I’m not sure if I have already mentioned this on the blog or not, but recently I was debating whether to renew my TV licence or not. My licence expired two weeks before I left my last house and because they don’t do short-term licences (God bless them), I had to decide whether to renew it for the time I had left there, or go without and only watch catch-up TV.
I opted for the latter and we got into a habit of only watching TV on catch-up. It worked perfectly! Turns out, there aren’t really that many programmes that I desperately have to watch live and so we managed just fine.
(I’m still totally annoyed with the licence people, obv.)
But like with everything else right now, I have to decide how we are going to watch TV in our next home, and whether I was going to bother with a new TV licence or not – and so I thought I’d go through what my options are and whether I think they’d work for us.
Not that my sad existence revolves around watching TV or anything.
Now I’m temporarily living with Dad, you may have seen me mention before that one of the definite plusses is that he has Sky TV … obviously, we love his company too etc, but yes, Sky is a definite bonus. Having said that, suffice to say, Dad is a huge sports fan (think ALL the horse racing and darts) and so there are a lot of occasions where we can’t watch what we want because he’s either watching sport live or recording it. Haha, so selfish. But I found a great workaround – Sky Go!
Sky Go is an app that allows you to watch your usual TV channels on the go from another device – mobile, laptop or tablet. So when Dad is watching darts, I can be in the same room but be watching Friends on my mobile. Or, if he’s recording the Grand National, I can watch the Game of Thrones boxset on my laptop upstairs. Sky Go is free and Sky Go Extra (which allows you to watch boxsets) is free for the first two months so by the time I have to pay, and it’s only £5 a month, we’ll (hopefully) be in our own house.
The fact that Idris Elba promotes Sky has nothing to do with my love of this app. Nothing. Whatsoever.
You do, of course, need to know someone who actually does pay for Sky J and just use their subscription. Nice one Dad!
Next up, Now TV. My eldest son has Now TV at the house he shares while he’s at Uni and seems happy with it. (BT, not so much, but that’s another story.)
Now TV appeals because you aren’t tied into a contract. Think how annoying it is when you’re tied into anything for 12 months (the gym, boyfriends …) and then you can understand Now TV’s number one USP. You need to buy a box, which turns your TV into a Smart TV, allowing you to get Sky Movies, Sports and Entertainment. Each package is priced differently but it’s around the £6.99-£9.99 per month range.
TopCashback are actually offering a great deal at the moment too if any of you are also looking to make a switch. If you sign up to Now TV via TopCashback, you get lots of money back! (Well, nearly £14 to be precise.) Anyway, check out the link if you’re interested to find out more details.
And Netflix. Ah Netflix, how I love thee. I’ve been signed up to Netflix for well over a year now and it’s been great. Ben uses it from Uni as an additional user, and Dexter does too … so for the £5.99 I pay each month, it’s great value. Some of my most favourite programmes have been from Netflix (think Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul), so I don’t regret paying for Netflix at all. BUT, it doesn’t always have the most up-to-date selection of films and it can get a little samey. Which isn’t so bad if you watch Sherlock, The Office and Merlin on repeat like we do.
Finally, Google Chromecast. It is THE best device ever! (As far as technically shizzle goes.) It’s a media streaming device that plugs into the back of your TV and allows you to watch online video and your favourite apps on your TV. For example, I have the iPlayer and Netflix apps on my phone, so I choose what I want to watch and then ‘cast’ it onto the TV and the touch of one button. Also, if you use the Chrome browser, you can cast anything you’re looking at on your laptop/ipad onto the screen too. It costs £30 and it is fantastic. My brother bought one, and I bought one for Ben at Uni.
The thing is, I can’t really afford Sky or Virgin TV packages, but it’s great that there are other alternatives out there. iplayer, 4OD, ITV Player … you don’t actually need to watch live TV in the conventional way that we’ve been used to and you could save yourself £145on the TV licence fee if you’re smart about your choices.
I’d love to hear about how you watch your TV.