|Review: January 2013|
Last updated August 2016
In a nutshell: Sky TV is a monthly subscription-based service. It delivers premium content, unmatched ease-of-use, and more bonus features than a Blu-Ray boxed set. Sky also provides home phone and broadband bundles.
Sky box and connections
To access Sky TV you'll need a Sky box and a satellite dish. Both of these are supplied and installed by Sky, so you don't need any technical expertise to get this set up. The Sky engineer will fix the satellite dish in a suitable position on your property, and will get the Sky box connected to your TV. You should get a good signal from any location in the UK.
You'll need to ensure that there's a spare power socket to plug in the box, a phone line too, and an ethernet cable if you want to make use of the Sky box's internet-based features (more of that below).
The Sky boxes are very easy to use. We'd say that of all the different satellite TV boxes available, Sky is the easiest to use, thanks to its simple, well-designed menus and remote control.
The Sky Q Multiscreen option lets you install additional boxes in different rooms of your house, so you can watch on more than one TV.
All Sky boxes now include Sky+, which is Sky's name for it's built-in video recording feature. This lets you pause, rewind and record live TV. You can record two channels at once even while watching a recording, or watch one channel live while recording another.
Sky+ is just as easy to use as the normal Sky menu. For example, you can simply use the Series Link option to record an entire series.
Sky+ boxes are available with a range of hard disk capacities - up to a massive 2TB (2,000GB) or 185 hours of HD recording. Costs vary according to your monthly subscription option.
The Sky Q box comes in a choice of 1TB or 2TB storage, can record up to 4 channels simultaneously, and is UHD-ready. It comes with a special Sky Q touch remote and uses dual-band wireless Wi-Fi for fast streaming.
Your monthly subscription depends on which package of channels you choose. The Oirginal Bundle includes over 30 channels, such as Sky Atlantic, Sky1, and FOX. You also get Catch-up TV, Sky+ and Sky Go. Other options include the Variety Bundle, Box Sets Bundle, Cinema Bundle and Sports Bundle.
Monthly costs vary considerably depending on which option you choose.
On demand TV
Connect your Sky box to a broadband router via an ethernet cable or an optional Wi-Fi connector, and you can download and watch shows from up to 60 channels.
Sky's On Demand service is included in the cost of the basic package and gives you access to the past week's Sky shows plus BBC iPlayer, ITV Player and Demand 5. There are also series "box sets" of popular shows from the TV Library. Sky Movies 1 & 2 subscribers can also select from a library of hundreds of movies.
In addition, premium movies can be rented through the On Demand service.
The Sky+ app is available for smartphones and tablets and lets you control your Sky+ box remotely. You can see what's on, set recordings and manage your box on the move.
In addition, Sky Go lets you watch your Sky TV channels at no extra cost on your iPad, iPhone, laptop, Xbox 360 and some Android smartphones.
Broadband & phone
Sky is also a provider of home broadband and phone services, and you can choose to bundle these into your Sky package if you want.
Conclusion - the ultimate TV package, but expensive
We love Sky, and so do more than 10 million customers. The key benefits of the Sky package are:
- Fantastic ease-of-use. Your granny can use it, and so can your two-year old. Even your dog can use it!
- Exclusive content. Sky 1, Sky Sports and Sky Movies, to name a few. Sky Atlantic and Sky Living to name two more.
- A built-in hard-disk video recorder, plus On Demand TV.
- Sky Apps.
But there's a price to pay. Literally. Sky can be expensive, especially if you choose all the bells and whistles. And you have to put a satellite dish on your roof, which not everyone's happy about.
However, if you can afford it, we think it's the best. And it keeps getting better - those Sky guys definitely aren't resting on their laurels.
Sky features include:
- Uses satellite dish and dedicated Sky box
- Choice of subscription channels, including exclusive content
- Built-in hard disk recorder, pause & rewind live TV
- On demand services via internet
- Sky Q Multiscreen option
- Remote access via smartphone or tablet
- Sky Go lets you watch on a tablet or compatible device
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