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UK Digital TV Subscriptions – How Do They Compare

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Digital TV has been overhauled in recent years, taking advantage of new technologies and launching new features. As well offering a range of channels, some of which are in HD, many digital TV subscriptions also offer hard drive recording, live pausing, catch up streaming via broadband and premium channels. Freesat, YouView, Top Up TV and Sky are some of the UK’s most popular digital providers, and their features and prices all vary. Sky

One of the leading digital providers, Sky have a range of TV packages. The entry-level package offers the typical free to air channels, as well as 40 additional premium channels, several of which are exclusive to Sky. The Sky+ box allows users to pause, rewind and record live TV, and they have recently launched a new catch up service. Subscribers can also choose a HD and 3D subscription, as well as having the option to add sport and movie channels to their package.

Sky also offer a Freesat package, which has 250 channels for a one-off payment cost of £175 (including installation). A standard digital box and dish is required for installation, but their freesat service does not have HD channels.


Freesat was one of the first digital providers to offer the features of satelliete TV without the subscription costs. Freesat boxes can be purchased at most electrical retailers and supermarkets, and installation is quick and easy. Freesat digital boxes vary in price and they are produced by a range of manufacturers. The more expensive boxes offer HD channels, catch up TV and 1TB of hard drive space for recording. Standard boxes receive free to air channels, but have no recording or live pausing features.


YouView is a new digital provider which also offers customers the features of satelliete TV, such as HD channels and live pausing. The YouView digital TV recorder has a seven day catch up service which has programmes from BBC iPlayer, 4OD, ITV Player and Demand 5. YouView also has an on demand feature, providing a library full of TV series, films and radio. Users don’t pay subscription costs, and they can easily set up Youview at home by connecting a TV aerial and broadband connection.

Top Up TV

Top Up TV is a freeview service which allows users to subscribe to premium sport and movie channels. The Top Up TV digital box is £39.99, and it receives more than 40 free to air channels. Users can add a sports package, with ESPN and Sky Sports channels, and a movie and catch up TV package. Additional packages have a one-off connection fee charge, and users enter into a monthly subscription cost for the premium services.

Digital TV customers in the UK have a range of subscription options to choose from. Customers should consider that digital boxes with added features like live recording and catch up services are more expensive than standard freeview boxes. They should decide what features they will benefit from and whether they are happy with just receiving the free to air channels, or if they would also like live recording options and on demand libraries.

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