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Student TV Best Deals: Virgin Media, Sky Go, Netflix, LoveFilm, Freeview and Freesat

As well as broadband deals tailor made for students, there are also a handful of TV deals available that are aimed specifically at those in higher education.

While not as essential a research tool as a reliable broadband connection is, everyone needs to kick back once in awhile and put something on the box. Additionally, if you’re a studying anything to do with the media, the TV industry, product design or PR for any of those fields then it’s essential. Whichever way you cut it, you might as well take advantage of any offers coming your way if you’re going to be spending the next two to three years living in a shared house while you’re at university.

From nine month deals to non-subscription solutions and others there’s a number of ways you can get digital TV that’s friendly to even the most shoestring of student budgets.

Student TV Best Deals: Virgin Media, Sky Go, Netflix, LoveFilm, Freeview and Freesat


Virgin Media Student TV – Nine month contract

As well as pitching broadband deals squarely at students, Virgin Media has a TV deal which sees you able to snap up Virgin Media TV on a shorter term nine-month contract.

This is perfect if you’re only going to be living in one house for less than a year – no sense in paying for TV if you’re not going to be around to watch it.

There are three Virgin Media TV packages available which work out as:


Virgin Media Student TV – 83 channels inc. 6 HD channels

  •     Including Sky 1, Sky 2, Dave, E4, Sky Arts 
  •     V HD box
  •     Catch-up services including BBC iPlayer, 4oD and Sky Anytime

Total cost: £13/month

Virgin Media Student TV – 123 channels inc. 6 HD channels

  •     Including Sky 1, Sky 2, Dave, SyFy, Watch, Comedy Central and Sky Anytime
  •     V HD box
  •     Catch-up services including BBC iPlayer, 4oD and Sky Anytime

Total cost: £19.50/month

Virgin Media Student TV – 179 channels inc. 24 HD channels

  •     Including Sky 1, Sky 2, Dave, SyFy, Watch, Comedy Central and Sky Anytime
  •     V HD box
  •     Catch-up services including BBC iPlayer, 4oD and Sky Anytime

Total cost: £30.50/month

If you’re keen on getting broadband with your TV you might as well kill two birds with one stone: Virgin Media also bundles 30Mbps and 60Mbps broadband with TV in four bundle deals.

These work out as:

30Mbps broadband + 123 TV channels – £36.50/month

60Mbps broadband + 123 TV channels – £49.50/month

30Mbps broadband + 179 TV channels – £48.50/month

60Mbps broadband + 179 TV channels – £61.50/month

All of the Virgin Media broadband packages come with unlimited downloads as standard and include a free Virgin Super Hub wireless router. Note that the nine month Virgin Media TV don’t include the Virgin Media TiVo box – all packages come with the Virgin Media V HD box.

Once again, as is the case with Virgin Media’s Student Broadband deals, you don’t have to pay line rental, so there’s a potential saving to be had here on broadband, TV or bundled broadband and TV.

Student TV Best Deals: Virgin Media, Sky Go, Netflix, LoveFilm, Freeview and Freesat


Sky Go

If you’re living in a house for less than a year then Sky TV may be off the menu as you’re be required to commit to a 12 month contract.

That doesn’t mean you can’t get some Sky programmes in your home though. Sky Go is available to subscribe to on a monthly basis, starting at £15/month for the basic selection of Sky entertainment channels.

You can access Sky Go through your laptop or PC or through your Xbox 360 (Xbox LIVE Gold account required). iPhones, iPads and selected Android phones and tablets can also access Sky Go through an app.

£32/month gets you Sky Movies bundled with the entertainment channels and £35/month gets you Sky Sports and entertainment, and £40 a month for entertainment, Sky Movies and Sky Sports. ESPN costs from £9/month-£12/month extra.

Alternatively, if your parents have Sky back home and they don’t mind you can use their Sky iD to log in on another device.

Remember that you only have two logins with one Sky iD, so be careful where you use it. If you’re living in a very gadget-heavy household you might want to access Sky Go through a device connected to the living room TV so everyone can watch.

Read our How can I get Sky Go? feature for more help.

Student TV Best Deals: Virgin Media, Sky Go, Netflix, LoveFilm, Freeview and Freesat


Games Consoles – Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3

If someone owns an Xbox 360 then this gives you access to Sky Go as well as other stuff like 4oD, LoveFim and BBC iPlayer (pictured). Whoever brings an Xbox 360 to university will be undoubtedly popular – it’s up to you whether or not you want to sacrifice your games console for the greater good – your flatmates might want to watch something on Sky Go while you’d rather play Skyrim.

PlayStation 3 owners can also access catch-up services like BBC iPlayer, ITV Player and 4oD on their console as well as Netflix and Lovefilm.

While Sky Go isn’t yet available on PS3, Sky and Sony have struck a deal which lets PS3 owners download shows from the Playstation Store Video Store these including Dollhouse, 24, Breaking Bad, Arrested Development and South Park.

Shows from here are available on a pay-as-you-go/on-demand basis, with prices starting at £1.49 per episode.


Netflix, Lovefilm Instant, Now TV and Curzon on Demand

If you don’t want a subscription TV channel but you still want access to more movies that are available on Freeview and Freesat then there’s a large number of streaming services to suit your needs.

We’ve covered Netflix, Lovefilm Instant and Now TV extensively and have compared them against all of the leading and up and coming streaming packages going.

The best thing about these three is that when you sign up you get one month free. So if you’re feeling really thrifty, you can always sign up for the first month and then cancel before the trial period expires…

More seriously, everyone in a shared house clubbing together for any of these services is a good idea. Netflix costs £5.99/month which works out at less than £2 per person in a shared house of four.

LoveFilm Instant costs £5.99/month which works out at even less.

Student TV Best Deals: Virgin Media, Sky Go, Netflix, LoveFilm, Freeview and Freesat

Newcomer Now TV costs a relatively hefty £15/month but is worth checking out if you want the latest movies in your home. Between four people, this breaks down to a more manageable £3.75/month.

Eventually, the Sky-owned Now TV will also give you access to premium Sky content like Sky Sports and Sky Atlantic content like Mad Men, Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire. So if you want your fix of footy or fantasy, Now TV is a more flexible student-friendly way of getting Sky TV without committing to a 12 month contract.

Students of film or fans of independent cinema might also find a subscription to Curzon on Demand useful if you don’t live anywhere near a Curzon cinema or your library doesn’t have a rare film available.


Freeview

Perhaps the perfect student TV solutions are the non-subscription ones. Freeview boxes come in so many shapes and sizes these days that you’re guaranteed to find one to suit your budget.

If you’re not fussed about watching TV In HD and just want something on the cheap, then you can pick up Freeview Plus boxes capable of recording live TV for as little at £70 on Amazon. More expensive HD models start at £180 from retailers like Comet.

If your parents have an old Freeview set top box or TV then you could convince them to upgrade and let you have their old Freeview unit as a going away present.

Don’t forget to check on sites like Gumtree and Freecycle for people either selling second hand Freeview gear on the cheap or (better yet) giving them away.


Freesat

Everything we’ve said about Freeview applies here; if you’re moving into a house with a satellite dish already attached and a Sky subscription is out of the question (whether due to time or money) then Freesat is one option available to you.

High quality broadcasts, HD channels an no monthly fees make a Freesat set-top box or TV an attractive offer for students looking to save money. Freesat boxes can be picked up fiarly cheaply these days, with current online prices ranging between £20 for a refurbished model to £100 for newer, more advanced models.

Unless your favourite TV channel of all time happens to be Dave Freesat is an excellent choice for students moving into a home with a satellite dish already in place.


Student TV Best Deals: Virgin Media, Sky Go, Netflix, LoveFilm, Freeview and FreesatWhat about a TV Licence? Do I need one if I’m a student?

Yes. Being a student won’t change the fact that you’ll still need a licence.

In halls of residence, your rent will normally include TV Licence cover for any communal lounge or kitchen area with a TV, but you’ll need a separate licence if you have a TV in your room.

In a shared house, you’ll only need one licence for the entire premises, unless you live in multistorey/split-level accommodation in which case you’d need a licence for your individual room or floor.

Aside from your TV licence and subscription to whatever you want to watch, you’ll only have to worry about rent, your student fees, money for food. Thanks again Nick Clegg.

As well as working out what TV or streaming services you want in your home make sure that if you’re going to pay for something it’s something that everyone’s happy with. Money will invariably become an issue at some point in the year so make sure you’re not stuck with paying for a service you don’t necessarily want or need just because one or two of your housemates want it. 

Main image credit: Flcikr user imrambi

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