Millions of Sky customers across Sky Broadband and Sky TV are facing a price increase in March, with the average rise standing at £67/year.
With the increases also affecting Sky Glass and Sky Stream customers, there’s some good news – customers who purchased either of Sky’s streaming-based devices after October 18, 2022, won’t face an increase – even if they’re under an 18-month contract.
But those who purchased Sky Glass earlier – along with Sky Q (or older) devices and Sky Broadband customers – will face an average increase of 8.1% (see full details below).
And while Sky Broadband customers can use the upcoming price hike to leave Sky – even if they’re still under contract – the same isn’t true for Sky TV customers, who won’t be able to ditch long-term contracts due to the upcoming price increase.
If, however, you’re out of contract (or less than 31 days before it ends) – this is the best time to check the market – for better broadband and TV deals – and either switch or haggle with Sky for a better price.
If you’ve been on the fence about cutting the TV cord, it’s now your chance to potentially save hundreds of pounds a year, and still keep watching a lot of excellent TV.
Almost everything on Sky’s TV service can be found on plans and services that don’t require long contracts, including via Sky’s own streaming service, NOW (where some prices are also going up), and Sky’s standalone streaming box – see ahead.
Sky’s 2023 Price Increase: Who Is Affected?
Sky’s broadband and TV customers will see pricing changes on their April 2023 bills – and notifications have started going out this week.
It’s hard to predict a specific increase for each and every customer, as Sky offers so many different deals, bundles and devices – but across TV and Broadband, the average price increase is 8.1% (£5.60/month).
Sky Glass / Sky Stream Price Increases
As we previously reported, Sky recently increased the price of its Sky Glass TVs for new customers.
However, we can now report that customers who purchased Sky Glass before October 18, 2022 – will also see a price increase from April – not for the TV hardware itself (as those are simply loan instalments) – but on the content plan you’re subscribed to (Sky Ultimate / Sky Cinema / etc.).
The 4K TV set features a QLED HDR display and a built-in Dolby Atmos soundbar with six speakers.
Unlike Sky’s traditional UK services, Sky Glass doesn’t use a satellite dish – instead, it relies on broadband, and streams all the content to the TV, much like other streaming devices like the Amazon Fire TV and Roku – or streaming services like Sky’s own NOW (see our Sky Glass VS Now comparison), and the newer Sky Stream, the streaming set-top box from Sky.
When you buy Sky Glass directly from Sky, you pay separately for the TV itself (the device), and for Sky’s channels and services.
You can choose whether to pay the whole amount for the TV upfront – or in instalments (either 24 or 48). Keep in mind that those instalments are a loan – you will need to be credit checked, and your credit score will get damaged if you miss any payments.
The loan method also means it’s not part of your subscription – so even if you leave Sky, you’ll have to finish paying for the TV. On the other hand, once you’re done with those instalments – you own the TV.
This also means that instalments won’t go up when Sky raises its prices – as you’re still paying for the same original amount.
But back on October 18, when Sky launched its Sky Stream puck – it also raised the prices of its streaming content plans for new Sky Glass (and Stream) subscribers, while also adding an option to sign an 18-month contract (where before, Sky Glass’ content add-ons were only available with rolling 31-day contracts).
At the time, existing Sky Glass customers were exempt from this content price increase – but alas, from April, existing Sky Glass customers who are still paying pre-October 18 prices – will have to start paying the new content prices.
This means that:
Sky Ultimate, the basic package that includes Sky Entertainment and Netflix Basic, will go up from £26/month to £29/month if you stay on the rolling contract. It will remain £26/month if you switch to the 18-months contract.
Sky Cinema will go up from £11/month to £13/month – again, unless you switch to the 18-month contract.
Sky Sports will go up from £25/month to £27/month for existing rolling-contract subscribers.
Sky Kids will go up from £5/month to £6/month under the same terms.
BT Sport will jump up from £24/month to £30/month (And that’s for everyone – there are no long-term contract options for BT Sport via Sky).
Then there’s the 4K and Dolby Atmos add-on pack, which used to cost £5/month – and will now go up to £6/month, regardless of your contract length.
If you want to be able to watch in other rooms – you need the “Whole Home” add-on, which used to cost £10/month along with a £50 one-off cost for each Sky Stream puck.
The Whole Home add-on will now go up to £12/month, regardless of your contract length.
As mentioned, customers who bought Glass (or Stream) after October 18, are already familiar with these price points – as that’s what they’re already paying. Those customers will NOT see any additional price increases in April.
Remember, however, that if you bought Sky Glass before October 18 – that means you’re on a rolling 31-day contract for the content packs. This means you can cancel them at any point (though you’ll still have to pay for Glass itself, if you’re paying via instalments).
This also means that – as some Glass customers reported on social media – you can try to haggle with Sky about these content plan price increases, and may end up paying even LESS than before.
Regarding the upcoming price increase, a Sky spokesperson told Cord Busters:
“This is not a decision we have taken lightly. We have tried to minimise the impact to customers with an average price increase across all our broadband and TV customers of 8.1%, which is below levels of inflation again this year.
“Competitors’ average increase over the last two years has been nearly double Sky’s average increase over the same period.”
Can I Watch TV Without A Sky Subscription?
As with any price increase, this may be the perfect moment to consider cutting the TV cord.
What does cord cutting mean? We have a comprehensive guide about that, but in general terms, it means ditching traditional pay-TV companies like Sky, at least for their TV services – and signing up directly with lower-cost streaming services like Netflix and Disney+.
Getting Freeview / Freesat Without Sky
If you casually watch Freeview channels, you don’t even need a recording box – every TV sold in the UK after 2010 already has a Freeview tuner built-in.
As long as you have decent reception in your house, you just need to connect an aerial (it can even be a cheap indoor aerial in many cases)
If you do want to be able to record Freeview channels (and then watch later, plus be able to pause, rewind and fast-forward live channels), you can get a Freeview recording box like the Manhattan T3-R (you can see more of our recommended Freeview boxes here).
A Freeview recording box like that typically costs around £160 (depending on how much digital storage space you want for your recordings). True, that’s not exactly cheap – but remember, this is a one-time cost.
Once you have the Freeview box and decent Freeview reception, you don’t need to pay anyone else for the privilege of watching and recording Freeview, ever again (Well, except for the annual TV licence – but that’s also true when you’re with Sky).
The Manhattan T3-R also supports Freeview Play, so it comes with streaming apps for all the major public broadcasters – BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All4 and more (plus a BritBox app, which isn’t currently available on Sky).
If you want more information, see our full Freeview Guide.
Another option that is particularly suitable for many Sky subscribers is Freesat – which is similar to Freeview, but reaches your house via a satellite dish – like the one you already have for Sky.
If you leave Sky, the dish remains at your house in most cases – and, for most, would then be suitable for Freesat (though some would need to make small adjustments to the dish – something that can easily be done by an expert).
At that point, you would need a Freesat receiver/recording box – see more in our Best Freesat Boxes roundup.
Getting A Streaming Device Without Sky
Next, we want to be able to watch streaming services – either the paid ones like Netflix, or the free catch-up ones from public broadcasters, like BBC iPlayer and ITVX.
For that, you first need broadband, of course (and preferably high-speed broadband) – so you can either stay with Sky Broadband or switch to a better broadband deal elsewhere.
Next, you need a streaming device. If you have a Smart TV from the past 5-6 years or so, there’s a good chance you already have most of the major streaming apps and services built into your TV.
If not, you can buy a dedicated streaming stick – these are small, cheap devices that give you access to a huge library of apps and services.
The price range can be wide, but you mainly need to decide whether you want a 4K streaming stick, or if HD (1080p) is enough for you. In most cases, I would go for a 4K stick, as that future-proofs your purchase, even if you don’t currently have a 4K TV.
And – if you’re adamant about staying with Sky TV – because of their original content, channels or sports – you don’t have to sign long-term contracts these days, as you can sign up for Sky Stream, the standalone streaming box – on a rolling 31-day contract.
Sky Stream even lets you watch Freeview channels without an aerial (via broadband) – though that will only work as long as you remain a Sky subscriber. If you unsubscribe – the box will stop working.
Also, you can simply get Sky’s content via their standalone streaming service – NOW – which doesn’t even require a “special” box from Sky – as it works as an app on most of the streaming services sold in the UK.