the best alternative to Sky TV?
That really depends on what you’re after.
The best all-rounder for the money is Netflix. Plenty for all the family.
Best for kids is Disney+. Lots of shows and kids love to watch the same movies again and again.
For sports fans, the only real option is NowTV… although Amazon Prime is looking like a possible contender.
And the best thing is that all these shows allow new customers a free trial. This will really help you decide which is the best alternative for you.
*Please note that this post does contain affiliate links.