Sky is best known as the UK’s biggest digital pay-TV provider - with more than 10.5 million homes signed up - but it’s also a fast-growing provider of broadband and phone services. 

Digital satellite TV is still Sky’s bread-and-butter business, and you can start watching from £21.50 a month, but it’s a service targeted at premium consumers who want more than a few extra channels and don’t mind paying for them. 

Sky has more than 50 high definition TV channels, exclusive access to the UK’s only full-time 3D TV channel and Sky Atlantic, and the standard Sky+HD box is a high definition digital recorder. 

Sky On Demand catch-up

Since it’s satellite TV, you do still need a satellite dish on your home, but dish and installation are free to most new customers. There used to be a stigma attached to having a satellite dish, but these days you’re more likely to be asked about 3D and high definition TV, or whether you’ve seen the latest series of Game of Thrones on Sky Atlantic before everyone else. 

Sky might be proud of offering the latest TV technology, but it’s the content that wins viewers, and on top of the well-known football, cricket and Hollywood movies, it has the rights to the Formula 1 Grand Prix season (showing in HD).

Sky’s own-brand TV channels - Sky 1, Sky Living, and the exclusive Sky Atlantic - as well as partners such as Fox and Comedy Central, have access to the cream of American TV shows. Sky’s also keen to become a producer of high quality British TV, rivalling the BBC and ITV with shows ranging from A League Of Their Own to dramas like The Tunnel and comedies such as Trollied

Today’s it’s not all about TV, with more than three million homes also subscribing to Sky’s broadband and phone services, for which it owns a dedicated UK broadband backbone service so it doesn’t have to rely on BT’s network. 

Sky would like you to get phone and broadband alongside their TV, but it’s not compulsory - you just have to swap from BT to Sky for your line rental (a reasonable £15.40/month, or £11.70/month if you buy a year in advance). Both the broadband and TV packages are very cheap: completely free (with TV) for the basic service and less than a tenner for the unlimited options. 

One of Sky’s benefits is its simple pricing strategy, which has replaced confusing tiers and packages with a handful of plug-and-play options, and the more you choose when you sign up, the less you’ll pay for up-front charges like installation and set-top boxes. There are also extras like Sky Go for watching on mobile devices and apps for making the most of your TV subscriptions. 

Sky is generally good value for the breadth and depth of services it offers, although the Multiscreen subscriptions for extra TVs are expensive in comparison to its basic subscriptions. You will also be signed up for a minimum 12 month period and must pay by direct debit.