How does FreeSat compare with Sky

nheather

Distinguished Member
I have been a Sky customer for many years. Recently I have been reflecting on how much it costs and how much we actually use it.

I predominantly watch Netflix, Prime and Disney+ and if it were just me I would ditch Sky and the licence. There are a few things I watch on Sky but not that many and I could do without. My daughter and son feel the same way.

My wife is the issue though. She doesn’t go anywhere near Netflix, Prime and Disney+ herself. She just watches Sky, but when I look at what she actually watches it is mostly just the free to air channels (BBC and ITV), she very rarely ventures into the Sky channels that we are paying a fortune for.

We are just about to come to the end of a deal which will mean paying £54 a month unless I commit to another 12 or 18 month period to get a better deal. This is just for the standard entertainment plus HD and multi-room.

The challenge is the delivery system. My wife likes the way that Sky works so much so she thinks it is reasonable to pay £54 a month because of the way it allows her to watch BBC1. We have multi-room but again that barely gets used. But she does like having the facility there and being able to record, series link, catch up, on-demand.

I realise that on paper the new Freesat boxes can do all that (multi-room excluded) on paper but how well does it do it.

Has anyone here gone from Sky Q to FreeSat - if so, how would you compare the experience of using the two systems.

Cheers,

Nigel
 

logiciel

Moderator
To start with you should be paying a lot less!
 

TJT1

Member
And secondly, if you watch 'live YV you cannot legally 'loose the TV licence'.
The main difference between Sky and Freesat is the EPG. On Freesat you don't get dozens of programmes that you can't watch. The transmitted programme material is exactly the same broadcast from the same satellite(s).
Have you considered Freeview terrestrial. Much easier for multi-room. No fancy boxes needed. You just need an aerial.

PS. All platforms will allow your wife to watch BBC1
 

nheather

Distinguished Member
And secondly, if you watch 'live YV you cannot legally 'loose the TV licence'.

Well aware of that, where have I suggested any different?

Aerial reception is very marginal where I live. The town where I live sits in a slight bowl. The two nearest transmitters are a fair distance away, the nearest (25 miles) one is relatively low powered, the next is much higher powered but 40 miles away. I would need to have a new aerial on a tall mast installed to get a reliable picture. And we don’t have aerial cabling distributed around the house so multi-room would not be strait-forward.

Cheers,

Nigel
 
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nheather

Distinguished Member
To start with you should be paying a lot less!

I acknowledged that I should be paying less (I just haven’t taken it up with them yet, but question whether it would be a lot less. The last few times I have demanded a deal I have got one but not a huge saving.

The £54 is full price, I did say I could get another deal, but in my experience, if I got it down to £44 that would be a good deal but still expensive given how it gets used. So whether it is £648 or £528 per year just to watch BBC1 (plus £155 licence fee) the point I’m making is it is expensive.

My current package is

Entertainment - £29
Box Sets - £6
HD - £5
Multi-Room - £14

Need entertainment because that is how my wife wants to watch BBC1.

Need multi-room because once in a blue moon my wife wants to watch BBC1 in the bedroom.

Need HD because I consider that is standard quality these days, shocked that you have pay extra for it to be honest. My wife would happily was everything in SD on the 65”, you can really see the low resolution easily but she claims not to be able to and even when the difference is pointed out she says she doesn’t care. So the HD is something I insist on.

Box sets, possibly the only thing we could drop but I’ve left it on to now because to be honest I’m never quite sure whether the older stuff my wife watches is coming from catch up or box sets.

So out of interest how much do you think I should be paying for those £54 full price packages? It would be useful to know if I go into another negotiation.

I have broadband and phone with them too but that is on a reasonable deal. That is easy though because I just find an offer like PlusNet and they have to match or better because they know that I could simply switch to it without giving up any of the services I currently have.

Cheers,

Nigel
 

kbfern

Distinguished Member
Freeview/Freesat and a firestick or similar unless your tv is already smart will give you all you want other than sky stuff. If you still want some of the non premium sky get a Now tv stick about £25 + under a tenner a month for most of the basic sky channels.

Amazon product
A freeview/sat recorder will cost from £100 and up and will give you a dead easy to use epg and you can do series recording at the touch of a button. That Manhattan unit would be my choice and was reviewed recently on the forums.


I had SKY for years and is poor value, spend a couple of hundred now and save loads of dosh in the long run.
 
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nheather

Distinguished Member
Would need to be recordable and do live stuff to meet my wife’s needs, so a FireStick would be out of the question - besides already have Fire TV and a Smart TV, my wife won’t touch them.

I’ve been looking at the FreeSat 1TB which is around £200.

Looks quite good, will work with my Q dish, but the few things I am unsure about are

  • How does the user interface compare with Sky‘s - features, looks and ease of use
  • Can you do things like series-link (I assume you can)
  • How does catch up and on-demand work. Can you download it or is it streaming only. I think this may be a stumbling point because I don’t think it can.
I guess I could buy one from Amazon and send it back if I don’t like it.

Cheers,

Nigel
 

grahamlthompson

Distinguished Member
Would need to be recordable and do live stuff to meet my wife’s needs, so a FireStick would be out of the question - besides already have Fire TV and a Smart TV, my wife won’t touch them.

I’ve been looking at the FreeSat 1TB which is around £200.

Looks quite good, will work with my Q dish, but the few things I am unsure about are

  • How does the user interface compare with Sky‘s - features, looks and ease of use
  • Can you do things like series-link (I assume you can)
  • How does catch up and on-demand work. Can you download it or is it streaming only. I think this may be a stumbling point because I don’t think it can.
I guess I could buy one from Amazon and send it back if I don’t like it.

Cheers,

Nigel

Catch up is streaming only. If you have a very slow download speed it may be a problem as would Netflix.

If you have unlimited 4G data you can set up a mobile WiFi hotspot on your mobile device and connect your freesat box to that.

Enigma 2 android based boxes can record from a epg and also stream recordings to other kit on your network so similar to SKy-Q mini boxes.
 

Flynch191

Well-known Member
I moved from sky a few good years ago now... just before sky Q so can’t comment on that. I miss all the c&@p channel flicking I used to do..:) but not the price. I went and bought a FreeSat Humax box.. paid for itself after a few months and saved £££ each year since. Now thinking about the new 4K FreeSat boxes but not enough content out there to warrant upgrading so will keep the Humax for now.

The remote was a cheap plastic thing but I have always used a harmony remote. epg is good and easy to use the catchup services.. going backwards in the epg and picking a show is easy and quick.

Picture quality is very good and I don’t miss all those horrible channels that aren’t HD.. upscaled they looked terrible... some channels are also on FreeSat but I don’t watch that much live TV and having less channels than sky we don’t channel flick as much.

We record if we need or use catchup services if we miss something.

bbci player and the other catchup/Netflix/prime etc is enough for our family. I just don’t see sky worth what they charge. For our house anyway.. others will get more out of sky but for us the change was the right thing to do.

Nothing to stop you giving it a go .. you can always go back to sky if things don’t work out.
Good luck :smashin:
 

nheather

Distinguished Member
One question - can you record catch-up or on-demand.

This is often how my wife will watch something on BBC. She will spot something that she fancies and it will be episode 5. She will then download all the previous episodes so that they are in the downloads section of the planner, then she will watch them over a period of time.

The way she watches TV is to either browse through the planner to find something to watch now - usually some rubbish about wanting to buy a house in Australia or someone wanting a garden makeover. Or it might be a drama. She doesn't really do films. And she seems to be quite happy watching season 1 of Doc Martin because it is on even though she has already watched all 8 season (or however many there are). If she sees a drama she fancies in advance she will put in on series link record and watch the recordings. If she catches a drama late she will put the remainder on series link and download the ones she has missed. She doesn't really do streaming at all.

I'm not sure even the latest FreeSat boxes can do that.

Cheers,

Nigel
 

logiciel

Moderator
You asked how much you should pay. For less than £40 I get everything but Sports, including Cinema and Netflix.
 

nheather

Distinguished Member
You asked how much you should pay. For less than £40 I get everything but Sports, including Cinema and Netflix.

That is very attractive, I would certainly go for that. May I ask how you negotiated that? Is this as a new customer or as an existing customer? Did you have to request a cancellation to trigger this?

My experience over the last few years is that they have got a lot tighter, I have managed to get £5 or £10 off but nothing like the saving you are getting. But I have never gone so far as requesting to cancel. I have simply called customer service and said that this is too much and ask what they can do.

So on top of what I have it sounds like you have Kids and Cinema, the full prices are

Entertainment - £29
HD - £5
Box Sets - £6
Multi-Room - £14
Kids - £5
Cinema - £19
TOTAL = £78

At £40 you are getting nearly 50% discount - they don't even offer that to new customers.

How many cycles (renewals) have you been through - you get a deal but it only last 12 months, maybe 18 months and then you have to go through it again.

Cheers,

Nigel
 
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Flynch191

Well-known Member
If you miss the start of the series then you need to hope it’s on catchup to watch it there. You can’t download from bbciplayer.. or I don’t think you can... maybe with some custom software install..
series link works aandyou can record one or all the series and you can also set reminders rather than downloads/recordings.
 

Flynch191

Well-known Member
I believe you will have to get to their retention dept.
That requires you to call their bluff and cancel. They will try and stop you with offers.. all depends on what they can offer at the time of the year/month. I did it every year but prices still going up a little each year until I left.
sky is the best out there but you gotta pay. some get good deals others don’t.. it’s the luck of the draw.:thumbsup:
 

nheather

Distinguished Member
If you miss the start of the series then you need to hope it’s on catchup to watch it there. You can’t download from bbciplayer.. or I don’t think you can... maybe with some custom software install..
series link works aandyou can record one or all the series and you can also set reminders rather than downloads/recordings.

Yes that is how I have read it - that is going to be a tough one to convince my wife - I wouldn't mind so much if she made full use of it but essentially paying well over £500 plus the licence fee just to watch BBC. Plus as a teacher she spends most of the evening marking and planning school work - she barely watches much TV if I am honest.

But she is going to resist swapping to something less convenient.

Cheers,

Nigel
 

kbfern

Distinguished Member
BBC I-player is stream only but recently they have changed programme content to be available for 3 months to 12 months before dropping off,so usually plenty of time to browse oldish stuff.
 

TJT1

Member
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Sky is the only media to allow recording of catchup
 

logiciel

Moderator
Experience here tells me that £40 is a normal price for what I get. I’ve been with Sky for ages. It took a brief call to get the price and it hasn’t changed since. It boils down to PPP - polite persistence pays, when and if necessary. My viewing these days though is almost all not by satellite so Sky’s days may be numbered!
 

pinnocchio

Well-known Member
Nigel

I realise what I'm about to suggest is a little bit left field of what you're currently looking at......

I run a mythtv backend that's connected to a satellite dish taking freesat channels and others (for example the regional BBC channels).

For the frontend we run Kodi on the TV's, assorted Tablets and Phones, the Kodi frontend connects to the mythtv backend server.

We can store boxsets on the mythtv server as well as recording and viewing live and as we've been running the system almost 15 years now we have pretty much everything we want historically in the library, so using you example above re Doc Martin, she wouldn't need to worry about watching Season 1 again as all the seasons are always available.

In total we have a maximum of up to 32 devices 'watching' stuff when the kids have friends around and they might all be watching something different at the same time.

Have a look at some of the youtube vids and perhaps try to setup a cheap box to let your wife play with the Kodi frontend which is pretty straightforward to use. Our system cost probably £1200 all in (including upgrading the storage a couple of times as we now have 32TB of media content) but at an annualised cost of about £80 per year it's a bargain and a lot more flexible then other options.

Of course, it requires a reasonable level of tech knowledge to setup, so YMMV.
 

nheather

Distinguished Member
Here.

And as Sky doesn't have a licence fee, I assumed that you were talking about the bog standard TV licence.
Ahh the age old AVF trick of only quote part of a sentence to change the context.

I said that I watch Netflix, Prime and Disney+ and if it were just me, I would ditch Sky and the TV Licence.

I then went on to explain that it wasn't just me, I have to consider how my wife watches TV too.

Cheers,

Nigel
 
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TJT1

Member
Selective quoting might be an age old trick Nigel, but it wasn't deliberate in this case. You asked, I pointed out, quoting just the bit that I picked up on as you seemed to take issue with me suggesting that you would still need a TV licence. It's the fact that I seem to have misunderstood your original statement is what is at fault, not my 'selective' quoting.😍

Cheers

Trev

Cheers

Trev:rotfl:
 

nheather

Distinguished Member
Selective quoting might be an age old trick Nigel, but it wasn't deliberate in this case. You asked, I pointed out, quoting just the bit that I picked up on as you seemed to take issue with me suggesting that you would still need a TV licence. It's the fact that I seem to have misunderstood your original statement is what is at fault, not my 'selective' quoting.😍

Cheers

Trev

Cheers

Trev:rotfl:

Fair enough, I can understand why you thought that if you hadn't read the whole sentence.

Cheers,

Nigel
 

Jules Tohpipi

Well-known Member
I telephoned Sky last week to cancel for similar reasons as the OP. Longstanding customer on the basic Entertainment package + HD and a Q box.

Simply told them it doesn't get used much so doesn't justify the cost.

Was immediately offered the Entertainment package (it's got a new name now) + HD + Boxsets + SkyGo for £20 per month all in. I accepted because the Sky UX beats anything hands down.
 

rs101

Well-known Member
Entertainment is now Signature and includes boxsets. If you have Q, there are often deals bundling Netflix with it for a few £ a month.
 

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