TV and broadband: Best value is a combined broadband offer
IT is a great time to be a TV customer. And if you add broadband to your television deal, you can end up saving a lot of money on the bundle.
Both Sky and Virgin Media are offering substantial discounts at the moment on stand-alone TV entry deals.
A bundled service of TV, broadband and home-phone is usually the best value, though that's only the case if you actually want all three services, says Simon Moynihan of comparison site Bonkers.ie.
Some of the key factors to consider regarding broadband and digital TV packages, according to another price comparison site Switcher.ie, include the following:
- the quality of broadband service regarding speed and download allowance;
- how many channels are available;
- the cost of installation (if applicable);
- the cost of a set-top box (if applicable);
- how long the contract is for;
- and any additional landline costs.
Here are a couple of the best deals on offer right now, according to Mr Moynihan of Bonkers.ie.
Sky and Virgin Media are the only companies offering stand-alone TV deals.
Both are discounting substantially and their entry level offers are almost identical, Mr Moynihan said.
One year on the basic package with Virgin Media will cost €280 and one year with Sky will cost €283.50.
But the best value is in bundles.
When it comes to the best TV offer, Sky is now offering 20pc off all TV packages for 12 months and that includes add-ons like Sky Cinema and Sky Sports.
Sky's new discounted TV pricing starts at €23.60 per month for Sky Original TV. This will save customers €5.90 per month off normal pricing of €29.50, Mr Moynihan said.
The contract is 12 months, so discounts last for the duration of the contract.
When it comes to bundles, Mr Moynihan says the real value from Sky comes from adding broadband.
Sky is now discounting its Original TV and Unlimited Fibre Broadband offer to €49 per month for 12 months.
This package includes off-peak calls to Irish landlines.
The normal pricing is €84.50, so new customers can save €35.50 per month for the duration of the contract.
Mr Moynihan says the best TV offer comes from Virgin Media, which is now offering its entry level Mix TV package at a discounted price of €10 per month for four months.
The cost then goes up to the regular price of €30.
Customers will save €80 over regular pricing with this deal and the contract is just 12 months, he said.
As with Sky, the real value from Virgin Media comes by adding broadband, the Bonkers.ie expert said.
Virgin media is now discounting their standard 240Mb broadband, Mix TV and Anytime Mobile package to €35 per month for six months, after which it goes up to €85.
It's a 12-month contract and the year-one cost is €720, which is €132 more expensive than Sky, but for the extra money, you get more than double the broadband speed and anytime calls to Irish mobiles and landlines.
You also get a €60 Netflix voucher with this deal.
Many consumers have dramatically cut costs by ditching subscription TV services altogether to opt for free television services received via Saorview for Irish channels and Freeview for all the main British stations including all the BBCs and ITVs. Premium paid channels such as Sky Sports or Sky Movies are not available, though the free packages do include many specialist stations such as children's channels RTE Junior and CBBC.
Although you can kiss goodbye to monthly bills with these services, they do involve a one-off equipment and set-up costs starting from around €219 to €289 from installers such as freetoair.ie or billfreetv.ie.
This includes a satellite dish to receive the UK channels - though if you already have a Sky dish, you can use that - and an aerial for the Irish ones, as well as a set-top combibox to control them.
- Read more: 'You can always get a better deal'
How to switch... TV and Broadband
Check what the best price options are. The regulator Comreg has a site callcosts.ie where you can enter details of your phone and broadband usage to see how different packages compare.
You may need to look at an old bill to check when you make most of your landline calls, eg weekends, daytime or evenings. Uswitch.ie and Bonkers.ie also offer easy price comparisons with details of standalone TV packages as well as bundled offers with phone and broadband.
Check you don’t still have months left to run on your contract or you could face early-exit penalties. Contact your provider if you’re not sure.
If they’ve recently told you about a price increase, you can exit a contract within 30 days of getting notice.
If you do find a better offer from a new provider, it’s worth contacting the old one to see if they can match it or give you a better deal to keep your custom.
Get your universal account number from your phone bill as you’ll need to give this to your new provider. It’s called the Eircom account number on their bills.
Contact your new provider by phone or online and they’ll switch you at an appointed date and send out any new equipment necessary. If switching TV you’ll need to contact the old provider.