BT TV or Sky TV

Last updated: 15 October 2023   By Lyndsey Burton

Sky TV and BT TV are quite close-run competitors, especially now Sky Stream no longer requires a satellite dish.

Sky offer a nationwide comprehensive TV platform, with the new Stream Puck box bringing the service to even more households.

BT TV is exclusively available to BT broadband customers, and provides access to premium Sky content through NOW TV Memberships.

Overall, Sky TV tends to be cheaper than BT TV, and the Sky boxes offer much wider support for on-demand apps, expanding the content available even further.

sky tv vs bt tv

In this guide:


At a glance

Sky TV BT TV
Monthly price From £19 From £12
Upfront price None Up to £30
Minimum term 31 days / 18 months 24 months
TV content 150 channels, inc. Sky Entertainment & Netflix NOW TV Memberships, TNT Sports
On-demand apps Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, Paramount+, Apple TV+, Discovery+, Lionsgate+, Peloton, Peacock, and more NOW, Netflix, Prime Video, BritBox, BBC iPlayer, ITVX, All4, My5
Resolution 1080p HD SD / 720p HD
Adverts Yes (£5 for ad skipping) Yes (£6 for ad skipping)
TV box Stream Puck BT TV Box Pro

Best deals

Package TV Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Sky Entertainment + Netflix 150 Mb average £23 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Save £5/mth + Free setup (Ends 25/04/2024)
Sport + Fibre 2 77 67Mb average £52.99 £31.99 24 months
offer Offer: £50 BT Virtual Reward Card + Save £4/mth on BT Sport TV and no setup fees (Ends 25/04/2024)

Which is best? Sky TV or BT TV?

BT TV is best for BT broadband customers as they're already paying the bulk of the subscription cost. BT also offers a cheaper way to watch TNT Sports than Sky.

However, for everyone else, Sky TV is the better bet, with a much more comprehensive service offering more channels, full 1080p HD as standard, wider app support, and bundled extras like Netflix and Paramount+.

Sky TV is also more flexible than BT, despite BT TV customers being able to upgrade or downgrade their TV plan on a monthly basis. Sky's new Stream service allows customers to sign up for just 31 days at a time, and this short contract option is also available on premium channel packs.

Ultimately, Sky TV arguably offer a better pay TV service than BT TV, and prices are often cheaper too, especially on more granular like-for-like deals.


Price

Winner: Sky is cheaper than BT on a like-for-like basis, and Sky broadband is also cheaper than BT broadband, which is required for BT TV.

When we compare the price of Sky TV with BT TV on the channel packs available, BT TV is cheaper, especially for the TNT Sports pack.

Sky TV (inc. Netflix & HD) BT TV
Sky Entertainment £19 £15
Sky Cinema £19 + £11 (£30) £30 (inc. Netflix)
Sky Sports £19 + £20 (£39) £35 (inc. TNT Sports)
TNT Sports £19 + £26 (£45) £12

While BT TV looks cheaper than Sky TV on first glances, it's important to remember BT TV also requires BT broadband, and this can make it more expensive than Sky on a like-for-like basis.

It's also worth noting that Sky Entertainment on Sky has over 150 live channels, while BT TV provides customers with a NOW Entertainment membership, which has just 24 channels, including 7 kids channels.

In addition, BT TV only includes the channel packs in SD or 720p HD, with customers having to pay an extra £6 per month for the HD pack. In contrast, Sky include the channels in 1080p HD as standard, as well as a subscription to Netflix in the base pack.

On a closer like-for-like comparison then, Sky starts to look cheaper than BT TV:

Sky TV (inc. Netflix & HD) BT TV (inc. Netflix & HD)
Sky Entertainment £23 £25
Sky Cinema £34 £40
Sky Sports £43 £51.99
TNT Sports £49 £28.99

Sky only include Netflix Basic in their plan, while BT only offer Netflix Standard as an add-on, so we've upgraded the Netflix subscription to Standard to ensure a true comparison.

However, Sky TV now starts to look cheaper than BT TV, except for TNT Sports where BT TV is again the better choice.

Broadband prices

Sky broadband is a competitively priced and highly regarding service, however, Sky TV customers could choose a different broadband provider entirely, which customers of BT TV can't do.

Here are two superfast fibre broadband plans with Sky Entertainment channels from Sky and BT side-by-side:

Package TV Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Sky Entertainment + Netflix + Superfast Broadband 150 61Mb average £38 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Save £5/mth on Sky Entertainment & Netflix + Reduced price broadband + Free setup (Ends 25/04/2024)
Entertainment + Fibre 2 96 67Mb average £56.99 £61.99 24 months
offer Offer: £50 BT Virtual Reward Card + (Ends 25/04/2024)

Sky Superfast Broadband currently costs £25 per month on its own, so customers are saving £6 per month for bundling the services together.

BT don't discount broadband and TV bundles in the same way Sky does, because BT TV isn't available as a standalone service.

Overall though, we can see Sky remain a clear winner on price over BT even when we look at TV and broadband bundles for new customers.


Flexibility

Winner: While BT allow customers to swap TV plans on a monthly basis, Sky offer a 31-day monthly rolling contract so is ultimately more flexible.

BT allow customers to switch out the entire TV pack on a monthly basis, and as many times as they want to. However, the BT TV service itself comes with a 24-month minimum term contract, so customers must have at least one plan selected.

Sky offer customers a choice of either 18-month or 31-day minimum terms, so it ultimately more flexible for customers who simply don't want to tie themselves into a long contract.

The additional benefit of not being tied to a broadband plan also adds to Sky TV's flexibility, as customers don't also need to be subscribed to Sky broadband.

Sky TV BT TV
Minimum term 1 month 24 months
Cancellation notice 31 days 30 days

The prices we looked at above for Sky TV are based on their 18-month contract plans however, with the 31-day option costing £3 more per month on the base pack, and £2 more per month for Sky Cinema and Sky Sports.


Content

Winner: Sky TV is a more comprehensive service in comparison to BT TV, the Sky boxes also support more on-demand apps than the BT TV Box Pro.

Sky TV includes access to over 150 live channels, as well as a range of on-demand content including Sky Originals programming.

BT TV is largely based on providing customers access to NOW TV Memberships, with the addition of TNT Sports and Netflix in some plans.

While BT TV offers some unique features, such as the ability to pause and rewind content on NOW using the BT TV Box Pro, the Sky TV service is ultimately superior.

Sky TV offers more content overall than BT TV, as well as coming with extra features such as full 1080p HD as standard and wider support for more on-demand apps.

For example, the BT TV Box Pro misses out support for apps including Disney+, Paramount+, YouTube, Apple TV+, Lionsgate+, although support for the Discovery+ app was added in August 2023 ahead of the BT Sport app switch-off.

Entertainment

Looking at Sky TV alongside BT TV for entertainment, we can see that Sky TV is cheaper than BT TV and includes more content:

Package TV Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Sky Entertainment + Netflix + Superfast Broadband 150 61Mb average £38 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Save £5/mth on Sky Entertainment & Netflix + Reduced price broadband + Free setup (Ends 25/04/2024)
Entertainment + Fibre 2 96 67Mb average £56.99 £61.99 24 months
offer Offer: £50 BT Virtual Reward Card + (Ends 25/04/2024)

Sky TV and broadband is currently £6.99 per month cheaper than a comparable package from BT, including NOW Entertainment and BT Fibre 2 broadband.

Because BT TV uses the NOW Entertainment Membership pass, customers will only gain access to 24 channels, including 7 kids channels, plus Freeview. This is substantially less than the 150 channels provided with Sky (including Freeview).

Both Sky Entertainment and BT Entertainment include a subscription to Netflix Basic, and customers can upgrade to Netflix Standard for just £4 extra a month with either provider.

Cinema / Big Entertainment

BT's Big Entertainment plan is equivalent to Sky TV with the Sky Cinema pack, with both providers also including a subscription to Netflix Basic.

Package TV Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Sky Entertainment + Netflix + Sky Cinema + Superfast Broadband 162 61Mb average £46 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Save £5/mth on Sky Cinema + Save £5/mth on Sky Entertainment & Netflix + Reduced price broadband + Free setup (Ends 25/04/2024)
Big Entertainment + Fibre 2 107 67Mb average £66.99 £61.99 24 months
offer Offer: £50 BT Virtual Reward Card (Ends 25/04/2024)

Here, Sky TV comes in £13.99 per month cheaper than BT TV and this doesn't include the £6 extra a month BT TV customers need to pay to watch Sky Cinema in full HD.

NOW Cinema does include all 11 Sky Cinema channels however, so BT TV customers aren't particularly missing out on anything here. However, Sky also bundle a subscription to Paramount+ worth £6.99 per month with their Sky Cinema pack.

Sports

BT TV is much cheaper than Sky TV for TNT Sports, but Sky TV is the better option for Sky Sports and Eurosport.

Sky include Eurosport 1 & 2 in their base TV package and Stream and Glass customers get these channels in full 1080p HD as standard.

Sky TV also offer the Sky Sports pack in full 1080 HD as standard, with customers able to take the Ultra HD pack for Sky Sports Ultra HD. In contrast, BT TV only offer Sky Sports in 720p HD, and customers have to pay more for full HD with no option for UHD content.

Here are the Sky TV and BT TV sports packages side-by-side:

Package TV Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Sky Entertainment + Netflix + Sky Sports + Superfast Broadband 158 61Mb average £58 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Save £8/mth on Sky Sports + Save £5/mth on Sky Entertainment & Netflix + Reduced price broadband + Free setup (Ends 25/04/2024)
Big Sport + Fibre 2 90 67Mb average £81.99 £61.99 24 months
offer Offer: £50 BT Virtual Reward Card (Ends 25/04/2024)

BT TV is cheaper for Sky Sports and TNT Sports packages combined, while Sky TV is cheaper for those who only want to watch Sky Sports and Eurosport.

Both providers give customers access to Discovery+ Premium with any package including TNT Sports, while all Sky TV customers get Discovery+ Standard.


TV box

Winner: The BT TV Box Pro allows customers to record content to offline storage, which is no longer possible with the new streaming boxes from Sky.

BT's TV Box Pro is older than Sky TV's new Stream Puck box and Sky Glass TV set, however it has the added advantage of offline hard disk storage, which customers can use to record content from their NOW Memberships.

Sky Stream Puck and Sky Glass now only offer cloud storage using the platform's 'Playlist' feature. However, while customers have almost unlimited capacity to save programmes here, any programme that is removed from Sky or a linked on-demand platform will also be deleted from the customer's Playlist. So, storage isn't indefinite like it is with an offline hard drive.

BT TV customers also get the unique ability to pause and rewind key moments on NOW, which isn't possible directly with NOW or via other platforms like TalkTalk TV.

The BT TV Box Pro also supports both full HD and Ultra HD, however, as mentioned, customers will have to pay more for it, and there is much less UHD content available on BT TV than there is on Sky TV.

Sky boxes are arguably more streamlined and easier to hide than the larger BT TV Box Pro, especially with Glass having its Sky box built in.

Overall however, despite the Sky devices being newer, BT's TV Box Pro is likely to win over customers who want to record TV.


Verdict: Sky TV or BT TV

Overall winner: Sky TV offer a more comprehensive service, with content in full 1080p HD as standard, more UHD content, and cheaper overall prices than BT TV.

Sky TV and BT TV both offer a strong pay TV proposition, with access to premium channel packs including Sky Entertainment, Sky Sports, Sky Cinema, TNT Sports available on either platform.

There are times where Sky TV beat BT TV though, and similarly some occasions where BT TV is the better choice.

We like Sky TV most for:

  • Offering more premium live channels
  • Content delivered in full 1080p HD as standard
  • More Ultra HD content available, including on Sky Sports
  • Flexible, totally contract-free options available
  • Can be taken with Sky broadband or on its own for ultimate flexibility
  • Wider on-demand app support including Paramount+, Disney+, Peacock, Apple TV+, Lionsgate+

However, BT TV also does well for:

  • Cheaper prices for TNT Sports subscriptions, although customers have to pay more for HD and UHD content
  • Cheaper for households already paying out for BT broadband
  • Good flexibility with the ability to upgrade or downgrade a TV plan monthly
  • BT TV Box Pro can record content offline to a hard disk drive

Customers can save money on Sky TV by bundling Sky broadband, but they can also sign up to Sky TV with any other broadband provider, including BT.

Overall, Sky TV offer a more comprehensive service than BT TV, with more content available, and more flexibility too.

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