Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Cheap Entertainment; Take Your Pick for the Best TV, Broadband and Phone Deal

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Cheap Entertainment; Take Your Pick for the Best TV, Broadband and Phone Deal

Article excerpt

Byline: Lucy Tobin

The days when TV watching meant all the members of a household piling together to pick between one of a handful of channels are long gone -- and now mobile provider EE wants to shake up the choice-packed homeentertainment market even more. Britain's biggest mobile operator's new set-top box lets viewers watch up to four live and on-demand TV programmes at the same time on different devices -- from TVs to smartphones and tablets. But in an era of free catchup TV online, and a huge array of bundled packages offering TV, broadband and phone-line deals, which is the cheapest way to organise your home entertainment, and what's included with all the major providers? The myriad "deals" out there make it tough to compare all the packages on the market, but there are some fees that will apply in all of them. The first is line rental, since most TV services are now sold as part of a bundle with broadband. Line rental usually costs about PS15 a month. You may also face a set-up charge: some providers impose a fee for their TV set-top box or for installation, while others don't. But since the market is very competitive, it's worth bartering with providers to get this free if there is an advertised charge.

Check the length of the deal and what happens to monthly charges: some soar after an "introductory period", and look out for inclusions too -- are there free weekend calls, for example, and is the internet usage unlimited? Are the TV channels you like most included? Comparison websites Broadbandchoices and SimplifyDigital will help you find the total cost of various packages.

EE's new smart box (which includes access to some 70 channels and catchup services, including BBC iPlayer, YouTube, and DailyMotion) is free to the telecom giant's almost 800,000 broadband customers, or, for EE mobile customers, it costs PS9.95 per month for the box, broadband and free evening and weekend calls. The line rental costs PS15.75 per month on top of that. …

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