Sky Costs and HD ChannelsSupplier: Sky HD
Starting with the initial set up costs of getting Sky HD, the situation is hugely complicated. At the time of writing, and running through to 24th of June, if you are new to Sky you can actually get a Sky+ HD receiver - including a standard installation - free. Plus a 50 quid voucher to spend at Marks & Spencers! The catch is that you must sign up for a minimum 12-month period, take a minimum £18 a month subscription package and sign up for the extra £10 a month Sky charges for its 'HD pack'. So that's a minimum of £28 a month.
If the installation requires the use of high ladders or long cable runs, you will also get billed extra for a non-standard installation.
Outside of the current promotion, standard installation is £30 a month, though the standard HD box is still free if you subscribe to channel packages.
There's a new Sky+ HD box boasting 1TB of storage, costing £249 or so, that we would consider getting instead of the standard HD box, given how quickly HD recordings eat up the mere 160GB of HDD space found in that standard HD receiver.
Some of the above information only applies, however, if you are completely new to Sky! Existing Sky customers wanting to upgrade to HD won't get the M&S vouchers, and will be looking at a £60 installation. Unless you opt to take up a multi-room subscription (an extra £10 a month), in which case you will get both your Sky+ HD box and installation free, provided you subscribe for 12 months and take the £10 a month HD pack.
You can also get a Sky+ HD receiver without taking a subscription. However, this will cost you £199 without giving you any recording functionality, which doesn't really make much financial sense given that the only HD channels you'll be able to watch on the box will be the subscription-free group of Luxe TV, Channel 4 HD, BBC HD, and ITV1 HD. And even Channel 4 HD requires a viewing card!
See - we told you it was complicated. And we're not done yet. For how many HD channels you get and how much your Sky monthly subscription is depends, of course, on which channel package you go for. Don't get confused into thinking that because you've coughed up £10 a month for the HD pack you'll get all of Sky's HD channels. That's because the majority of those HD channels are 'double tied', slotting into various Entertainment channel packs that all affect your monthly price depending on which pack - and how many packs - you select.
It would take far too long to cover all the options in full here. Instead, we simply refer you to Sky's Bundles and Offers page.
What we can say, though, is that if you want the full spread of HD content the platform has to offer, you'll be looking at a full monthly cost of around £58.50.
However, before you start mopping up the tea you just spluttered all over the floor, if you're an HD fan the amount of HD content you get on Sky's platform is in a league of its own.
There are more than 40 HD channels now, taking in everything from nature documentaries and news, to films, music, sports events, arts programmes and drama. Highlights include four Sky Sports channels, 13 different movie channels, Eurosport HD, ESPN HD, MTV HD, Discovery HD, National Geographic HD, National Geographic Wild HD, History HD, Crime HD, Sci-Fi HD, Bio HD, Sky1 HD. Plus, of course, the 'free' HD channels mentioned earlier.
As a result of this, it's entirely possible to watch almost exclusively HD content if you have a full Sky HD package - a situation which is desirable enough, remarkably, to make even the best part of £60 a month look almost - almost! - fair enough to us HD obsessives.