New Digital Providers May Be a Tasty Alternative to Usual Dish ; Satellite Television Is Not Always the Best Way to Access All Your Favourite Channels, Explains David Prosser
Prosser, David, The Independent (London, England)
Love it or hate it, Premiership football returns today and, once again, if you want to watch live matches at home, you'll have to pay for the privilege. But that doesn't mean you have to put up a Sky satellite dish. Although you'll need the Sky Sports channels to watch live Premiership football, satellite television is not the only way to access this programming " and it may not be the cheapest or most appropriate option for you.
There are four ways to get access to more than the basic five channels screened nationally. Digital television is available through Sky itself, using a satellite dish and a decoder, or from cable companies such as NTL and Telewest, which run a cable into your home, as long as they have connected up your street. Then there is Freeview, for which you simply need to buy a new set-top box to connect to your existing TV aerial. The final option is the newest entrant " companies such as HomeChoice, which provide digital television through a broadband internet connection.
Bear in mind that with Freeview you can only access a limited number of free-to-air channels. These include services such as E4, BBC News 24 and Eurosport. This may be all you want, in which case Freeview can be cost-effective.
Alternatively, Top-up TV is a relatively new service that works with a Freeview box. On top of the Freeview offer, it gives you access to around 10 additional channels " the Cartoon Network, for instance " for pounds 7.99 a month. But you won't be able to access the Sky channels this way.
For these, you need digital cable or satellite television, or an internet- based provider. These other services work on a similar basis " for a fixed monthly fee, you get a small number of basic channels. You then pay extra for the Sky Sports channels, the Sky Movies channels and any other premium channels you require. Special deals are usually available if you want a mix.
It is important to decide whether TV is the only digital service you're looking for. …