Best TV Packages for Students in 2012
Best TV Packages
It’s fair to say that when you’re a student you’re probably going to spend a lot of time sat in front of the TV watching trashy sitcoms and romantic movies. There’s nothing wrong at all with doing this – providing your studies aren’t suffering as a result – but do make sure that you’re getting the best possible deal with your TV packages.
Freeview and Freesat are free TV services. Through these services you’ll receive all the free to air channels including BBC One, BBC Two, ITV and so on. The only equipment you’ll need to receive Freeview is a digital aerial or satellite dish – and also a receiver box. Boxes cost from as little as £25 – but some TV sets do come with it built in. You can also watch Freeview through a laptop or computer – there are various aerial adaptors and cards available for them. Remember you must have a TV License if you’re watching Freeview or Freesat.
2. Sky TV
Sky is a pretty well known satellite TV service. Sky often run great low priced deals for new customers – but just be aware that most of these deals are based on you signing up for a minimum contract period of 12 months. The basic package doesn’t come with any of the popular movie channels or the sport channels though – so you’ll have to stump up the extra cash for these.
The basic package with Sky costs £21.50 per month – but this can rise to over £50 per month with HD, sports and movies added on. Where possible take advantage of one of the new customer deals that Sky offer, or the promotional codes they sometimes give out. Another cost you need to factor in is installation and the cost of the box – if you get lucky they might be running a deal where these are free, otherwise you’ll have to pay for them. Make sure you check whether your student accommodation has a satellite dish prior to moving in.
You can get various discounts on Sky phone and broadband package when you take out a TV package with them.
3. BT Vision
BT Vision starts from just £4 per month. For the best deal on BT Vision you’ll need to take out their phone and broadband package too. The Vision+ box that BT supply is a great piece of kit and it allows you to record your favourite shows – as well as pause and rewind live TV (much like the Sky box does).
BT Vision is an increasingly popular choice for students looking for a TV package – but just bear in mind some channels you can get on Sky are not available on BT Vision.
4. Virgin Media
It depends where you are in the country as to whether or not you can get Virgin Media’s TV service. They rely on you being on the cable network – which many towns and cities still don’t have access to. Another issue with Virgin Media is the fact they have an 18 month minimum contract period as well as a £40 setup fee. Virgin Media’s packages do start from £7 per month however.
Be careful when entering into contracts
Many TV packages require you to enter into a contract of 6, 12 or even 24 months. Be extremely careful because the chances are you won’t still be living in your student accommodation when the contract is up. Companies won’t simply wave you out of a contract either – once you’ve signed it you’re liable to pay every single month’s fee in full. Some companies will allow you to buy yourself out of a contract, but this can be very, very expensive.
Get a TV License
We’ve already covered TV licensing laws and regulations in detail on this website – but just in case you’re in any doubt, we thought we’d reiterate it. If you’re watching live TV as it airs, or you’re recording live TV (on a Sky Plus box, for example), you must buy a TV License. Failure to do so could land you with a fine in excess of £1,000.
Remember for the months you’re not at university, if you’re back at home with your parents who do have a TV License, you can claim a refund from the TV License people. Also remember only one TV License is needed per student house – so if there are five of you, split it five ways (assuming you all watch TV).
Watching TV catchup services like iPlayer and ITV Player does not require you to have a TV License.
Watch out for deals where “all is not as it seems”
Every now and then you’ll get a letter through from various different TV providers offering you a top of the range service, for just a fraction of the usual price. One letter that I get every month is from BT, offering me BT vision for “just £4”. I actually called them up once to take advantage of what appeared to be a brilliant offer – before I confirmed my bank details with them for a direct debit I double checked there weren’t any hidden charges – and you’ve guessed it, there were. They wanted a £40 upfront payment for the box, then even more money to connect it and send the box out to me. In the end, what seemed like an amazing deal turned out to be an extremely expensive TV box. Of course I declined in the end and hung up – but the lesson here is to be vigilant and always check the small print!
The best way to watch your favourite free to air programs is to use iPlayer or another TV catchup service. You don’t have to pay the TV License fee then, and you can pretty much watch your programs whenever you like. If you absolutely must have a TV package make sure you budget accordingly for it – and make sure you pick up a TV License!