/ Technology

Why I left Sky for Plusnet TV

Pointing a remote control at a TV

After nearly 14 years as a Sky customer, I’ve just cancelled. I’ve only ever been on the basic Sky+ package but at nearly £30 a month – and with regular price hikes – it began to feel like an albatross around my neck.

The problem was, I couldn’t get rid of it because my kids wanted to watch channels like Disney and my husband wanted Eurosport. How could I save cash but keep everyone happy?

When I first got Sky, the world was a different place with painfully slow dial-up internet and buffering videos, so watching via a satellite made complete sense. But now we have super-fast fibre internet at home and watching video is no longer a tedious experience.

What’s the best way to watch TV with the family?

Sites such as YouTube have become a great place to catch up on old TV shows and all sorts of videos. But for me, TV should be about relaxing together as a family around a big screen.

This led me to experiment with devices such as the Google Chromecast and Apple TV which can send whatever you’re watching on your computer, phone or tablet, and see them on your TV. These worked fine but I felt the content was limited, – although they do offer apps such as Netflix.

What I was after was a way to watch just the channels my family love at the cheapest price. Sky seems to have gone down the opposite route, offering me more and more channels, box sets, on-the-move TV etc.

Can you have too much TV choice?

Sky is Britain’s biggest pay TV provider with lots of TV options, the widest choice of TV channels and HD channels, from sports including Premier League matches, to the latest blockbusters from Sky Movies, plus catch-up and on-demand TV content.

But it became like how I now feel going into a Tesco hypermarket after discovering the joys of Aldi. There’s just too much choice and it feels like an irritation rather than a benefit.

Ironically it was Sky’s NOWTV service that led me to leave the Sky mothership. It offered me the Disney Channel – meaning happy children! And, for less money than I was paying before, I could now also subscribe to its movie option so we can have as many family movie nights as we want rather than constantly buying DVDs.

I teamed it up with a FreeSat box and, voila, I was free!

But a month or so in, I spotted an email from my broadband provider Plusnet. It seemed to suit my needs more perfectly – Disney Channel and Eurosport (I’d had to pay for a subscription directly from it when I was with NOWTV).

Plus my nine-year-old daughter can now record any programmes she wants. She’s no child of the 1970s like me, happy to wait for the programme to be shown when the TV scheduler decides. She wants to watch what she wants when she wants so her limited tv-viewing time is used to maximum effect.

I’ve only just signed up, so it will be interesting to see how it works out in practice.

Do you think Sky is worth the cost? Have you been able to get the perfect mix of channels for the cheapest price?


Sky is a big rip-off. When I cancelled it a couple of years ago, the day after service was withdrawn, Sky phoned me and offered me 75% off for 12 months. I accepted and then paid £6.50 per month. At the end of the 12 months, I tried doing the same thing, but Sky wouldn’t offer me more than 25% off, so I cancelled it again. Over many months, Sky has sent me letters offering me a 33% off for 5 years and other similar deals, but I’m not interested any more. Sky’s failure to renew the previous 75%-off deal and my consequent lack of Sky service has shown me that I can live without Sky. Sky lost me as a customer of 15 years. The only thing I miss is Sky News in HD, but I don’t see why I should pay a subscription for HD quality of a free-to-air channel anyway.

I now have a US-based Netflix subscription instead, which costs me $9 (£5.75) per month for the middle package that costs £7.49 per month in the UK. Netflix’s content is based on the IP address where the service is used, not on the country where the subscription is based, so I get UK content when I watch it in the UK, US content when I watch it in the US, and similarly local content when I watch it in other countries.

I have a US bank account, US Amex card and US postal address. That makes it very easy. Although you can’t open a US-based Netflix account from a UK IP address.

We have had the full Sky package for over 20 years. It has come a long way since we had our first box expanded when the Disney channel came along.

You have to admit that Sky is pretty amazing.

BUT… 🙁 🙁 🙁

We record practically everything to watch at our convenience. We also record a lot more hours than we actually watch. This should not be a problem as there are times (like at the end of the winter season) when our favourite series have ended and there is nothing new recording, we have plenty of progammes recorded to catch up on.

But, what happens when a programme didn’t record properly and is unwatchable that occurs far too often and there is often no warning? No problem you think !!! Just go to Catch-Up or On Demand to download it. After all Sky keep advertising “never miss an episode” etc. But is the episode you want ever there? There might be episodes from various previous series but the recent ones only seem to be available for a week at the most.

It is so annoying not to be able to watch something we have paid to watch especially when the story has been building up…… then nothing.

Then there are the series that start on Sky, you wait for the next series only to find it is only available on the internet like Extant.

So, you turn to the internet for those missing episodes or series. 😕
And that also costs money. But those series/episodes are there when you want them, unlike Sky.

Ok, we are not that interested in the sport that has gone to BT Sport, but nevertheless, the service is diluted on Sky.

And the cost of Sky keeps going up.

So is the cost of Sky worth it?

Hardly, especially when you end up paying twice for the same programme. Sky could get away with it when the only alternative was cable TV that was not widely available. But now high-speed broadband is here and series are available on the internet when you want them not when Sky lets you have them. Sky is no longer the ultimate in TV viewing but the escalating cost does not reflect this.

I think it is time to have a rethink on our Sky subscription.

And just to add to my previous post….

When you do download a programme from Sky Catch-Up or On Demand, it can have an expiry date. So by the time you get around to watching that episode, it has gone. grrr !!!

I have Freeview through cable and it’s more than enough for me.

Topical subject, I think BBC is worth the cost, and when the TV licence is finally ditched in favour of a subsription, I will happily pay for that, even if it’s twice, three times the price. Just look at TV abroad and my case rests.

That’s a good point about the BBC. I told Sky that I wouldn’t pay more for Sky than I pay for a television licence, because the BBC is better. I also don’t understand why many of Sky’s channels are funded by both a subscription and advertising. This means that viewers are paying twice. If I’m paying for something, then I don’t expect to be bothered by advertising, whether it be television channels, smartphone apps or anything else.

Sophie, I am a fan of the BBC – they offer some good programmes that we are unlikely to find produced by commercial channels, where audience size presumably is their key objective to secure advertising. I also like the freedom from advertising breaks. However the BBC needs a radical reorganisation in its management – it is top heavy and overpaid. It needs to put money into programmes and programme makers If the future funding – whether by licence fee or by subscription – is to be effective we need an organisation run by professionals with a well-resourced and trained workforce – and not subject to political pressure and interference.
Same goes for the NHS.

Can not get cable where we live in the U.K. Some towns have it our town don’t and further along as it was never installed this far 😕 Used to love watching my cable tv now I’m on sky and get all problems with it , my broadband won’t stay up long it keeps dipping and I loose contact with people and can not play on games as they kick me out of them saying my broadband ain’t connected and we have had years of this and all that’s happened is we have been put in a lock down with the company as the ombudsman as to deal with it and sky won’t discuss the account with us but they will take our flaming money tho so how fair is that and until the ombudsman deals with it we just have to put up with it , if we leave the company we loose all chance on getting back all we have paid as sky said they won’t deal with the bill from the passed one as we just changed down from fibre to normal broadband hoping that worked , so if anyone else as this trouble 1) do not leave the company till you have got your money back , 2) do not down grade your package or change from fibre broadband to normal broadband in hope that this works as then they stop you claiming your money back from that last account , never had any of this trouble with cable none at all

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I’ve been with Sky since 1990 (I decided against British Satellite Broadcasting) and it is too expensive. I take sport but not movies and I’m still paying £801 per year. I must be mad.

Time to look at alternatives like Virgin (I already have the 50Mb service currently which gives me free Netflix) but not TalkTalk.

Mabel says:
8 July 2015

As Sky has outbid all others for the rights to all important golf tournaments – even The Open from 2017 – I now have to decide if I should give up on viewing golf or look at cheaper alternatives to Sky. Sky sports plus a basic TV channel package will cost £45 per month and that is way too much from my income. I may look at Now TV and just pay for sports channels when there is an important golf tournament being played. Sky are abusing their monopoly position on sports by not allowing subscriptions to a specific sport. Nobody challenges them on this or why we have to subscribe to an entertainment channel when we only want to watch sport.

I’m getting a new TV soon and wonder if I get a smart TV will I need a Now TV box. Are smart TV’s smart enough to replace a box long term or do they all get amnesia after a period of time.

I briefly had Sky in the 1990’s however irealised the business model was going to end up with a captive garden for some sports. This , plus it menat I was paying money to the Murdoch organisation made me quit.

There is no doubt there is more content now available than any family could possibly watch. The break-up of the family in watching [and discussing] the same content I view as socially undesirable.

The internet has made the Sky model even less desirable on cost and content graounds.bu then if you are addicted to sport you may well hooked.

If I left Sky, I’d really miss Sky Atlantic.

Mabel says:
8 July 2015

How long do you have to view after buying a box set. It would need to be a long time for each set to make it worth the money.

Sky used to have a monthly Sky Go sports pass for £30, which could be purchased by non-subscribers. This has now been discontinued and replaced by a weekly pass at £10.99 or a daily one at £6.99. Profiteering by Sky and no one cares. Despite the high charges we will still have to watch frequent adverts – yet more income for Sky.

Mabel says:
8 July 2015

I knew you didn’t get physical access to them but a month is not long enough – unless you only watch them and no other T.V. I heard you could watch on an LG Smart TV so can you download the Now TV app to any smart TV. I try not to add too many boxes to my TV since the days of having 2 videos connected. I was planning on subscribing to the £3.99 entertainment package and not bothering if I didn’t watch it very much but I will have a months trial and see if the extra channels are worth the £6.99.

Carole Worthy says:
15 July 2015

I love my SKY service. However I was surprised and irritated recently when I read on an additional sheet with a letter from SKY. ‘Important information about your order’
‘If you want a paper bill it is an extra £1.75 per month. [Lucky me I thought, I pay by DD . However I went on to read that ] “DD are also ‘CHARGED for at 50p per month”. I know it is a small amount but is it actually legal to charge me to pay my bill? If there is no alternative it seems to me that this ‘fee’ is actually part of the actual cost of the service and should be included in the advertised charges.

Can WHICH check this out please ?

Hi Carole.

I’ve taken a look at the general terms on the Sky website and these seem to effectively say that the price you pay for your TV package and equipment is ‘as-is’ and only payments made by debit card or credit card will incur an additional charge of 50p. It states on the following page that: “Prices for Direct Debit payments only. Continuous debit/credit card mandate costs 50p pm.” (http://www.sky.com/shop/tv/#accordion-content-2). This is also stated in the full Terms and Conditions (http://www.sky.com/shop/terms-conditions/new/).

If you check your bill again and find that you have been charged for paying by Direct Debit (which should not incur a charge according to the first link), rather than by debit card (which would incur a 50p charge), then you should contact Sky customer service to request that this is amended on your bill – please let us know the outcome.

phobis says:
16 August 2015

I`ve been with a few isp subscribers and they all had there good and bad points , then I moved to plusnet about 14 mths ago and i av never looked back ..its far the best broadband far the best customer service and now i just added plusnet tv it out beats all its rivals on price quality of service and best fibre broadband speeds i`ve ever had ..110% rating and more i will give this little yorkshire company who in my mind are the biggest and best when it comes to deals in broadband etc..and heres me from lancashire thinking only sheep and yorkshire tea came out of yorkshire lol…WELL DONE PLUSNET..on a little note is this the plusnet tv is great just not enuff different packages to choose from i thinks theres just the 3 the pack i signed up wiv then u can add the carttoons and the bt sports packs …cud do wiv movies and etertainment pck or something …early days yet who know what plusnet will do next ..bet its amazing though

phobis, I’m with John Lewis phone and broadband which is operated by Plusnet. No complaints – easy to talk to (in the UK!) if there is a problem. Plusnet was acquired by BT in 2007, but operates as a separate business. I wonder why it seems two different standards operate within the same group!

Hi Phobis. Ive read somewhere that you need an aerial to have plusnet tv, is it not run on cable?

sue says:
4 March 2016

im with bt my contract supposed to end 20th april 16.. but they seem to think its 23rd may 16..it was an 18- month contract taken out on 20th october 2014..now im no maths genius but from oct 2014 to april 2016 is 18 months..i have emailed them phoned them their customer service centre is in Egypt language barrier is bad..its like their reading from a script..no joy from them..if i cancel my bt before may 23rd i will be billed for three months as you pay in advance..i want to change to plusnet tv & broadband but cant because of bt being unreasonable to put it mildly.. any sugestions im thinking of contacting ofcom because im getting no resolve with bt customer services…

Peter M says:
18 October 2016

I was in an almost identical situation. I had been a Sky customer for a long time, at least by my standards, six years in our current home and at least four years in our previous. I had never liked the pricing but options at the start were very limited. The price hikes really annoyed me especially when I learned that Sky have a customer retention policy of giving people a discount when they threaten to leave and make it all the way to the last step of actually leaving. I don’t like haggling, I always feel like I’ve been lied to, even if I manage to haggle someone down. I discovered Plusnet was doing a TV service in the first week they were offering it. I had already gotten rid of my Sky broadband because the service was terrible and the customer service was abysmal; I caught them in a lie several times and they liked that about as much as I did. I had them hang up on me at least twice; once when I pointed out that in fact I don’t owe them money to return the box (it was in the contract I had, clearly written, but it had changed for new customers, another way to screw people). As soon as the Sky customer service representative realised they were wrong they straight up just hung up on me. I’ve used every major provider and arrived at Plusnet last. They’re the best by a wide margin for price, speed and service. The only good thing about Sky is that they’re not BT but that’s not exactly a benefit.

Short story: I went from paying Sky £40 per month to £11 a month with Plusnet and a YouView box. Every channel I want is there (even Disney Junior) and I’ve never been happier with any companies customer support or pricing. I’m paying less for my maximum speed, actually unlimited fibre broadband PLUS premium television than I used to pay for just Sky TV itself. The whole TV / phone / fibre broadband package is cheaper than just Sky TV with Plusnet.

Rupert Murdoch is a bit unhappy with the success of Plusnet though since he’s taken the availability of Fox away from the Plusnet TV packages… and nothing of value was lost for me, but I can still get it elsewhere if I want and it will still end up a lot cheaper. There is nothing on Sky that you can’t get elsewhere. The Sky exclusives (Sky Atlantic for example) that you may want to keep are available as single packages which can be watched on something like NowTV. It will still cost less to buy premium packages on NowTV and get the rest for a provider like Plusnet. NowTV + Plusnet = cheaper than Sky by a significant margin and you’re not losing anything.

Do yourselves a service and change to Plusnet at the first opportunity.

Pete D says:
26 January 2017

i have gone back to sky Hd Plus for a year .but wont pay £38.50 in a years time.. broadband i have plusnet fibre unlimited no problems. nowtv is very good, and i have netflix .personally sky seems to be loosing market share i hear. the modern people us will get there tv online and pay for what we want to watch that’s the way its going i think. maybe sky needs to have a rethink its very expensive for tv entertainment packages.subscription

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It’s surprising how many of us feel foolish for staying with Sky over many years once we’ve made the move to cancel for good. Like many others we have haggled with Sky for a better deal or down-graded to off-set their constant price hikes only to find within a few months along comes another subscription increase and you are back to square one. Having been with Sky for over 20 years we left March 2017. Leaving wasn’t an easy process as Sky offered one special deal after another, but all this just made us feel like we’ve been ripped-off over the years. Having got rid of this blood sucking leech, we subscribed to Netflix for less than £6 per month. Between Freeview and Netflix we haven’t missed Sky at all. We still receive emails from Sky offering stupid offers to return, most of which are under £10 per month and one offer of 6 Months Free. All this just serves to anger us; as a reminder of our foolishness for staying with them for so long.

Ben says:
24 May 2017

When we moved to our new-build house about 12 years ago, the Sky salesman was going from door to door trying to flog his wares. Excitedly, he announced that Sky were connecting up our street FOR FREE!! ) his excitement, not mine).

I wasn’t, and still aren’t, interested. The salesman couldn’t quite understand or believe that I didn’t want to sign on the dotted line right there and then…

I would go for Virgin TiVo if our street had been cabled up by Virgin, as the mark one TiVo that I had from 2002 to 2013 was far and away the best PVR I have ever used. We still miss it, despite Humax and Panasonic PVR’s. Early TiVo was ironically supported (EPG and so on) for years by Sky.

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I want to see the list of programs offered on plusnet tv+
Compared to Sky tv.
I am considering changing to you view Tv + Can I see a list of available tv channels from you view+.
I need answers now before I sigh up. I also want the total cost set up.

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Well, if there’s anyone here that is looking to change their TV provider you may want to take this into account. As someone who is currently with Virgin and I love ITV (especially with the promise of a second season of Liar) I’ll be very disappointed if this happens – https://www.which.co.uk/news/2017/11/virgin-media-subscribers-could-lose-itv/

I watch ITV (when I have to) on my tv through my freeview/freesat/tv aerial . For free. I believe there is also a free app . So I don’t see a deprivation panic should ensue. Do Virgin transmit ITV without adverts? That would be a plus.

That would be a plus, but unfortunately not – we still get the same ads 🙁 I normally watch ITV on my phone via their app so I’m not sure how much this would affect me. I do still watch it on my TV but I wouldn’t be put out to only watch it on my phone.

Do they produce programmes as good as Blue Plant II ?? 🙂

Our TV viewing is getting seriously watered down whichever TV provider/platform you choose to use.

We can’t all watch TV on the internet, and many of us want more than what is on offer from freeview.

Sky has lost many of its series to the internet and new offerings are getting dire unless you are into super-heroes and I imagine it is similar on Virgin. Repeats of box sets are not going to save it. Sports fans now have to fork out extra again on top of already paying extra for Sky Sports if they want to watch their football team play.

The industry needs to sort itself out and make content available to everyone to watch on their platform of choice.

I think this topic deserves a convo.

I wonder whether we are too “dependent” upon tv, instead of getting off the sofa and doing something more constructive? A hobby, pastime, sport, walk, reading, studying or learning a new skill or subject……or all those other things we used to do when there were just 2 tv channels in black and white.

Very true, alfa and malcolm! I watch more TV than I’d like – it’s just very easy to get into a habit of getting home and catching up on the programmes I’ve missed. My partner is a big sports fan and he pays for the full package so he can watch sports if he wants to and I was surprised he then had to pay an additions £25 (I think) to watch a boxing match!

It’s definitely worth looking into.

I know I’m going to attract some hate mail, but I believe it’s good that ITV is demanding the money. ITV was hit very badly by the advent of both cable and satellite TV, plus the erosion of advertising through Google and the like, so it badly needed the Digital Economy Act 2017 to continue making the sort of high quality drama it has. ITV’s drama output was probably the best – Foyle’s War, Morse and so on – and their production standards are extremely high. Virgin media (which is nothing to do with Virgin, BTW – it’s Cable and Wireless in disguise) have a cherry-picking model of TV distribution, yet ITV’s production is funded by everyone who buys almost anything.

So good luck to ITV, and perhaps Cable and Wireless will negotiate a price with them and ask their subscribers to pay a little more.

No hate mail from me, Ian. I do agree it’s fair to charge, especially considering their decline in advertising revenue seen at the start of the year. My real query is why £80 million, compared to the £40 million it was initially thought they would request. Obviously, I’m not expert so that figure may be valid, but I do think it would be interesting to see where they got that amount from.

It seems strange that Virgin Media should argue that, as a public service broadcaster, ITV should be available free. Well, it is – at least on my telly. What isn’t free, presumably (I don’t subscribe), is Virgin’s tv offering? As ITV being part of the palette will no doubt be part of its attraction (and income), it should pay towards ITV’s upkeep, and help it to improve its programmes. £40-80 million seems (fairly big) peanuts compared to BT’s £1200 million on the European football league ((I don’t watch football either 🙁 ).

Its difficult for a non-accountant type such as I to decipher their accounts, but “Rebased revenue growth of 3% in 2016 to £4,806 million and 1% in Q4 to £1,226.5 million, driven primarily by growth in cable subscription revenue” suggests they can easily afford the odd £80m.

I have been with sky from the off when they had 16 channels and was free but seems they have got to big for themselves like all the big companys have decided im going out to buy a youveiw box as sky is so costly even for the basic package I now just pay 25 quid cant get virgin as we dont have it in cromer Norfolk and also gonna leave bt when my contract ends early next year my look at plusnet or even talk talk time will tell will do some research for my area I also have Netflix but sky will be gone in October

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Graham – as Duncan recommends, you would probably be better off with BT in the long run.

I must say that if I lived in Cromer I wouldn’t spend much time sitting indoors watching television when there is so much fabulous coastal scenery on the doorstep and so much else to enjoy. I know the sun can sometimes be unreliable because of sea mists but when it puts its hat on, my goodness, it’s glorious.

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graham walters says:
3 December 2018

as a pensioner I cant keep affording the cost of bt over 40 quid for twinternet and fone so my contract is up in april 2019 so will look to someone else wont be sky as they are money orientated wont do plus net as owned by bt and ee is owned by sky I think and 02 is owned by sky so dont leave a lot talk talk may be a option will see nearer the time as bt ends 18 april 2019

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graham walters says:
4 December 2018

so basicly its all bt but I cant afford thier cost I pay bt over 40 quid for bb & fone but if I go to talk talk for instance for 41 quid I get fibre bb fone 24/7 and tv services were at present I am paying sky tv 30 quid for entertainment no sport or films plus 44 quid bt for fone and fibre 1 bb and the bt hub I have is 3 yrs old