Is it worth cancelling Sky to save money?

Sky+ HD BoxI’ve been re-assessing my film and TV viewing habits over the last few weeks and trying to get the best value for what we, as a family of two adults, and two children actually watch.

This has actually been a bit of a revelation and like many of you will also have realised, things have changed a great deal about how we consume TV and film entertainment in 2014.

We’re not short of things to watch in my household. As well as a coveted DVD and Blu-ray collection, we also have Netflix and LoveFilm subscriptions and use Blinkbox and Amazon for the more recent films. On top of this we have the basic Sky package (£24.50 Variety package at time of writing).

The devices we watch all this stuff on range from normal televisions, a projector, tablets and mobile phones. We also pause, and rewind live TV a lot which is something the Sky box has been invaluable for.

So what do we watch?

The first thing I noticed is that YouTube gets viewed – a lot. Especially by my daughter endlessly following tutorials on making loom band creations. Netflix also gets used a great deal, again with the kids putting one of their favourite shows or films on often as background to something else they’re doing. These are both consumed on their tablets rather than PC’s or TV’s.

The second thing I noticed is that our television channel viewing frequency is declining and the range of channels we watch has got narrower. It’s limited to basically just the standard BBC, ITV, and Channel 4 channels now – due mostly because of watching programmes available on Netflix like Breaking Bad and House of Cards. We do watch History Channel and Disney occasionally but not that much.

Lastly, family film watching is declining in our household. This is something I want to reverse as it’s important we all spend quality time watching a film together.

What stays, and what goes, and what about live pause?

Considering the cost of Netflix is only currently £5.99, it represents excellent value for money and had to stay.

We’d not watched the last disc we had from LoveFilm (on a now unavailable legacy package at £4.07 a month) for nearly six weeks so it was a candidate for cancelling, but considering that I wanted to watch more recent films together, and the relatively low cost, I’ve decided to keep it.

Sky, at £24.50 (to be £25.75 from 1st Sept 2014) was the standout exception. It was costing us the most and getting used the least so was a strong candidate for cancelling, but what to do about the rewinding and pausing we used so much?

Freesat and Freeview – they can pause and rewind too!

There are plenty of PVR’s on the market now that can pause and rewind live television, so this is no longer a reason to keep Sky on. Yes, there is an initial outlay, but at around £150, or at the most 6 months subscription costs, you can be contract and cost free.

In the next post I’ll outline what I did next, and how much I saved but I’d be interested to hear if anyone else if having similar thoughts – just use the comment form below.

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