Streaming dongle v TV package

My TV and broadband package with BT is about to run out. I don’t watch much TV, about 5 hrs a month, dramas, documentaries and films mostly. I almost always watch these on catchup apps. There is sometimes something on Sky which I would like to watch but can’t access. I’ve been told that if I buy a streaming dongle, Firestick or similar, I won’t need to have a TV package and it will work out cheaper even if I have to pay for content. Is this right?
Ive also been told you can get an app for the dongle which will make it record, pause and playback and another so you can mirror content from your iPad to TV. Are these easy to use? 
In other words, what are the advantages of a TV package over a streaming dongle?
Id be very grateful for some quick advice as my contract runs out in 10 days.
Thanks very much

Comments

  • Neil_Jones
    Neil_Jones Posts: 8,898 Forumite
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    All Sky material is behind a pay wall, you can't get this for free.  Cheapest way depending on the content you may want to watch is Now TV, which is a one month rolling contract basis.

    Note that the main catch-up services - iPlayer, ITV Hub, All4 - are all available outside of BT on the appropriate websites and on other streaming providers - Now, Firestick, Roku, etc, so you don't need BT TV for them, but you will need a broadband package of some sort to get the data.

    App wise, not usually for streaming devices for pause/record/playback, but the mirroring ability is normally part of the phone software.
  • Cornucopia
    Cornucopia Posts: 16,151 Forumite
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    edited 3 October 2020 at 5:38PM
    The Entertainment pass on Now TV is now £9.99 per month, although offers are very widely available.   That gets you access to a bundle of the main Sky channels (not including Films or Sport).   To get HD, you need the "Boost" that costs £3pm.   There may also be Sky channels available with TV packages from Talktalk and EE, so might be worth checking if they have the channel(s) you want.   


    You'll need a Broadband contract to replace BT (which is usually more expensive than average).   Now TV broadband is okay, in my experience, and tends to be at the cheaper end, starting from £18/month.   There don't seem to be any bundles on offer at the moment of Broadband + TV.   You can have Now TV with any broadband provider.

    You'll need a Smart TV or a streaming device to plug into your TV.   Streaming generally works on the basis of pause, rewind (and for catch-up) fast-forward.   There isn't usually a record capability because the content is generally available from the service whenever you want to watch it.

    Further questions:-

    - which channel(s) do you want to access?

    - what is your current BB package and line speed from BT, is it adequate for streaming?

    - do you have a Smart TV?
  • Cornucopia, I don’t have a Smart TV and am looking to find another provider for broadband. I’m still confused. If I have a streaming dongle what is the advantage of having a TV package as well? 
  • pphillips
    pphillips Posts: 1,631 Forumite
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    The advantage of having a TV package is that you get more live TV channels than you'll find on a streaming stick. If you mostly watch TV on demand then a streaming stick will probably be a better option. We don't know what you want to watch so can only provide general advice.
  • Neil_Jones
    Neil_Jones Posts: 8,898 Forumite
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    Best thing I would say is your BT box doubles up as a Freeview receiver.  If you only watch the channels that are on Freeview, its pointless paying for any other TV package.  If your TV doesn't have Freeview already in it (and it would have to be mega mega old for this to be the case) you can get Freeview boxes.  Note that in the future when you do replace the TV it will probably come with Freeview Play, which will give you all the on-demand content and apps you use now, but that's for the future.

    Depending on what you watch, there is some free content on Amazon and some free "teaser" Netflix material, but the bulk of the content for these is behind the pay wall.  Since you mention you've wanted to see something on Sky I repeat:  Look at Now TV which is relatively cheap and a good top-up to Freeview.

    on the other hand if you prefer quantity over quality and would like access to about 600 channels, Sky will give you it.  Whether its worth paying for it is another matter and only you can answer that.  At 5hrs a month viewing, probably not.
  • Cornucopia
    Cornucopia Posts: 16,151 Forumite
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    edited 4 October 2020 at 9:11AM
    Cornucopia, I don’t have a Smart TV and am looking to find another provider for broadband. I’m still confused. If I have a streaming dongle what is the advantage of having a TV package as well? 
    As above, the dongle is HOW you watch, and the package is WHAT you watch.

    If you want to access one or more Sky channels, then there are only a few ways to do that, of which Now TV is probably the cheapest option.  

    If you don't have a Smart TV, then you will need new hardware, and if you want Now TV, again there are only a few ways to do that, the simplest/cheapest of which is the Now TV hardware (either new or second hand).   With Now TV, you get free access to BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All4, My5 and UKTV player, and whatever other pay TV you add from the various options with Now TV and Netflix.

    Unfortunately, whoever told you that dongles and pay TV were two mutually exclusive things was wrong, and Sky will only be available through some kind of Pay TV option anyway.
  • JJ_Egan
    JJ_Egan Posts: 20,281 Forumite
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    OP do what i have just done for next door to find the way forward /
    list what channels  you want/ need .
    Post them for exact advise .
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