Do ad­just your set

From­live sports and hit­movies to catch-up ser­vices and box-set binges, there are­more home en­ter­tain­ment op­tions to­day than ever be­fore. Here, tech guru Tom­bai­ley ex­plains how to get ex­actly what you want with­out pay­ing for ser­vices you don’t need

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What do I get formy­money with ex­pen­sive pack­ages from Sky and Vir­gin?

Es­sen­tially, you are pay­ing for ac­cess to the lat­est films and ex­clu­sive live sports cov­er­age such as Pre­mier League foot­ball matches. In re­turn for sign­ing up to a pricey an­nual con­tract, the provider will in­stall a fancy set-top box with ac­cess to 250+ chan­nels and 50+ Hd­chan­nels. You will be able to store, pause and rewind TV, and watch your favourite shows on mo­bile de­vices. The most ad­vanced paid-for pack­age, Sky Q (from £22 a month), adds next-gen­er­a­tion fea­tures such as 4K Ul­tra-hd broad­casts and touch­screen re­mote con­trols. What if I don’t need all that? If watch­ing the sea­son premiere of Game of Thrones is not a mat­ter of life and death, there’s no need to fork out cost­ly­monthly fees. Freeview, the re­place­ment for the UK’S old ana­logue TV ser­vice, of­fers up to 70 chan­nels and 15Hd­chan­nels through a TV aerial. There are no con­tracts or fees ( be­sides a TV Li­cence). All TVS made af­ter 2010 have a Freeview tuner built-in; older TV sets may re­quire the ad­di­tion of a plug-in Freeview box (£50 for a no-frills model). What in heaven’s name are BT TV and EE TV? When you sign up to a broad­band con­tract with BT, EE or Talk­talk, you can add in a TV ser­vice. You get a set-top box that com­bines Freeview chan­nels through a TV aerial with on-de­mand TV through broad­band. BT TV and Talk Talk are per­fect for sports fans, as both of­fer Sky chan­nels (£22 ex­tra per­month for BT; £16 ex­tra on Talk Talk). EE TV of­fers pay-per-view ac­cess to Sky.

What if I don’t want to bolt an aerial/dish to the side ofmy beau­ti­ful home?

Thanks to the magic of tech­nol­ogy, you can opt to watch TV on­line via apps such as BBC iplayer and ITV Hub. Smart TVS – by that we mean TV sets that con­nect to the in­ter­net – of­fer seam­less ac­cess to most pop­u­lar catch-up ser­vices. They also act as a por­tal for on-de­mand sub­scrip­tion ser­vices such as Net­flix and Ama­zon Prime Video. ➤

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