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Sport on UK TV - Who Offers What?
On this page, we look at which Sport channels are available Sky, Virgin, BT Vision, TalkTalk TV and Top Up TV, and explain how to get the various sports channels.
The Sky Digital TV Programme Guide - Showing the Sport EPG
Recommended Sports Options:
Sports channels compared
It's hard to dispute that for sports TV in the UK, Sky Digital is the master. Here's a rundown of the sports channels available on Sky Digital:
Pay per view events: These include boxing matches and Premier League football.
High-definition: Sky Sports has three High-definition (HD) sports channels, offering live Barclays Premier League Football, Football League, Cricket and Rugby. Eurosport and ESPN are also available in HD. More on Sky HD.
PC / Mobile phone: The Sky Anytime Mobile Phone service offers breaking sports headlines, interviews and results with live Sky Sports News.
To get Sky's Sporting packages, you need to sign up, then have one of Sky's engineers to install a satellite dish to your house and to connect a 'digibox' - a set-top box that into your TV.
For full details of Sky's sporting package, go to sky.com/shop/tv/sports.
Cost: You can get Sky Digital, with one of Sky's 'mix' packages, plus the Sky Sports Mix package, for £39.75 a month. This gives you over 200 channels of telly, the widest selection of sports channels, plus a free digibox when ordered online.
BT Vision is now able to undercut Sky on prices for Sky Sport!
BT Vision combines Freeview and on-demand TV, films and sport on your telly over a BT Broadband connection.
Sporting services offered include:
You need home broadband from BT Broadband to get BT Vision.
|Virgin Media Cable||
|Top Up TV||
Top Up TV Anytime is essentially a Freeview set-top box with a hard-disk recorder. The service offers a small amount of extra TV content that's delivered to your set-top box overnight for watching over the next seven days. With Top Up TV, here are the live sports channels available:
To get Top Up TV, you need to be in a Freeview coverage area. You need a Freeview set-top box or a digital TV set with a compatible Top Up TV Subscription card slot, such as the Top Up TV Anytime box.
Cost: A Top Up TV Anytime box costs from £30.
TalkTalk was formerly known as Tiscali TV, and offers TV over a phone line in the London area, as well as a number of other major towns in the UK. Here are the channels available:
To get Talktalk TV, you need to be in their coverage area. TalkTalk TV will supply a set-top box for connection to your telly and a phone line.
Cost: The TalkTalk TV service costs £19.99 a month for Broadband plus their basic TV service. Sport channels cost extra.
Freeview offers around 70 channels of digital TV and radio. It's thin on the ground for Sports channels:
Cost: To get Freeview, you need to check that you're in a Freeview coverage area, then buy a Freeview set-top box. Make sure it has a card slot suitable for a subscription card if you're planning to get Sky Sports or ESPN.
More detail at www.topuptv.com
How to get Sky Sports:
There are four Sky Sports channels available, but they're not available on all services:
- Sky Sports package (satellite) - All 4 channels - Channel 401, 402, 403 and 404 (Also in HD)
- BT Vision - Sky Sports 1 and 2 only (from £12.30 a month!)
- Top Up TV - Sky Sports 1 and 2 only (No contract!)
- Virgin Media (cable) - All 4 channels - Channel 512, 513, 514 and 516
- TalkTalk TV (via a phone line) - All 4 channels
After Setanta went into administration, ESPN stepped in to acquire rights to the Barclays Premier and Clydesdale Bank Premier matches due to be shown on Setanta. A new channel was set up in August 2009 to cover Premier League football, as well as other British sports, and some US sport.
ESPN is available on the following services:
- Sky Digital (satellite) - Channels 417 and 443 (in HD).
- Virgin Media (cable) - Channels 553 (also in HD)
- BT Vision (TV aerial) - Channel 34 (free with the BT Vision Unlimited pack)
- Top Up TV (TV aerial) - Channel 34
- Freeview (TV aerial) - Channel 34 - Suitable card slot required. ESPN Freeview
British Eurosport is available in the UK on the following services:
- Sky Digital (satellite) - Channel 410 (subscription - part of the 'News and Events' Mix package). Also in High Def
- Virgin Media (cable) - Channel 521
- TalkTalk TV (phone line)
- Online via the Eurosport Player
Racing UK offers horseracing coverage, and is available in the UK on the following services:
- Sky Digital (satellite) - Channel 432. Already with Sky? Go to racinguk.tv
- Virgin Media (cable) - Channel 536
- Online via Live Racing UK
Q. Eurosport in Ireland. "I have a question regarding Eurosport on Sky Digital... I live in Ireland and get British Eurosport, but is there a setting in the set up where i can get purely English speaking Eurosport? This may seem a small difference between the 2 offerings, but the main European English speaking Eurosport channel offers much more European cycling, where as British Eurosport doesn't.... (David Williams. Apr 2007)
A. Not sure we know the answer to this one. I assume that the channels you get with your Sky subscription are the ones that you get. There's no magic setting to change to a different version of Eurosport. Mail us if you can help David out with this one?
- Sports Channels in the UK - Our list of the main sports channels
- Cheaper Premier League Football on TV
- Sky Sports - How to get Sky Sports in the UK