BSkyB gets bigger and stronger - but are they REALLY any good?

30 April 2009

BSkyB have announced a pretty decent profit of £622 million for the nine-month period to the end of March this year – but do they deserve it?

The figure is a rise of 23% on the previous year and the dish-wielding broadcast behemoths have put the profit surge down to the popularity of their HD service and the adding of 80,000 new customers in the last quarter.

Maybe you’re a newcomer to Sky, delighted with your shiny new HD box. Or perhaps you’re a long-standing, loyal Sky customer who still has a five-year old Sky+ box that keeps on freezing or breaking down. You might have signed up for their cheap HD upgrade only to find you’re at the back of a long waiting list and that the HD box you’ll eventually get will be out of date or even refurbished.

What’s the answer? Is it worth switching to a rival provider? Should Sky do more to retain customers by upgrading hardware in the same way that mobile phone companies do? Have you seen the girls on the 900+ channels during the day recently? They’re wearing less and less aren’t they?

Let us know how Sky makes YOU feel?

[Sky News - obviously]

TOPICS:   TV   Economy

24 comments

  • Brad
    If SKY didnt have most of the sport buttoned down, i wouldnt bother, 900+ channels of crap.
  • Alan
    They roped me in with the free sky + box, free installation, basic package, and free phone line installation (no £122 charge) and the basic broadband (which i was going to upgrade to the £10 anyway). They fucked up the order twice, when it finally did get installed, they also charged me for sky sports....which i dont watch. Especially with summer coming up, it wont even be considered by me til the footie seasons starts in august. Plus, its only me in the house, ill watch sports somewhere else and actually be sociable. the telephone, god, what a nightmare. Still in Bt's system, but it got cancelled by me today as i discovered Bt are offering free installation, so again, no £122 charge from them. Line rental is in the region of £12 a month (£2 more than Sky), but it means i can get o2 broadband now with £70 quidco. So, works out cheaper overall. Will keep the tv package as i reckon the sky+ box is worth it compared to freeview and that jazz. And gives me good pulling power over them in a years time when i want to fuck off to something else and see if they will upgrade stuff for free. EVERY COMPANY DOES IT, DONT THEY? Anyway, to answer your question, do they deserve it? Dunno.
  • Mark
    "You might have signed up for their cheap HD upgrade only to find you’re at the back of a long waiting list and that the HD box you’ll eventually get will be out of date or even refurbished." How did you come to that conclusion? It's hardly like the boxes are going to be any different for people getting them installed in 10 weeks than those 10 weeks ago. And considering refurbs are for 1. people who ask for one, b. in warranty replacements for boxes over 3 months old or c. replacements for the dodgy Pace boxes that were recalled I doubt Sky will force a refurbished box apon you. Other than my dodgy Sky+ box which I'm going to get sorted next week with a service call, everything is fine with my Sky
  • Mike H.
    Put the remote down, stop eating Ben and Jerrys, get off your fat sweaty arse, go outside and do something interesting, rewarding and worthwhile with your life.
  • Kevan
    I hate BskyB with a passion!!!! Why? Because they go and buy up the exclusive rights to any half successful programme from under the noses of the terrestrial channels. It started with (for me) 24 then they did it with LOST and then Prison Break :-(((( grrrrr!!!! Dare I mention the cricket? The one field sport I like (hate football) and BskyB grab the rights to it. Ok, that's my little rant over now a question. How can anybody find the time to watch even half of what is on BskyB? I have Freeview and there is ample on there for me to watch (not withstanding the fact I miss 24, LOST and Prison Break of course). If I had BskyB then I wouldn't be able to find time to do anything else but sit vegetating watching tv. So, the real question is, why? Is it really worth it?
  • Justin
    Ditched a lot of the packages after Sky kept hiking the price. Started in the low thirties and ditched everything I could after it broke £44. The basic service I have is now £20/month. Sky+ has some hopeless bugs due to being older. They actually want me to pay for a new box despite my loyalty? That's crazy. The current box can hang, loose optical sound until power-cycled, randomly fails on recordings for no reason and looses SCART control for widescreen until I go into settings and switch it off then on. The boxes is also so old I can't receive Sky Anytime but I don't see that as a loss. In the end I consider it to be less than £1/day for a decent amount of extras. Would I go Sky HD? Nope - resolution doesn't tend to push 720p and is patchy. Not worth £9.75 extra plus the installation. If the box finally keels I'll consider it, but also a dual HD Humax recorder on freeview. Sky have screwed me for years on a patchy service and extras I don't want (phone / broadband). For me to change my current position will involve serious begging on their part.
  • Carlos J.
    @ Kevan You need to discover the joys of the internet and HD downloads of all your favourite programmes the day after they are shown in the states ;) I cancelled my sky years ago, rubbish company, rubbish service, now I download and watch what I want when I want to :)
  • Mike
    Its not that Sky buy up the rights to successful programs, its that ITV and BBC want to make their dire low budget shite with cg scenes that would make a child cringe, instead of paying for decent programs made elsewhere. I pretty much watch American programs exclusively now, occasionally watching Dr Who or football.
  • jsoap
    It always amazed me how they managed to launch digital with proprietary hardware, that would not even allow free to air reception, against the EU directive, that every other broadcaster in Europe adhered too. In addition they subsidised the hardware by creating a separate company (British Interactive Broadcasting), who paid the subsidy for remaining connected to the phoneline. Again this was illegal, because like the proprietary hardware it made it impossible for any competition to gain entry into the market. The result of this was we we are the only country in Europe with a satellite broadcasting monopoly. The result is that they can and do as they please.
  • Shawn P.
    Why not just go for Freesat!?
  • Mr M.
    I have a friend who works for Sky who offered me one of their Friends and Family packages. I ended up with free install, free Sky+ box (the nice Pace v3 one and new not refurb) plus all of the packages except the premium ones. Could have had broadband too with that deal - didn't take the broadband. Short(ish) version is that the box provides 800+ channels and in the 4 months that it has been installed, I have recorded just one programme (Skellig) and watched at most a couple of hours, spent mostly channel hopping to see if there was anything to watch - found nothing! Would I have signed up for this if I had to pay money for it - no way. As far as I am concerned, I can see (for myself) absolutely no value in what they offer. For me, what works is Freeview and that has all that I need/want. At some stage, Freesat will be worth swapping to and I have the Sky dish with a 4 port LNB already installed when that becomes a sensible alternative. Currently have a Humax Freeview PVR and will go back to them for my Freesat PVR when the Freesat service gets some sensible HD content.
  • Pizza_D_Action
    "Why not just go for Freesat!?" Sky basic with sky+ = £16.50 per month x 12 = £198 (I am assuming cashback and voucher covers cost of box and install) Humax Foxsat = £299 + cost of satellite dish and installation.
  • Pizza_D_Action
    @ Mr Myopia... (or any other friends of sky employees) If anyone else has a spare Friends and Family code then I would happily make use of it.... Cheers
  • Mark
    Pizza, the last Family and Friends offer for staff finished at the end of March.
  • Mr M.
    @Pizza_D_Action -wrt your Humax maths, even adding in a hundred quid for dish install, £400 for ever makes more economic sense to me than a Sky install with a Sky box that does not provide all of the channels when you cancel the contract and pay £25 for the watch for ever version. Plus if you want Sky HD, as I understand it, that's another £9.75 per month for a year and I am assuming you manage to get a free Sky HD box. Returning to your maths, your £198 for Sky needs a minimum of 12 x £9.75 adding to it which takes your figure to over £300. That £300 is, coincidently, the cost of the HD Humax PVR. If your Sky HD box is not free, then the case for the HD Humax PVR becomes, I think, even more compelling. Maybe it's just 'cause I love Humax.
  • Matt
    If they weren't so damn incompetent it would make the charges easier to swallow. This about sums it up for me: http://www.illinformed.co.uk/?p=5 Mr Myopia makes a good point about the total cost of Sky HD vs. an HD PVR. Something to investigate, I think!
  • no,I'mspartacus
    If you have ever known the joy of sitting waiting on their 0870 "customer service" line for 10 to 15 minutes, only to speak to someone who speaks enlish as a second or third language, and as much help as Helen Keller's reading glasses, then my friend, you will truly come to despise the leviathon that is Sky
  • ian
    had sky tv ,tried to cancel now got tv ,phone and broadband from sky, deal done by only charging me £4 more per month for all 3 than i was paying for BT broadband ALONE !! WTF Broadband speed SAME, reliability SAME cost WAY BELOW! tv is rubbish {i dont even know if my box is connected now lol} tv quality was rubbish when i last looked blocky and blurry phone way cheaper, only loss was no caller ID cannot somehow get it to work but hey calls near enough free lol
  • RB
    Best ISP available.
  • Mr M.
    @RB - what makes you think they are the best ISP please?
  • crofter
    I think it is time that Sky were actually made to start producing some Home Grown Programmes, you know dramas, films and documentaries instead of Rupert Murdoch (UK division) simply "paying" Rupert Murdoch (US division) for all this imorted tripe. Until this actually happens and Sky actually resembles a British Channel based in the UK I will never give THEM a fucking penny or a dime ...
  • Tin
    Sky are wondrous until you have to deal with their CS. Unfortunately you normally have to deal with their CS to get the fecking thing installed. I wonder if ANYONE really didn't get charged for their Sky until the very day it was installed and activated. They REALLY don't give two shits about their customer base - there's nowhere else to go for movies, sport especially, and the 500+ other channels of crap people perceive they want, so anyone that thinks they need lots of TV will be paying Sky (even if it's via Virgin) - so why _should_ they give a toss? It's time the British people realised the more we pay them, the more they will buy stuff that means we can only watch it if we pay them. They're also the sole architects of making standard definition digital TV look so bloody awful that we all THINK we need HD to show off our lovely plasmas. I call on all to cancel your Sky. It may be painful for a couple of years, but you'll be able to watch stuff on free TV again :) (yeah right, like that's going to happen. British public = no bollocks)
  • HotUKDeals B.
    [...] our ‘Are Sky any good or just a bunch of heartless crooks?’ debate yesterday, there was a strong show of support for Humax and their HDD PVR. Now you can see what all [...]
  • Brett
    I love sky, best sports broadcaster inthe world by far!!!!

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