Virgin Media vs Sky Digital
It makes sense to try and save some money by bundling together your TV, internet and phone services. Among the most popular options for doing this are the packages from Virgin Media and Sky Digital. So which of these would suit you best? In this Virgin Media vs Sky Digital battle we will firstly look at the services on offer from each provider to see how they compare and then we will take a look at the costs.
The TV Channels
Virgin Media provides cable TV and currently has 5 different packages you could choose from, ranging from 60 channels to 230 channels. The top package has 43 of those channels in HD, while the basic one has 10. You also get to choose between a basic, free TV box and paying extra for a 500GB TiVo box or a 1TB one.
Sky Digital uses a satellite dish to get their TV service to your home. They have 3 main packages, known as the Original Bundle (35 channels plus 240 free to air channels), the Family Bundle (80 channels plus 240 free ones) and the Variety Bundle (80 channels plus 240 free ones). All of the packages come with Sky +, Sky Go and Catch Up TV. If you want to give your HD TV a good workout then the Family Bundle has over 50 channels in this format, as well as Sky 3D. You can also add on movies and sports to any bundle you choose.
Round 1 Verdict: Both companies provide a huge range of channels and you are likely to have endless hours of entertainment with either of them. However, if I have to choose a winner then Sky’s slightly bigger range of channels and additional HD channels probably just edges it.
The Broadband Speed
Virgin has three different broadband speeds for you to choose from; up to 50Mb, up to 100Mb and up to 152 Mb. Their site calls it the UK’s fastest widely available broadband. In some of the examples on their site of how fast you can download things, it states that a 60Mb song can be downloaded in 11 seconds with 50Mb broadband and a 1800Mb movie in 5 minutes with the same speed. They also offer a wireless Super Hub that they say offers the fastest Wi-Fi on the market.
Sky also has three different options. However, their speeds are only up to 17, 38 and 76 Mb. They also confirm that the speed can vary widely from one place to another. Like Virgin, they also offer a hub for Wi-Fi and unlimited broadband use on the chosen package.
Round 2 Verdict: If you want lightning fast broadband then Virgin is your best choice by far. The Sky offering is still more than decent for most of us but it simply can’t match up to Virgin in terms of speed.
The Phone Option
Sky has 3 phone packages you could choose from. Sky Talk Weekend is designed for those people who work all week and want to chat away over the weekend, with inclusive weekend calls to UK landlines. Sky Talk Anytime gives you free calls to UK landlines at any time. The final package is called Sky Talk Anytime International. This is ideal for anyone who has friends or relatives abroad, as it allows for unlimited overseas calls to 50 different international destinations.
Virgin, on the other hand, offers 4 packages. The most basic one is similar to the basic Sky package in that it gives free weekend calls to UK landlines. The other packages all include unlimited calls to UK landlines at any time and calls to Virgin mobile numbers at any time as well. The top package gives the user unlimited calls to UK mobiles at all times. For those people wanting to call abroad, there is a Talk International plan that offers cheaper calls to other countries. Virgin is also the first company in the UK to offer quadruple play services, which means that you can also pay for your mobile phone service through them as well.
Round 3 Verdict: This area is slightly harder to call, as it depends upon who you normally phone. If you generally only call UK landlines then there is very little to choose between the two. If you call UK mobiles then the top Virgin plan could suit you best. If you make a lot of international calls then you will probably be interested in Sky’s plan that covers these. I guess we’ll call it a draw.
Of course, for most of us the service that suits us best is the one that offers best value. This is especially true when both Virgin and Sky offer similar packages in most areas. Comparing deals isn’t always easy though, especially when both tend to offer special promotions from time to time.
For example, the Sky Original Bundle of TV channels costs £21.50 each month. However, at the time of writing it is available for £10.75 for the first 6 months just now. Additionally, you get to choose from a £100 reward of your choice or an LG Soundbar and Subwoofer plus a free Sky+ HD box. The rest of the Sky products also come with similar offers at the time of writing.
In terms of the cost of Virgin services, one of the best promotions just now gives you 6 months free on Netflix with selected bundles. Right now there is also an offer of £90 off selected packages or the choice of receiving a free tablet. The lowest cost TV bundle is called the Big Easy. It currently costs £15 per month for the first year and then £20 after that. You also need to pay £15.99 for a Virgin phone line and can also pay an extra £5 each month to get a mobile phone SIM.
At the end of the day, the smartest move is to work out what kind of package you want and then see what current prices and offers are available for both Sky and Virgin. This will take you a few minutes but it is worth doing, bearing in mind that you will by tying yourself into a subscription for at least a year. Once you’ve done this it’s time to settle back and enjoy your new entertainment services.
Which one of the two providers do you prefer?