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Sky cuts cost of HD set-top box

High definition Sky+ box reduced to £49

Sky logo

Sky drops the price of its HD box

Satellite high definition TV (HDTV) provider Sky has announced it’s cutting the price of the Sky+ HD box to £49. 

The huge price cut – previously the box was £149 – is a bid to attract customers to the HD service. But monthly subscription costs are not cheap.

HDTV gives you a clearer and more lifelike picture than standard definition. But if you want to watch TV in HD, you’ll need access to an HD service, the right equipment and an HD-ready TV. 

For the latest models, see our review on LCD and plasma TVs. And for more information on HDTV, see our guide to high definition TV

Sky HD

Sky has the most high definition TV content in the UK, with 31 dedicated HD channels. However, you can only access the HD equivalents of standard channels already included in your subscription package

To get the most out of Sky’s HD service, you need to subscribe to several packs. An additional £9.75 monthly charge also applies to access most HD channels.

Sky divides its channels into eight packs. There are six Entertainment packs, a Sports pack and a Movies pack. Although Sky allows you to build your own package, it offers the following HD packages on its website (costs include HD subscription):

  • all six entertainment packs (18 channels in HD) for £31.25 a month.
  • one entertainment pack and the Sports pack (9-12 HD channels in HD) for £45.25 a month.
  • all six entertainment packs and Sports and Movies packs (31 HD channels) for £55.75 a month.

Cable HD and Freesat

Freesat Logo

freesat’s HD service has no monthly fee

Virgin Media and Freesat offer alternative HD services to Sky, but neither is as comprehensive.

Freesat gives you access to the BBC and ITV’s HD content. Satellite installation and the HD box cost from around £120 on this service, but there is no subscription fee. For more information see our dedicated Freesat review.

Virgin Media gives you access to BBC HD and a selection of on-demand movies. A £99 installation fee and £5 monthly subscription charge apply (there’s no monthly fee if you subscribe to Virgin Media’s top TV package).

Freeview HD

Freeview logo

HDTV is coming to Freeview

If you don’t want to pay a subscription fee for HD, you will soon be able to watch HD programmes on Freeview.

HD services from the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 will all be launching in conjunction with digital switchover. The first TV region expected to get this HD coverage is Granada in late 2009.

To find out when your area is switching see our guide on digital switchover.

When HD comes on to Freeview, it should also be available to BT Vision and Tiscali TV customers, but existing Freeview customers may need to upgrade their set-top box.

See our review on Freeview boxes for the latest models. For more information on digital TV services see our guide to your digital TV options.

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