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Sky+HD vs Virgin Media TiVo

Is it Sky+HD or Virgin Media TiVo that has the best picture quality? We find out with our exclusive tests

It wasn’t very long ago that the vast majority of the UK subsisted on the same four, slightly fuzzy-looking TV channels. In recent decades we’ve had an explosion of digital channels, satellite and cable TV become big business, not to mention more recent innovations such as internet catch-up services and high definition.

We set out to use our bespoke HDMI capture equipment to see which of the two main pay-TV platforms in the UK – Sky and Virgin Media – had the best HD image quality, but it soon expanded from there to take in on-demand and catch-up quality, too. Later on in this article you can see the side-by-side comparisons between the services and we think you’ll be surprised by the results. As well as a comparison here, we put both services through their paces, so you can find out which one provides the channels and services you need for the right price.

Choosing a TV service can be a very tricky proposition, and once made it’s also something you’re likely to live with many, many years, with most people only changing if they move homes. These days it’s not just TV either, with most of the best deals restricted to triple-play customers, which is those taking TV, broadband and telephone services from a single provider. Here we cover Sky and Virgin Media.

View our latest Sky discount codes

Some complex bundles are on offer, with different packages of channels, broadband bundles from limited use ADSL up to superfast fibre and cable services, and call packages for your landline too. Such bundles don’t come cheap, but once you’ve paid for line rental and broadband anyway then adding TV on top can be quite good value, especially when compared to buying your own PVR and replacing it every so many years.

In our reviews we’ve also looked at the range of content on each service; plus we’ve spent a lot of time looking at how easy that content is to access, as there’s no point in having thousands of hours of entertainment at your fingertips if you can’t find what you want.

Now you may not be able to receive all the services here, but Sky is available to most people, Virgin Media is supplied to more than 50 per cent of UK homes, and the new fibre optic broadband services also have around 50 per cent coverage at present. A good place to start is the USwitch broadband checker, which will give you a rough idea of what services you can receive.


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