Sky or Virgin Media: which is better?

sky or virgin

Sky and Virgin Media both claim to be the UK's best broadband, TV and phone bundle provider.

It is an extremely close competition. But in this guide we'll look at some key differences between these home media giants that we think everyone should know before choosing between them.

But first: the best offers

First, though, note that the competition between Sky and Virgin Media does have one serious upside: money off for new customers.

Here are the offers currently available from each provider, they'll be worth keeping in mind as you read on.

Sky

Introduce a Friend: £100 reward of your choice each Introduce a friend to Sky TV for this offer via this link here
25% off TV for 12 months + £75 bill credit plus 12 months free Broadband Unlimited.
ends 25 Sep 2014
Sign up online to Sky TV with or without Sky Unlimited broadband for this offer here
2 years free unlimited broadband OR fibre broadband £10 per month for 1 year with Sky Sports
ends 26 Sep 2014
Sign up online to Sky Sports as a new or existing Sky TV customer for this offer here
12 months free broadband + £100 M&S voucher
ends 25 Sep 2014
Sign up online to Sky unlimited broadband without Sky TV for this offer here
6 months free Fibre broadband (£30 activation fee applies) Sign up to Sky Fibre broadband for this offer here

Find out more in our main Sky review here, there's also an option to search for deals and compare by price and other criteria there.

Virgin Media

Save up to £270 in the first 12 months on Virgin bundles
ends 22 Sep 2014
Sign up here for one of Virgin Media's pre-made bundles for this offer here
Save up to £66 on Virgin broadband and phone + free installation Sign up for Virgin Media broadband with a Virgin phone line for this offer here
Exclusive offer: 50Mb broadband + phone £5 a month for the first 6 months Sign up for this exclusive 50Mb broadband and weekend calls deal for this offer here
Save up to £57 on Virgin TV Sign up for Virgin Media TV with a Virgin phone line for this offer here
Free installation worth £49.95 Sign up for Virgin Media TV, broadband and phone for this offer here

Find out more in our main Virgin Media review here, there's also an option to search for deals and compare by price and other criteria there.

Availability

Also well worth comparing early on is availability for your home: Sky TV is available almost anywhere in the country and broadband is widely available too; Virgin Media fibre is only available to around 50% of homes.

Enter your postcode in the box below to check availability for both.

Note that if Sky is listed as 'not available', you may still be able to get Connect broadband, their 'out of area' deal.

Phone number:
Postcode:
Enter your phone number and / or postcode above to check availability in your area.

Quick compare: So, who's best for...


Can't decide between
Sky and Virgin?

Take a quick look at which provider is ahead in the categories important to you by choosing from the selection on the left.

More detail: find out who's best on...

Price

(Seemingly) simple question: who can give you all the features you want cheapest?

Broadband and calls only

If you want decent broadband and calls only Sky are the cheapest.

If you don't mind ditching the phone line (impossible with Sky) Virgin Media is even cheaper.

Package Price Line rental Total monthly
Sky Sky Broadband Unlimited + Talk Weekends Free
for 12 mths,
then £10
£15.40 £15.40
for 12 mths,
then £25.40
Visit Sky
Virgin Media Virgin Media 50Mb broadband £26.50 N/a £26.50 Visit Virgin Media
Virgin Media Virgin Media 50Mb Broadband + Weekend calls £7.50
for 6 mths,
then £15.50
£15.99 £23.49
for 6 mths,
then £31.49
Visit Virgin Media

Budget bundles

Virgin Media win this race with their Big Easy deal, offering a downsized version of their smallest M+ TV package, just 60 channels, and bundling 30Mb broadband and weekend calls.

It's hard for Sky to beat as their budget broadband is only suitable for light browsing and emails.

All in all, we think Virgin Media are the best budget bet.

Package Price Line rental Total monthly
virgin media Virgin Media Big Easy Bundle £15
for 12 mths,
then £20
£15.99 £30.99
for 12 mths,
then £35.99
Visit Virgin Media
Sky Sky TV Original + Broadband Lite + Talk Weekends £16.13
for 12 mths,
then £21.50
£15.40 £31.53
for 12 mths,
then £36.90
Visit Sky

Large bundles

We've picked out two 'large' bundles with a good number of TV channels for each provider (135 for Virgin Media, 320 for Sky of which about 50 are Freeview, with no HD), standard set top boxes, unlimited broadband (Sky: up to 16Mb, Virgin: up to 50Mb) and an anytime call plan.

As you can see below, it's very much neck and neck but Sky are slightly cheaper and, as we update this, have a longer introductory period.

Package Price Line rental Total Monthly
virgin media Virgin Media TV L with TiVo, Broadband 50Mb + Talk Weekends £26.50
for 6 mths,
then £36.50
£15.99 £42.49
for 6 mths,
then £52.49
Visit Virgin Media
Sky Sky TV Variety + Broadband Unlimited + Talk Weekends £21
for 12 mths,
then £35.50
£15.40 £36.40
for 12 mths,
then £50.90
Visit Sky

Note that we custom made the Virgin Media bundle using their 'build your own' tool to make the two deals as closely comparable as we could.

Line rental and calls

Finally, as you might have noticed above, Sky's line rental is a little cheaper than Virgin's: £15.40 a month rather than £15.99, or £7.08 less over the course of the year.

That's not a one-off: Sky continue to kick Virgin Media up and down when it comes to call costs as our table shows.

Inclusive
Weekend Calls
Inclusive
Evening & Weekend Calls
Inclusive
Anytime Calls
Sky £15.40 n/a £20.40
Virgin Media £15.99 £20.59 £23.99

TV

First things first: how many channels are up for grabs?

We count them up in the table below, note that we didn't include HD channels.

Freeview VM: M VM: M+ VM: L VM: XL Sky: Original Sky: Variety Sky: Family
50* 60 120 170 230 35 + 240 free 80 + 240 free 80 + 240 free

*Give or take, this is area dependent.

From these figures it looks as though Sky are offering far more channels but note that their channel count includes a lot of extra channels, like +1 channels showing all the same shows an hour later.

Budget channel choice

sky programming guide
Sky TV programming guide

As you can see from the table above, Virgin Media seem like a good choice for those looking for a basic budget TV deal: M+ TV is offering just a bit more than Freeview.

However, while Virgin's M TV with basic broadband and calls is just £20 (Big Easy), Sky's basic bundle deal is about the same price and, as you can see above, you get a lot more channels.

In other words: certainly where TV is concerned, you get more for your money with Sky.

On demand content

Both Sky and Virgin offer TV on demand with catch up from the past seven days and limited other TV content as standard.

Virgin Media's increases dependent on the TV pack:

Sky describe their catch up and extra content service as the UK's biggest, though content depends on the subscription.

Catch up services are available with both the Original and Variety TV options, Variety subscribers can catch up on their extra channels, mainly kids shows and documentaries.

Free box sets on demand are only available with the Family option and Movies On Demand are only available with the Movies pack, which is £16.50 a month.

Sky also run a good flexible option: Now TV, which is like Netflix read more here.

HD channels

Sky offer 11 Freeview HD channels with Original and Variety TV and 50 with Family.

Virgin Media include their HD channels for free but Sky do offer much more choice than Virgin as you can see in our quick count of HD channels below.

Freeview VM: M+ VM: L VM: XL Sky: Family
10 11 11 43 50

The extra HD channels Sky have include Eurosport HD, Sky Sports News HD and National Geographic HD, Sky Atlantic HD, ITV 3 HD, ITV 4 HD and Universal HD.

virgin media hd channels
Virgin Media HD channels

Note that the figures above don't include sports and movies channels in HD.

With both Sky and Virgin there's an extra charge for premium channels in high definition.

So, for example, to get Sky Sports in HD you'd need to take:

It's a similar deal with Virgin, HD is £7 a month extra.

This is pretty shocking overcharging, we think, but since both providers are at it this situation is likely to continue.

All in all, though, Sky appear to be the clear HD winner.

Sky Sports

As you might have guessed from the above, competition between Sky and Virgin on the Sky Sports channels is fierce.

As a rule of thumb, Virgin are slightly cheaper with just TV but once you start adding in the cost of broadband and calls Sky offer the cheaper deals.

That's especially true at the moment because for a limited time, though we're not sure when the end date is, Virgin are offering a Sky Sports Season Ticket for £150 upfront, with the Big Bang and Big Kahuna bundles. That's about £120 cheaper than paying month by month.

For more guidance on this see our full Sky Sports guide and, if you want the BT Sports channels, see this guide.

Broadband

This is an easy one. At face value.

Clearly Virgin offer the fastest broadband but heavy downloaders might have a problem with their fair use restrictions. Sky are offering a truly unlimited broadband connection for a very good price and, for those that use the internet rarely, an appealing 'free' broadband deal.

Each provider's main broadband deals:

Speed Usage Line rental Price
Sky Up to 17Mb Unlimited £15.40 Free
for 12 mths,
then £10
Visit Sky
Sky Up to 38Mb Unlimited £15.40 Free
for 6 mths,
then £20
Visit Sky
Virgin Media Up to 50Mb Unlimited £15.99 £7.50
for 6 mths,
then £15.50
Visit Virgin Media
Virgin Media Up to 100Mb Unlimited £15.99 £15
for 12 mths,
then £20.50
Visit Virgin Media
Virgin Media Up to 152Mb Unlimited £15.99 £22.50
for 12 mths,
then £28
Visit Virgin Media

Speeds

Virgin Media are offering one of the fastest broadband services in the UK.

As you can see from the above table even Virgin's cheapest up to 50Mb package is quicker than Sky's up to 38Mb fibre deal and much faster than their standard broadband.

As our guide explains, Virgin's cable service much more efficient than standard broadband.

For example, standard Sky broadband speeds will be affected primarily by distance from the exchange - so if you live a long way from your exchange this will play a part in the speeds you experience. Because it uses cable, Virgin Media broadband is much less affected by distance attenuation.

Here's what that means in terms of real speeds, according to Ofcom tests from April 2014.

Advertised Speed Average over 24 hours Average at peak times
(8-10pm weekdays)
sky Sky ADSL 8.8Mb - 10.6Mb 8.7Mb - 10.6Mb
sky Up to 38Mb* 31.4Mb - 34.2Mb 31Mb - 33.9Mb
virgin media Up to 60Mb 59.2Mb - 60.4Mb 57.5Mb - 59.3Mb
sky Up to 76Mb* 61.6Mb - 68Mb 60.8Mb - 67.2Mb
virgin media Up to 120Mb** 113.2Mb - 116.7Mb 106.1Mb - 111.5Mb

* These are BT Infinity averages, the network used by Sky.

** No data available for 152Mb, which hadn't been launched at the time of this research.

That said, Virgin Media broadband has come in for some stick for its traffic management policy which slows heavy users during peak times, and this is something worth bearing in mind especially on the cheaper packages.

Additionally, contention (the number of users signed up to the provider in your area) particularly at peak times (during the evening and at weekends) can affect both providers.

'Unlimited' service

Sky broadband (except Lite) offer truly unlimited usage with no download limits or traffic management.

Virgin's deals are also unlimited, though the very heaviest broadband users may face some restrictions. For more information check out our guide on fair use policies.

Budget broadband

Right at the other end of the scale, Sky also win for those that just want a very basic broadband connection for browsing and email.

Everyday Lite has a usage allowance of just 2GB, the UK's smallest, but it has a price to match: free with Sky TV.

Check our broadband usage guide to see whether you could nab broadband for 'free'.

Out of area broadband

Note that those who aren't in a Virgin Media cable area are out of luck: the provider no longer offers ADSL 'National' broadband.

Sky broadband is much more widely available and, where they can't supply the main deals, they do offer an 'out of area' service called Sky Connect, which is available in a TV bundle.

Here's more detail on the Connect deal. As you can see it has a smaller download allowance, it's also likely to be slower.

Package Price Line Rental Total Monthly
Sky Sky TV
+ Connect 40GB
+ Wkend calls
£33.13
for 12 mths,
then £38.50
£15.40 £48.53
for 12 mths,
then £53.90
Visit Sky

Not sure whether you're in the main pricing area for Sky or Virgin? Just check with our postcode and phone number search.

Hardware

Sky and Virgin both offer HD-ready set top boxes with their deals for free as well as better quality set top hardware for an additional cost.

sky+ hd box
Sky's + HD box

Standard set top boxes

Both set top boxes offer the following standard features:

• Pause and rewind live TV

• Record two channels at once and store on the box

• Access extra on demand content

The main difference between the two is storage. Sky's box has 250GB, enough for about 185 hours of standard definition (SD) recording. Virgin's TiVo box has 500GB, enough for about 250 hours of SD.

virgin media tivo
Virgin Media's Tivo box

Better set top boxes

In addition to their free box options, both Virgin Media and Sky offer better set top boxes for an additional cost.

That advantage of both is basically more space to store recorded TV shows: one Terabyte (TB) of storage is enough to store about 500 hours of content in standard definition.

VM: 1TB
TiVo box
Sky: 2TB
Sky+ HD box
£49.95
or free with Big Daddy deal
£5/month for TiVo service except with Big bundle
View box
£149 only with Family bundle
Or £49 for existing customers, again only when they take or upgrade to Family.
View box

Note that a TiVo box is now standard for all new customers but those that don't take one of the main 'Big Bundles' (Big Easy, Big Bang etc) will have to pay an extra £5 a month for the actual TiVo service.

TiVo's main selling point is a clear and intuitive user interface as well as the following:

New customers can save £5 a month by choosing the V HD box instead, but note that this box can't record TV.

Quick Poll

So, who did you choose? Sky or Virgin?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Comments

1
4 August 2014
eduardo

My advice would be Sky for the entertainment, and for phone and broadband without doubt, Virgin Media.

2
9 April 2014
JaycJ

Sky have been excellent with me. They gave me 3 months free when I was made redundant a few years ago. I then got a new job and had to move. They then installed a new dish for free. My old plus box died and they replaced it with a 1TB no problem just had to sign for another 12 months. Only criticism I had was the 1TB box SD channels were poor quality compared to the old Plus Box but now everything is in HD its no longer an issue. I don't have the broadband but the TV pack is very good.

3
10 March 2014
Shane

Sky is better than Virgin you don't miss out on Sky Atlantic and you get all Sky Sports in HD and other channels that are missing on Virgin, plus line rental is cheaper than Virgin Media broadband is, plus Virgin charge you the same as Sky for the top package but you get less channels and charge you more for Sky Sports and Movies as well.

4
1 February 2014
Thebern

Sky charge for HD and also for repairs when out off contract, also the Sky picture stops with snow or heavy rain.

5
15 January 2014
Rusty

Been with Virgin for many years. But they don't reward loyal customers.
Sky are currently doing 12 months 25% off and cash back (depending on package). So got the extra plus and multi room for £25 a month for 12 months.

Keeping Virgin broadband and phone line at £40 a month.

Will be saving £15 a month doing this.

Quick tip: Virgin retention are extremely well trained - if you kick and scream, they'll do something for you, I just can't find anything to really kick off about.

So, Sky TV and Virgin broadband for us.

6
3 January 2014
Jason

I've just joined Sky, I get the Extra Entertainment + package (Sky Plus HD box and installation inc) plus unlimited broadband and free weekend calls for £35.15 a month, it should be £54.90 but I get half price TV and broadband for 12 months so I'm really pleased with what I get and I think the price is fantastic as it's what I'm paying now a month with BT but I don't get the TV and I'm on a 40GB download limit.
I tried looking at Virgin but it isn't available in my area and even if it was looking at what I get with Sky I wouldn't bother with Virgin anyway!

7
19 December 2013
Holz

I am with Virgin Media at the moment. I've had no big problems with the internet, sure it's been down a couple of times but Sky was just as bad. The TV however, I have had issues with. The box resets itself every 15 mins! Drives me crazy. I rang up customer services who seemed to not believe a word I said, said they'd monitor it & call back but never did! TV channels are bad too and I have M+. Now I'm thinking about changing my TV to Sky. I find Virgin Media so easy to navigate through but I'm sure I'll get used to Sky once I get it again.

8
3 December 2013
Peter Schofield

Virgin Media don't represent value for money. I've been a customer for in excess of 10 years. I've had 2 service outages a week after my contract has ended and Virgin sent me a letter advising of a price increase of £5.75 a month effective Feb 2014. I complained and all they offered me was £5 a month as an incentive to stay. What a complete joke!

9
23 November 2013
T

I have had Virgin TV, now have Sky, miles better, loads more channels than Virgin, and a great on-demand, better choice for HD channels, and it all works better than Virgin's constant area problems. You get what you pay for.

10
21 November 2013
Darwin

We were with Virgin and I am changing to Sky because we have few problems with Virgin. First the telephone line is not good. The broadband is good and the speed is good but the TV is absolutely rubbish. I have the XL package and the movies are all very old and when trying to catch up previous TV films or episodes it's in a loop and does not load, also when we want to see what's on in other channels: "No program information", rubbish!!

11
17 November 2013
gee

I worked for Sky and if you've got an old Sky box out of warranty - if you call and say your thinking of leaving your box is old they give you one free :) When your out of contract they're desperate to keep you and get you in contract.

12
8 November 2013
jacob

I have Sky TV and Virgin broadband so you could say I have the best of both worlds.

13
30 October 2013
taz

I have both Sky and Virgin. I have Sky TV World package HD multi-room and Virgin broadband 60Mb and multi-talk 1000. Sky has the best TV and Virgin has better broadband. But on the phone Sky do have more international destinations that you can call included in their talk unlimited plan, whereas Virgin have 20 top destinations which don't include Pakistan for some strange reason which makes me side with Sky on the best phone package. I would easily jump to Sky on the broadband and phone if I could beat the deal I am on now lol.

14
29 October 2013
john

Virgin hands down. Sky doesn't work when it rains or there are high winds. I hate that big dish on my nice house - eye sore. Where as now with the Virgin cable I don't have these issues. I'd tell anyone with Sky to try Virgin you'll be surprised how good it is too. Tivo is amazing, I can't imagine going back to Sky plus when I have better system now.

15
4 October 2013
Tamara Jade Carroll

I prefer Sky, I was on Sky for a year and never had any problems with broadband speed, TV or the telephone line. The customer service was fairly good but sometimes confusing as I got told different things when I wanted to early terminate my services as I was moving address with my boyfriend who was already a Virgin customer. So now I've been using my boyfriend's Virgin services for a few months. The broadband seems to be slower than Sky, the telephone line doesn't even work and we thought it was the actual phone that had a problem, so we've sent someone out who is supposed to be coming out today, and the TV navigation is slower than Sky's and not as easy to use. The customer service I'm not sure about as I can't ring them due to our telephone line being down.

16
30 September 2013
john hulme

I have been with Sky for 7 years, over the last 6 months we have had nothing but problems with our Sky box.
I lost all my recordings on my old box due to a tech problem, they then sent us a HD box (a reconditioned box), within a month we had to wipe all the recordings down to a problem with the box, then again the same thing happened a few weeks later and yet again we have lost all our recorded programs.
I work a night shift so can't watch my programs when they are on so I like to save them for the weekends but have yet to see a full series of my favourite programs very annoying (sort it out Sky).
I have now given my months notice and will be moving on to Virgin.

17
17 September 2013
Mike Sinclair

Hi, we have just switched from Virgin to Sky and on every level including; price / value for money, performance, customer service, TV picture quality, TV catch up, internet up-time and especially their attempted exit charge it leaves wretched Virgin standing. Years ago when we moved to our present house we inherited cable so we went with Virgin. Big mistake!! We were with Virgin for 4 years through inertia and their prices are a disgrace for long standing customers. They milk long standing customers for as long as they can. We are so much happier with a different supplier.

18
13 September 2013
Dave

I had Sky a few years back and was fairly happy with it but when I moved into a new place I took Virgin instead. The TiVo isn't as intuitive as the Sky box and takes a fair bit of getting used to. It can also be quite sluggish at times although the on demand services and availability of YouTube etc are much better than Sky.

The killer for me though is the channel selection: its pants compared to Sky - and channels I enjoyed on my fairly basic Sky package like National Geographic are only available on Virgin if you go for the very expensive XL bundle, whereas Sky let me pick and choose what genres I was most interested in and leave out what I'd never watch.

19
12 April 2013
sam

Well after reading these comments, I think they are all the same, I changed to Sky yesterday, however I haven't told Virgin. I was with Virgin, when they were ntlworld... about 14 years I think. Service was great, until about last year, they came out fitted a new hub, ever since then there has been so many problems. I pay £60 a month, for TV (not movies and sports), phone which is 24/7, but again hardly use it as I've got a mobile, and the internet says I'm meant to have 20Mb, so so slow, it crashes all the time, and the TV freezes...

Sky... Entertainment Extra package... 10Mb (which is fine for me now). I think sometimes that is what I'm getting with ntlworld anyway... phone unlimited, and 2 months free movies. Cost £49 for the first two months, and £65 for 10 months if I keep the movies. The difference is £5.

I'll try Sky.

20
12 April 2013
Eddie

Quote "Note that all Sky are offering is a storage upgrade from 250GB to 2TB, which is four times as much space."

I'm fairly confident that equates to eight times as much space...

12 April 2013
Choose team

Well spotted - corrected.

21
28 March 2013
Rhino

From the poll its clear Virgin is top and considering that only 50% of the country can get it that's a pretty good message. It would be interesting to know out of everyone who voted who had the option for both and had decided on which one to choose. I am guessing not many would choose Sky if they could get Virgin.

I've been with Virgin for 4 years now and think it's great, I've had my broadband trebled (not doubled) for free from 20 to 60Mb and I am due another free upgrade before the end of the year to 120 from 100Mb. The Tivo box is great and so are the packages. It's a shame you have to rely on Sky for sports and movie channels as the price keeps getting put up but maybe with the take over of Virgin that hopefully might change if the competition heats up a bit.

22
10 March 2013
Gaz

Trying to show my mother how to use TiVo was a nightmare. Sky's set top box is much easier to use and much smoother. TiVo feels sluggish. There are no real benefits that you would use everyday from TiVo compared to Sky, and Sky have a much better channel selection, so Sky wins hands down.

Broadband - the original Sky broadband is too slow, if you're a gamer or a downloader it is no good for you. Personally I use BT Infinity for broadband. I had NTL about 10 years ago and it wasn't a problem, but I couldn't comment on it now it is Virgin.

Telephone - we have mobiles now and the only time it is used is when the parents or the in laws call.

I priced up a basic package for someone and the costs between the 2 were within a pound, but Sky offered more channels with their entertainment pack.

23
6 March 2013
BBB

We have had Virgin for nearly 20 years and have recently been upgraded to the 60Mb broadband and Tivo service. I have many streaming devices (laptops, PCs, TV, Phones etc) and play PS3 online most evenings. I have always been very impressed with the TV (you have to love Tivo) and especially the broadband - it's always there - always fast.

24
5 March 2013
B. Graham

I have been with Sky for years and have had a lot of problems throughout that time. My dish was down due to snow, I've been through around five boxes and have had problems with their broadband.

The problems where dealt with and I managed to avoid maintenance charges although they did try and bill me. Several angry phone calls and one very long letter led to good discounts and to be fair, the staff on the phone are generally excellent.

I pay over £100 a month and have everything through Sky including multi-room. I feel this is over priced and as my broadband has become increasingly worse I was tempted to switch to Virgin. Having looked at the review and subsequent comments my reservations about changing seem to be proved right.

I don't want the hassle of Indian call centres, loss of channels and more Internet problems all for an increased cost. The initial offer seems excellent but loss of HD channels and Atlantic are a huge turn off.

It would seem the grass is not always greener.

25
4 March 2013
David

Neither of the above, TalkTalk have upped their game immensely.

TV = YouView Box which was funded and made by BBC, ITV, BT & TalkTalk.
Broadband = Unlimited.
Phone = Awesome too! With loads of features & money saving booster packs.

And all for £15.50 per month! Plus the line rental can be paid up front for a year at just £115, saving you £60!

Trust me, I've tried them all and TalkTalk have only gotten better and cheaper, leaving the competition in the dirt. Plus have a look at YouView, it's very good!

26
2 March 2013
Rob

I used to watch TV using Sky TV but was frustrated having to pay an engineer to fix a 1.5 year old box/cable. So went to Virgin and never looked back.
1) Broadband - fast and far superior to Sky's. I work from home so this is important.
2) TV overall is good, love the Tivo box so much better than Sky's box. I still use Sky at my mum's house every so often and cringe every time I use her remote. So much is possible using Tivo, Sky fails every time.
3) TV choices... I love HD and watch nothing but HD... however we love ITV2 channels and that's where Virgin fails... not just with ITV2 of course, but with Atlantic. However we have enough channels to watch enough programmes that we can do without Atlantic and of course we do have ITV2 SD.

Overall we are happy with Virgin and would never go back to Sky unless their broadband improves and the software to use their box improves. I would say 60/40 to Virgin at the moment.

27
2 March 2013
Chris

I've been with Virgin for over 2 years and have the top package which charges £67.99 a month.

XL TV - TiVo, HD+ box
M - Phone - never use it
60MB Broadband - Used to get 60Mb dead on but now barely touch 25Mb

I find Virgin to be over priced also they cap your speeds in peak times to about 8Mb. Customer service is awful always some Indian call centre with no fluent English. Had a fault ticket raised in my area for broadband from May 2012 estimated fix is July 2013. TV is always faulty, I don't know how they can call it a service in my area the whole neighborhood has more downtime than uptime.

So I contacted Sky CEO Office and asked for a reasonable deal they give me:
94 channels, plus Freeview plus 234 Free to Air package
15Mb Broadband - can live with that
Phone
2 Boxes

£50.65 a month, £17.00 cheaper than Virgin so decided to take them up on the deal.

I would not join Virgin again unless the area was error free and they could guarantee a fault free service for more than a month. Their biggest excuse is High Utilisation, basically they jammed too many people on one network area, which means your service cannot cope in peak times.

I play Call of Duty 4 and mostly get pings of 100 - 350ms all night with Virgin.

Sky will finish fitting my services on 13th March 2013. Hopefully a better service for a lower price. The downside to it is you get billed in advance.

28
1 March 2013
Derek

Vastly superior broadband service so we can use Xbox, and 3 laptops streaming at the same time, try doing that on a Sky ancient copper line.

29
18 February 2013
Ian

We have been with Sky for years, TV is great, broadband, well absolute rubbish, having chased around for weeks with them I am told that I can expect as low as 0.6Mb during peak times ("peak" meaning when I want to use it unless it's 4am!). We have an expensive package from Sky and have problems getting our emails let alone "streaming" films! We are 200m from exchange, there are no problems with any equipment, it's just demand. Take care.

30
18 February 2013
Doug

No Virgin Media in my area, but even if there was I think Sky would just edge it.

31
14 February 2013
ian

I have had Virgin for 4 years and never had a problem. I have up to 60Mb broadband and get 52Mb to 58Mb everytime. I have M+ TV package at the minute and I got a new TV so wanted to upgrade to HD from my old Virgin box. Got told by a friend to phone them up and cancel so they offer me a deal. To my surprise they did. Upgraded to XL package with a free TiVo box and free connection and installation for an extra £10 a month capped for 2 years if I take out a year contract.

32
13 February 2013
Rosi

I was a Virgin customer for years but recently switched to Sky and the difference is not what you would expect. Sky's TV is obviously better for channels and the 2TB box for recording HD is nice. Surprisingly though, Sky's fibre broadband is much better than Virgin's. I get faster speeds on Sky fibre than I did on Virgin but more importantly the internet connection just works better. Streaming video such as youtube buffered all the time on my Virgin broadband and gaming next to impossible. Using unlimited Sky fibre 40Mb download and 10Mb upload everything just works so well that I decided that 80/20 upgrade was not even needed. So keep in mind that top speed is not everything and surprisingly Sky fibre has almost twice the upload speed of virgin's top product, which is handy for sharing photos, videos and all the new cloud type products.

33
7 February 2013
Matt

Virgin sucks, we have a 10Mb connection and almost everyday in the evening the speed comes down to less than 1Mb and it lasts for a few hours. We had BT before and never had these problems, cursing why did I switch.

34
31 January 2013
Becci

Virgin are truly awful - all in package ended up being £110 on average per month. Even customer services were shocked. Back to Sky for £46 per month. Customer services wise, husband stayed in all day for Virgin to pick up all their stuff and lo and behold, no-one came. When I called the call centre, there was no log of my call to book it. Absolutely terrible, and xbox gaming was also dreadful with Virgin in comparison to Sky. Will not be going back, as much as I dislike being part of the Murdoch empire.

35
30 January 2013
Hafis Ibrahim

I switched to Virgin Media in December 2012. They are completely useless. They advertise a smooth changeover, offer to keep your old number and say they will "even say goodbye to Sky for you". This is the most traumatic changeover I have had. They have changed my phone number three times in the span of 4 weeks and I still haven't got my old number. It turns out they haven't cancelled my Sky services and Sky is still charging me for it. Their customer services is rubbish. I regret the day I decided to change over. They are no better than Sky. Avoid Virgin like the plague.

36
11 January 2013
Paul

I've been with Virgin for years, TV package is a mess, you have to pay lots of money just to get basic Sky channels. Phone is expensive, broadband Ok. I would go to TalkTalk except you can't record the internet TV boost package.
Will end up with a year package with Sky (hate the dish) then see if the TV situation improves.

37
26 December 2012
paul dean

I've got Sky for TV and it's top notch, loads more HD and channels than Virgin and whathifi gave Sky HD best service of the year 2012. But I have Virgin for broadband and telephone 120Mb and can I say it is rubbish full stop. The BIG Virgin words are UP TO and they mean it, I have never ever had anywhere near 40Mb never mind 120Mb and they will traffic manage from BBC news to YouTube to Netflix, and the phone calls are well over the top in price. I have now gone to Sky for broadband, much better and cheaper and I am still in a contract with Virgin that's how bad they are. So I use my Virgin broadband maybe a few hours a week and guess what it's still 32 to 35Mb in speed. I understand some people have no trouble with Virgin and had problems with Sky, but if I could give one bit of advice it would be stay away from Virgin as it is also an 18 month contract for really what is little service and a lot of lies!!

38
26 December 2012
ian

With Virgin you rent the HD equipment, with Sky you buy the equipment, so it's yours. So if you leave Virgin they come and take the HD boxes but with Sky it's yours so they just disconnect their services. You will still have all the freeview channels and freeview HD channels, thought that's worth saying.

39
17 December 2012
Matt

I'm with Virgin at the moment but I want out asap! Terrible customer service. I'm out of work at the moment and had my benefits cut. I told Virgin about it and I wanted to cancel my contract or downsize. I cannot do either until I pay off my bill of £165 and if I cancel they will charge another £150. I'd be happy just for broadband as we have freeview too. I can then stream my films and stuff via Xbox and have good free channels. I will definitely consider moving to Sky when I can afford it. I hate Virgin...

40
16 December 2012
martin deakin

I've been with Virgin/NTL for years and eventually dropped the TV... It was never very good compared to my friend's Sky packages and the set top boxes are well known for there infuriating problems. However, I have had very little reason to complain about their broadband... sure it slows down at peak times but thats not unique to Virgin. I now have Sky TV and Virgin for broadband... best of both worlds!!!

41
11 December 2012
Mr Sky

Just to clarify one big point with the movies - it is NOT a 12 month contract, it is a 31 day rolling contract which can be cancelled at any time. I know this as I work for Sky in sales.

Also, Sky's standard broadband is up to 20Mb!

The fibre broadband is up to 40Mb download and 2Mb upload for £20pm or up to 60Mb download and 17Mb upload for £30pm.

They DO NOT use traffic management, Virgin and BT do.

Call before 11pm and you will speak to a UK agent.

Virgin must have a very high churn rate as most customers I speak with on a daily basis want to leave Virgin and regret leaving Sky.

11 December 2012
Choose team

Hi,

Thanks for your useful comments - it's always interesting and useful to hear different sides of the story.

Thanks for spotting the mistake on the Sky Movies minimum term - you're right the Sky site does say you can call them at least 31 days before the end of the initial six month period to avoid paying £16 a month for Sky Movies - we'll make sure we correct that in the article above.

It is worth saying though, that as we generally list offers for new Sky customers, anyone joining Sky TV as a new customer will be subject to a 12 month minimum contract.

In terms of the speeds we list for Sky broadband however, while you are right theoretically, from April 2012 new guidelines released by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) means that ISPs can only advertise 'up to' speeds that at least 10% of the provider's customers can actually achieve on average. For Sky's 20Mb deal, this is 14Mb.

You can read more on the way CAP's new guidelines have changed the way speeds are allowed to be advertised here.

42
29 November 2012
Paul Thompson

I was a customer of Sky for about 3 years. Worst experience I have ever had, customer service was a joke. Unhelpful and don't know how to communicate to a customer. I've been with Virgin Media for years and years. Customer service is in my opinion excellent (except if you phone at an unreasonable hour and get a call centre in South Africa. My only gripe). I have the Tivo 1TB and had it for years, I was one of the first customers to get it. I love it and if I had to choose between Tivo and Sky+HD the Tivo would win hands down. The Internet is nice and fast, never a problem and mobile phone deals for customers are chirpy chirpy cheep. Virgin Media all the way. I phoned them today to get other offers (as I've been out of contract for 13 months now), they reduced my bill by £20pm. Winner!!!!!

43
18 November 2012
rose

I love Tivo, but the phone and broadband services with Virgin are awful. I suffered months of problems before I decided to ditch them after poor customer service. Sky has been stable and dependable. Why have a Rolls Royce in the garage if it doesn't work.

44
10 November 2012
Tracy

All I want to do is to get rid of my Virgin telephone line. Have the XL package for Virgin Broadband and TV package. Can I do this? Will I save any money? I would go back to Sky but I would need a BT line and that costs a lot.

10 November 2012
Choose team

You can get Virgin broadband and TV without a phone line, it is cheaper overall but not by as much as you'd expect as the price of broadband rises slightly without a Virgin phone line.

For example, currently the cost of Virgin 60Mb broadband without a phone line is £9 more than if you take a Virgin phone line for £13.90, so the saving of not having a phone line is only £4.90.

45
30 October 2012
Hue Jardon

I have two standard Sky boxes in our bedrooms and noted on Sky's website that they were offering new customers Sky HD boxes, with a multi-room package. I was going to switch to Virgin, as they were offering HD boxes, as I have a Sky+HD box in the lounge and wanted HD boxes in the bedrooms, as the picture quality on the standard boxes is very poor. I contacted Sky and asked if I could upgrade my standard boxes to HD boxes. They informed me that this offer was only for new customers, which it did not say on the website. Anyway, I informed Sky that I would cancel if I could not upgrade, as I have been a loyal customer for many years. They offered me a 250GB Sky+HD box in one of the bedrooms, free installation and no additional cost to my monthly charge. Very happy. Paying £71 a month for two 250GB HD boxes, one standard box, World Package plus ESPN. Very happy indeed and customer service has always been excellent. Virgin is rubbish in comparison and I would never go back to Branson... !!!!

46
11 October 2012
asdsadsa

Sky is very slow compared to my 120Mbs, it could not even catch up to at least a third of my speed. Sorry Virgin wins.

47
26 August 2012
anita

My 12 months contract with Sky is coming to an end and I was tempted by Virgin's new TiVo offer. Reading this has confirmed that Sky has more channels and is a bit cheaper... I already have Sky Unlimited and it is fast enough for my usage so I vote Sky my winner.

Thanks for the help xx

48
17 August 2012
Richard

I'm with Sky but have just bought a 3D smart TV which won't work on the 2.47Mbps I get. Now I am thinking of going over to Virgin, I phoned them and asked what their fair use policy was and they told me 7.5GB a day. How do I find out how much I use?

17 August 2012
Choose team

We've an article on broadband usage that offers some information on different types of Internet use and how much data they use, it's available here.

In addition, we also have another article that provides a short review of broadband usage monitoring tools, which might be worth a look too: which is here.

49
29 July 2012
Ian

Virgin's customer service is non-existent, and I've already had to phone them more times in a year than I ever called Sky (and we're into double figures I'm sure).

The service is terrible as well, drop outs, signal loss, throttling the speed and the prices are being hiked as well, so this "double broadband speed" isn't free at all as they'd have you believe.

Sky were mostly fine but expensive, and you lose signal in storms but I guess you get what you pay for. O2 were much better with broadband but unfortunately don't do high speed internet in my area. At least I'd recommend them though. Virgin are the worst by a mile, if only we could all afford to leave for better services I doubt they'd last long.

50
9 May 2012
Grant

I have just moved into my first flat with my girlfriend and we are getting Virgin installed on 15th May.

The package deal as a new customer that I chose was:
TV XL (175 channels with 23 HD channels, broadband XL 60Mb with free Superhub modem/router, Tivo 500GB box, additional VHD Box, phone M with free evening calls and free 0845 dialling for 3 months. The price that I'll be paying is £36.40 (half price for 6 months), then after 6 months it is £58.90, hope I'll have a pay rise at work by then!!! It's all free installation and free HD activation under an 18 month contract.

Is this a good deal... even after the 6 months when it doubles in price?

Would love to get your opinions, my mum has been on Virgin for years and never had any major problems but I've read some reviews and it's got me thinking if Virgin is worth it or shall I look into Sky/BT/Plusnet...

Thanks.

51
4 May 2012
Tom

Don't bother with Virgin Media unless you like super high prices (I pay over £100 p.m), granted I have all the sports and movie packages but that is shockingly high. Also if you decide to talk to customer services expect on average a 30 minute wait to speak to a human albeit a call centre abroad.

Also there is the famous drop out in connection with broadband which is frequent and (2 times already this week for me) which can last up to 8 hours. Rubbish over priced unhelpful service. I live in a block of flats and I'm restricted from having a Sky dish or I would have left the rubbish that is Virgin Media years ago.

52
15 April 2012
Danny

Been with Sky and Virgin Media...

Had the Sky+ box for a few years and had no problems, then we upgraded to Sky+ HD and still had no problems. We had been Sky customers for 5 years.

Then we had seen the advert of Virgin's TiVo service and switched. As we were loyal Sky customers they sent post with special deals and limited time offers to come back to them. We got the 500GB box with the free installation and it was fine for two months and then there was an extra £49.50 showing on the bill along side the TV XL price charge (£23.00). I straight away cancelled the payments and wished I took advantage of Sky's offers. Virgin cut all channels off and a little box popped up and said please insert the new smart card. It wouldn't remove off the screen. We rang Virgin and they said they won't do anything without an active subscription.

If you want the winner it's Sky without any doubt. If you want Virgin's TiVo service of which I think deserves to be called the 500GB Homemade Service and hidden charges, think twice. Don't fall for the recording flexibility or iPlayer app or the on demand. With Sky you have Sky Player and Sky go. What happened there Virgin? If their service was that good why would you need Sky 1 & 2 and stuff that Sky own, how about having your own TV channels 'to die for'. Doesn't really leave Sky+ looking like what ever you say about them.

Want real TV! Sky believe in better!!

53
8 April 2012
mark

I've been with Sky for 7 years (all channels), BT (all calls free for £4.95 p/m) and TalkTalk.

I'm moving to Virgin Media next weekend - good deal for 1TB tivo box, and even when paying full whack after 6 months (is half price for the first 6 months), it will still be cheaper than what I'm paying 3 separate providers for less service. Broadband will be an amazing 100Mb.

My main reason for posting is that Sky confimed to me today that they will be offering fibre optic broadband shortly (by the end of the month they told me) via their relationship with BT - you will need to be able to access BT Infinity in your area to take advantage of this. Unfortunately, my area is not yet enabled so it's no good to me - if it had been, I may have stayed...

54
21 February 2012
Easy PC Advice

I have had both and as many of you have said, the customer service is very poor. Sky's broadband speeds were below 1Mb and I never received 'Anytime' and phoned up on numerous occasions with no resolution unless I wanted to pay for the call out.

I'm now with Virgin as our house has no BT line and broadband is 30Mb, soon to be doubled to 60Mb for free. However, the TV V+ box is so slow and not a patch on Sky. Recording a series on Virgin is a pain if the times change as Virgin doesn't keep up with the changes whereas Sky did.

I also don't like the price hikes from Virgin that we're seeing lately and as there is nowhere else to go they know they have you over a barrel.

I have heard that Sky will soon be using Virgin's cable so if this is true I am back to Sky with a flash to get great broadband speeds and great TV again.

55
18 February 2012
Robert

We've been with Sky and Virgin well over ten years: Sky for TV only, Virgin for phone and broadband. We wanted HD and the same channels in the bedroom but we weren't pleased at the extra monthly cost of multiroom, etc.

For me broadband is more important than the TV, so Virgin wins for us. Cable broadband wins everytime over ADSL, no third party payments to BT for one.

56
24 January 2012
karen

I wish Sky would give older customers a free Sky plus box. I have the old style standard box and they are now out of date so I reckon that if you have been with Sky for a few years they should let you have a new Sky plus box free of charge. I have had problems with my Sky box as this is the second box and I have some channels pixelating so should I ring Sky up to say this is happening and ask if it's possible for them to give me a free Sky plus box or should I say I'm going to Virgin?

5 January 2014
Charlie

My god call them and say 'I want!' Not 'can I have?' Talking to a Sky salesmans today and he told me they are more interested in keeping their customers happy and staying with Sky, he said in confidence that you can pretty much get what you want to a degree. Just call and tell them what you want or you're off to Virgin! That'll get them.

57
18 January 2012
Craig Eccleston

I can honestly say that I have had enough of Sky. Not because of the choice of channels or HD which are both are excellent. No I am thinking of leaving because for the second time (first Sky+ box, now Sky HD box) the box has gone faulty just outside of the warranty period. Surprise surprise!! Luckily I had just taken out insurance but it's annoying that for a service that is not cheap anyway I am having to pay even more to insure a box that is useless without Sky. Very frustrated and I feel that existing customers don't get any loyalty benefits. Only problem is Virgin is more expensive for the same level of package i.e. all channels including sports and movies.

58
16 January 2012
joe

I have been with Sky now for almost 15 years, I have always had the full package and I must say that up to now I have been pretty pleased with the service. One thing that really stinks though, is the fact they expect you to insure a box that provides a subscription service?? You can get away without paying this by the way! Anyway, as a long standing customer, I received a discount and was paying £80 a month for full package including ESPN, HD and unlimited anytime call package which was ok... but to be honest I started to get frustrated with the slow internet speeds compared to Virgin and the fact you could only record a channel while watching another, I paid £60 for an anytime + wireless connector to realise it was the same service I was already getting on my pc?!, compared to Virgin, the on demand service is prehistoric!... To cut a long story short, Virgin Media wanted £86 a month for faster broadband in exchange for less channels, less HD channels and no movie channels... lol... so in the end I was unhappy with both and now have neither... lol.

59
16 January 2012
joe

I use Virgin Media at the weekends at my partner's, and although I think the new Tivo box is excellent and the broadband faster, I can't see the point in changing over when I would be losing all the movie channels, lots of HD channels, lots of channels in general and still pay more a month, just because of this new Tivo box... lol... surely Virgin should have kept their prices the same, then they would have converted so many Sky customers... what's the point in bringing out a new box (which is better) but to then charge a lot more for it?... back to the drawing board Virgin, you still don't convince me to change over.

60
8 January 2012
anthony

I've been with Sky a number of years, changed after cable got too expensive and got a lot less. I've been thinking of changing to Virgin after major problems with broadband and phone line, haven't got the problem sorted as of yet... just compared to Virgin's £103... I think we will be staying with Sky.

61
5 January 2012
Sam

Was with Sky for 12 years. Moved to Virgin, for better; customer service, quicker broadband, no interruption on channels in bad weather, free HD channels and much much better interface!

62
3 January 2012
ann723

> The only other broadband package in the UK to offer truly unlimited downloads is, funnily enough, Virgin Media's size XXL 50Mbps broadband

Is this still applicable? I checked their website and they have a fair usage policy on the 50Mb package too. Or am I missing something?

3 January 2012
Choose team

Hi Ann,

You're right - VM did change their fair use policy on XXL, but they only restrict uploads when users upload more than 6GB between 3pm and 8pm. Downloads aren't affected (apart from P2P and newsgroup traffic). We've covered this more in our XXL review here.

63
23 December 2011
Sarah

We had freeview and BT broadband, but when we moved we got a Sky package. I have to say its great, we have all the kids channels for a £1.00, and the Sky Sports package, more channels than we could ever watch and I have recorded so many movies for the kids it's great (only BBC so no adverts).

When I've had a problem, twice in one year it was dealt with really quickly and the second time someone online sorted it out for me... no probs at all! We did have free broadband but exceeded the 2GB download twice in 6 months and to be honest I have no idea what any of that means, but now we pay £7.25 for unlimited usage, super fast broadband... its all good! I wouldn't change to someone else!

64
20 December 2011
Ant

I have Virgin Media, and my family all use it. They give really good deals when your 12 months run out and also if you do want to change your package in the 12 months you can either upgrade or get a cheaper deal by entering a new 12 month contract.

We have had hardly any problems with our service. Customer service can be good and bad, at times you can be waiting a while but the call is free and so it doesn't really bother us. If you want really good customer service when you call them select disconnections from the options and you get their call centre in Swansea. They also have more power to change your package as its their job to "keep their customers".

Broadband has a fair usage policy, but after 12am it doesn't start again until 10am in the morning, so if you're downloading big files save it until the night time.

Virgin Media big recommendation.

65
18 November 2011
pwsnov

Having been with both I can honestly put it down to whether sport or broadband is more important to you. If it's sport, then Sky wins hands down, their system is far superior.

However I am a sports fan but also value good quality broadband with good online support. In my area, Sky's broadband is archaic (by comparison) and Virgin's antivirus and online support is very good. Download speeds are consistent and efficient for example.

So I stick with Virgin despite the gremlins in the box that sometimes switches itself off and is sooo slow. You pay your money and take your choice, if you want a computer just for basic stuff then go to Sky. Otherwise it's Virgin for me.

66
3 November 2011
Jeff

I'm just about to move from Virgin to Sky. My only reason is Sky Go which will allow me to watch LFC when I'm on my travels. Just a pity Virgin don't offer something similar.

67
27 October 2011
Calvin

I'm getting Virgin Media TV XL, Broadband L, Phone M with free installation, Tivo box and multi-room box for £41 per month. Called Sky and for them to match the deal was £25 a month more as there is a HD charge of £10.25 and multi-room of £10.25. (Besides, Tivo can record 3 channels at the same time). Although Sky have more channels than Virgin, Virgin have all the channels we watch as a family.

68
18 October 2011
Ian

Not all customers can get Sky Unlimited - they have to have Sky Connect which at times is slow - evening speeds can reach the dizzy heights of less than 1Mb - and is theoretically capped at 40GB a month. Sky will not give any indication of when they will migrate my exchange and we are in a large metropolitan area!

Had Virgin previously and although traffic managed in the evening it was never so slow as Sky Connect. Can't wait for the 12 month contract to end so I can move.

69
14 October 2011
kate

I've been with Sky for 10 years for TV and love it.

However, I'm thinking of changing to Virgin simply for their internet as we're with Orange which has appalling speeds. Totally agree with the offshore call center comments for Virgin, they seem to answer questions with completely irrelevant scripted responses.

Is it worth changing everything to Virgin to have quicker internet and save a tenner but lose my Sky telly, movies and customer service?

70
9 October 2011
craig

I had been with Sky for 5 years and never had any problems until my router went down. After 7 weeks of the same old runaround from people all trying to tell me the problem was BT or the cables in my house I finally convinced Sky it was a router problem. Sky then charged me for a replacement router. I moved to Virgin now have 20 meg speed, all the TV I need and free anytime phone calls.

As of yet I have had no problems and am very pleased with Virgin. Sky lost a customer due to the lack of broadband customer service not because of their TV service, which is far superior to anything else currently on the market.

71
5 October 2011
sarah

I have been a customer of both and can honestly say I prefer Virgin (although I haven't experienced the Sky's new box or Anytime+ TV...) I have just ordered two 500mb Tivo boxes and moving the V+ to childs room - 10mb broadband and talk unlimited all for £72 which is a good deal but then Sky offered me a similar deal - a 1tb box, Sky+ HD box & a standard box, 20mb broadband and unlimited phone for £66! Now I'm totally confused as they were telling me the Tivo boxes are all going wrong - I don't know which way to go!

72
4 October 2011
Gavin Johnson

I subscribed to Sky for years and then moved to a cabled area so picked up with Virgin.

Both companies are brilliant when you sign up and from then on it's purely a matter of your own experiences and frustration levels!

With two companies in the market they can, and do, behave with more arrogance and indifference than banks. Like the banks they know they have a service we all "need" and with only two companies they know there's nowhere else to go!

73
28 September 2011
Phil

If you're with Sky and have been with them for 12 months, it is quite possible they will offer you a sizeable discount to stay with them. We got a 25% discount and a friend of ours got half price for the next 12 months, and on a month to month contract so if still not happy, you can just cancel and go elsewhere. Seems Sky are big on rewarding loyal customers.

We have had no problems with Sky, other than extreme weather we lose a lot of channels, broadband is the best we have ever had at a good speed for what we use it for, and have found that the customer service has been the best out of all off our previous, BT-talktalk among others. From the sound of it Virgin do not rate too good on this. Not tempting enough yet Virgin...

74
22 September 2011
Buzzbee

I am a Virgin Broadband user but we are 'beyond cable' so I get connection through my BT line - connection has been painfully slow lately so have been looking at deals/options and found this site really informative.

75
13 September 2011
Lindsay Eaton

I have experienced both services and although Sky TV is a far better package its just too expensive! After years of trying the different providers (often tied in for 1 or 2 years) I decided to try an internet based satellite tv provider, which was perfect for me.

76
10 September 2011
shopkeeper

Sky, Virgin and Plusnet all have atrocious customer service and in my experience will deliberately throttle your broadband speed and even begin to drop your connection once they cotton on that you're a persistent heavy user. Appalling practice by these ISP's and I suspect others too. OFCOM should really regulate this but I suspect it never will.

77
31 August 2011
Virgin Sucks

Virgin was working okay for us until a few weeks ago. Now it continuously disconnects despite excellent signals and no apparent modem issues and it often stays off for an inordinate amount of time. We're getting a technician to come in just to rule out the possibility of modem damage but they might charge us for it even if it's not our fault. Virgin's service, which was once okay, is now really starting to annoy us. Is Sky any better when it comes to internet connectivity (factoring in more than just speed)?

78
29 August 2011
Graham Eldridge

I am currently a Sky customer, but I am considering moving my broadband and phone to Virgin. However, the Sky HD box has a phone connection which it seems to deem important. Will this cause a problem if my phone connection is with Virgin?

Also, one of the advantages I assumed that I would get with Virgin is that I could save the £11 per month BT line rental. In your comparison you retained it so that the comparison was "like for like". That would indicate there is a benefit in keeping it. Is there? If so, what is it.

29 August 2011
Choose team

Sky say that taking broadband and line rental from another provider shouldn't be a problem and we haven't seen evidence to the contrary.

The other benefit which led us including VM line rental above is that some people like having a home phone! If you don't you can see deals from VM and others in our broadband without a phone line guide.

79
27 August 2011
Mike

If the service is that bad Janni, and they messed up the billing too, then file a complaint with trading standards. They'll jump quicker than a frog dropped into hot water to get you sorted.

80
15 August 2011
JANNI

I am having big problems with Virgin Media! I can't wait for my contract to end, I never get the speed I paid for, customer service is rubbish! They actually lied to me about my package (hidden charges) and I found out after the money was taken out of my account.

I have 10 more months to go and I am already sick and tired of them, first 2 months they'll give you good services and then its a nightmare! Does anyone know how to get rid of it? I don't want to spend a single day more with Virgin Media but at the same time I would not want to spoil my credit history!

81
9 August 2011
Yene

I've always been with Sky growing up (apart from a short stint with cable and wireless before they went bust). I've tried things like BT vision etc when I moved into a block of flats that couldn't get a dish on top but I'm always disappointed.

Now I don't want or need a phone line, I use mobile broadband at the moment (but I am considering getting broadband because I'm sure it's much cheaper) and I want Sky. Is there anyway at all to get Sky without having to get a landline and pay for installation of a service I will never use in my entire lifetime? Thanks.

9 August 2011
Choose team

There's no way to get Sky broadband without paying line rental somewhere along the line because it's an ADSL service, meaning it needs an active phone line to work. If you want to stick with mobile broadband, you can have Sky TV installed without a landline but you'll have to pay a £25 'manual enablement' fee.

82
8 August 2011
Jackie

I've had mates give up on Sky and just go Freeview because the customer service was beyond abominable.

They'd previously had Virgin Media, as we do, but had moved to an un-cabled new-build. At the time, they didn't much enjoy the scripted repetition of the Virgin Media oversees-based customer service, but at least someone answered the calls and eventually exchange problems would be sorted.

With Sky, they felt they'd bought a pig in a poke and had been abandoned and left to get on with it, so they'd rather spend next to nothing on a cheap phone line and broadband and Freeview and just buy/rent DVDs and box sets and save in the region of £20/£30 a month. They don't have the same choice, but they don't have the hassle either.

We use Virgin Media still and I get narked when the exchange goes down (I live in a block, so it's obvious it's the exchange when we're all down) and the scripted 'helpers' on the other end drag you through the same old, 'Unplug the modem' script when really, they should just get on the blower to the East End exchange and let them know there's a problem, but I've found that by getting on Twitter (on my iphone when the lines are down) and tweeting @virginmedia you get a far better service as these guys speak English, they apologise for the inconvenience to you and they are active in trying to sort things out - a better class of customer service and that's why I'm staying with Virgin Media. I'm also now very reluctant to part with dosh to fund the Murdoch Empire.

83
6 August 2011
Paul

Well for us it's turned out to be Virgin. We don't live in the back of beyond and our telephone exchange is only 4 km from us but Sky couldn't give us faster than 1.4 meg!! Now have 50meg Virgin broadband TiVo XL pack espn for free, hd for the 1 off payment and economy talk anytime, all for £65 a month. Interestingly the TiVo has its own dedicated 10 meg broadband so as not to use any of the 50 meg.

84
5 August 2011
Luke Durman

Okay, you want to know my experiences. Yes, sky is truly unlimited and when it works fantastic, but when it's down good luck getting through to decent customer service, shockingly bad for a big company.

Virgin seem to have the better anytime TV package as they have TiVo, iPlayer, 4od all that on your box whereas for Sky we had to pay an extra £65 for the anytime+ box.

So if you're thinking of Sky, think again if you want decent customer service.

85
4 August 2011
Mark

I have some comments not really referenced here. Sky or Virgin? Well with Sky you actually own the box (12 month warranty then unless you insure - your problem!) plus if you decide to leave you're stuck with a box that is no use to you. With Virgin, you are renting the box. If it breaks, no matter how old, they will replace it. I'm currently with Virgin and happy enough to stay for now. Got a good deal on a sizeable package. Yes, the TV and wireless boxes have been known to freeze and need a reboot but other than that not bad. What is really annoying is the + recording. Our box keeps cutting off the end of programmes. We have it set for the max over run but still no good. Then again the Sky box used to do the same. Anyone on here had the problem and got it fixed?

86
18 July 2011
Sparky

I use Sky for my TV and Virgin for my Broadband. I have found that Virgin gives a damn near 20Mbps which is what I pay for. Now with this TiVo system coming online now and 50Mbps with the XXL package I might move for TV too.

87
14 July 2011
Graham Hurley

I am trying to get a TV only package and decided to compare Sky against Virgin. I got on the Sky website first and chose to speak to the online help. They were very helpful in helping me sort out a package and also it was easy to find the extra free to air channels listed on the website.

Virgin's website was entirely different. I was able to establish I could get a TV only package but nowhere could I find a list of any additional free channels provided. And a call to their call centre resulted in being told the 65 channels listed on the site were the ONLY channels that you get. No mention of the radio channels etc.

So well done SKY you get my money.

88
21 April 2011
Phill

"The only other broadband package in the UK to offer truly unlimited downloads is, funnily enough, Virgin Media's size XXL 50Mbps broadband."

Wrong, wrong wrong.
BE Broadband offers a true unlimited service and a much, much better customer service to in my experience.

21 April 2011
Choose team

It's true! To clarify: by 'truly unlimited' we mean no fair use policy in place. But you're right that Be broadband have an excellent reputation in this area - in fact, we say so in our fair use policy guide.

[Ed: Note since this comment was published, O2 now also offer truly unlimited downloads. However, BE still have a very fair use policy in place on their unlimited deals (their own words!)]

89
19 April 2011
merz

With Sky packages you have to pay line rental on top, don't you?

19 April 2011
Choose team

Yes, you have to get Sky line rental with all their broadband deals and it's [Ed: now £14.50] a month. Virgin Media do offer broadband without line rental but we've included it in the tables above to compare like-with-like.

Note also that without home phone Virgin broadband and TV gets more expensive - our Virgin Media deals page (click the 'line rental' column to sort) has more details.

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