How should I compare TV and broadband deals?
Availability is possibly the most important factor when it comes to comparing TV and broadband bundles – not every provider's services are available everywhere. Those in urban areas will have the most choice, but as fibre broadband becomes more widely available, so too do the range of providers and deals. Those who aren't sure what's available in their area can use the postcode checker above to find out.
The next factor to consider when trying to compare triple play bundles, as they're also known, is which part of the package is most important. Do we want as many channels as we can get, or the fastest broadband, or the best balance of services for the best price? That should help make comparing deals much easier.
Why should I bundle all my services together?
Aside from the convenience of taking pay TV and broadband from the same provider, there are a couple of good reasons to consider bundling all our services together. The first is that it's often much better value - competition between the providers means that they're frequently willing to offer discounts or incentives to those willing to add another service to their deal, rather than let someone else get their custom.
This is particularly the case if we're happy to let the provider pick the components of our TV and broadband deal for us: there are readymade bundles suitable for small households and light media users, all the way up to packages suitable for households that want everything.
The other reason we might want to think about bundling our services is down to availability: while Sky and Virgin Media both offer their TV with and without broadband, the extra services available on Youview (available from BT and TalkTalk) rely on getting broadband from the right provider. Basically: if we want their TV, we have to take their other two services as well.
Who offers the cheapest TV and broadband bundles?
Who offers the cheapest TV and broadband deals depends on what we want from our services. Someone who wants lots of TV but not much more than basic broadband will find that the cheapest deal for them is completely different from the best priced bundle for someone who wants superfast fibre but isn't that bothered about lots of extra TV channels.
Many people look at getting pay TV because they want one or more of the big ticket channel packs such as Sky Sports, Sky Movies, or BT Sport. If this is the case, it's easy to find the cheapest bundle overall - select one of the key channels from the drop-down menu at the top of the page, and filter the results by price. However, it's worth bearing in mind that while all the providers now offer the premium packs just mentioned, the exact channels they offer does vary. There's more on who offers what in our specific guides to getting Sky Sports (here), Sky Movies (here), and BT Sport (here).
Those simply looking for a triple play deal that costs as little as possible should click on the cheap bundles tab at the top of the page.
How long must I sign up for?
A combined broadband, phone and TV contract is usually at least a year long, and sometimes up to 18 months long. Readymade bundles almost all require 18-month commitments, in part because they offer such good value compared to buying each service separately. Another good rule of thumb is that the fancier the package, the longer we're likely to have to sign up for.
As fibre broadband becomes more affordable, it's no longer the case that bundles including superfast connections automatically come with 18-month contracts. But as various providers look into developing and offering Ultra HD TV, and much smarter set top boxes, they tend to make getting them conditional on signing up to a longer term. Hover over the price details of any package listed above to see how long the minimum contract is.
What other features can I get with my bundle?
The bigger the bundle, the more features we can expect it to include. A couple of pay TV providers keep their better set top boxes for customers signing up to their more expensive TV and broadband deals; others offer boxes with at least two tuners as standard, with the opportunity to upgrade to an even better box for a price. There's more on some of the boxes available from the providers in this guide.
It's also worth checking what on demand services we can access, and where, thanks to the pay TV part of our bundle: again, the more expensive TV subscriptions are likely to offer more on demand content or channels. Most of the providers listed above also offer an app of some sort letting customers watch that content online – via mobile or tablet, for example – wherever they are.
As the table above covers TV, broadband, and phone we've included details of each provider's line rental - and whether calls are included with it. As many of us use mobiles instead of the landline these days, inclusive calls may not be as important as they once were - but those who use their landlines even occasionally may find that adding a call package could be better value than paying as they go.
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