Sacking off Sky TV

Or how the launch of the Sky Q made me reconsider EVERYTHING.

Or how the launch of the Sky Q made me reconsider my options and eventually cancel the near £1100 per year fees for a satellite service I don’t really need in exchange for the rather awesome Amazon Fire TV 4K.


Look everybody, Sky Q is here!

Doesn’t it look fantastic? I’ve been very excited about this launch for some time now and honestly thought I’d probably be one of the first people to sign up to it.

Thing is, when it all came out in the open and all the features, specs, and (crucially) pricing details were released, I realised that perhaps Sky Q wasn’t for me.

What’s more, there was such a negative halo effect from this decision that it made me reconsider my subscription to Sky TV as a whole.

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Some background:

I’ve had a 4K TV for just over two years now and, being one of the first off the shelf, some of the apps have never, and will never, be updated to deliver the 4K content that it desires. It was entirely out of reach, I just needed a new set-top box to make it happen (eg: if I really wanted to enjoy Netflix in 4K, I’d have to drop another £350 on this stupid piece of kit and I didn’t really want to do that).

When I heard about Sky Q I thought: ‘Ah ha! This is just the ticket!’ – and so I waited, and waited… and waited.

In the interim a few things happened: I looked at the Nvidia Shield TV – a perfectly reasonable solution. You pay for the set top box, get all the 4K goodness  thrown in, and hey – it doubles up as a gaming rig too. All for $200USD (about £140).

I asked my friend Matt what he thought about the Shield (sidenote: this 4K conversation has been going on for the best part of 24mths – the man has the patience of a saint) and he said ‘Sounds great but why not get an Amazon Fire TV? It’s pretty much the same but half the price’ – I checked, and Matt was right.

It was.


Well, not exactly half-price but at £79.99, it was a lot more palatable than £140. Which was nice.

‘But I really like having Sky Movies!’ – I said to myself.

And so I did nothing.

A few months later, Amazon had a special offer on: for one month only, you could buy Amazon Prime (free next day delivery + Amazon Prime video) for just £59 for the whole year. If you shop regularly at Amazon enough then saving on the delivery costs is worth that alone.

You’ll have to do the sums yourself though.

I did said sums and for the delivery savings alone, I subscribed.

It was around this time that Sky announced the full Sky Q feature set. Key point: 4K (aka UHD) content isn’t scheduled to appear until later in 2016 (damn) and the main focus of the whole thing is/was on multi-screen viewing (not interested).

Oh, and the price? £299 up front for the set top box and then an extra £50-odd a month.


It was at this point Amazon went and knocked the price of the Fire TV 4K down to £65.

You can guess what happened next:

And five days later, I gave Sky the 31 days notice it needs to cancel a TV subscription.


And all because of Sky Q.



  • My monthly package with Sky (movies, HD, 3D, family/variety packs – no sports) came to £90.65 a month. That’s £1087.80 per year. Ouch.
  • Amazon Prime was £59 for the first year (normal price £79), works out at £4.91 per month (normal price £6.58).
  • I’m not giving up Sky completely. I’m a Sky Fibre customer and as part of the cancellation process they sweetened the deal and I’ve now got monthly unlimited Internet for just over £20pcm.
  • Also, it turns out that if you cancel Sky TV, your box will still work as a Freeview box pulling in the standard free-to-air stuff you might find on other branded TV boxes – which is handy.
  • In total, I’ve dropped from paying £1087.80 per year to just over £300 per year (even with the initial outlay of the Fire TV box – that’s still a HUGE saving).


Thanks Sky Q!





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Author: James Whatley

Chief Strategy Officer in adland. I got ❤️ for writing, gaming, and figuring stuff out. I'm @whatleydude pretty much everywhere that matters. Nice to meet you x

9 thoughts on “Sacking off Sky TV”

  1. It’s not a hard decision is it. I I’m almost certainly following suit (though not via fire TV as i don’t have a 4K TV yet)


    in the interest of fairness i should make comparisons

    For ME ( and thats me, and teh end result is probably a similar prognosis…)
    SKY Q is £1.50 a month extra.
    I have the family pack, broadband and phone + movies.

    its still an eye watering £113.65 a month ( or £1363.80)
    I wonder id they were required to state the monthly amount it would
    change the status quo?

    The elephant in the room is the one off charge of £149

    £50 for standard installation – so that would be plugging it in?
    £99 for ‘Smart Features Fee – Sky Q Silver’
    so thats £99 towards your ad campaign (which sucks – you got the soundtrack and narrative all wrong)

    That brings the first year cost to ….. £1512.80

    sweet jezuz

    I could buy a fuck load of on demand / rental movies for that

    Sky Q is a product thats clinging on to a dead media – broadcast – its a hybrid iteration, it’s current usp is stop watching on one device and start on another – solving precisely no problem at all – and this has been tried before and no one cared (EE TV anyone?)

    They have their pure play digital the slightly dodgy NOW TV – but its crippled by lacking features and channels so as not to step on its grandad’s toes.

    one slight point (my mum’s netflix’s) is £107.88 you should be paying. so that bottoms you out at jsut over £400 (still a massive saving) but lets not forget you probably will spend at least £100 on series purchases (assuming your legal 😉

    even with that its a saving for half – whats not to like.

    a little loss of connivence? thats what sky are betting on – thats sky+ ‘toaster’ ease.

    they’ve long since lost that.

    James Whatley Reply:

    You said you’re ‘almost certainly’ following suit – what is it that’s stopping you from doing so? For me it was a number of things (well, as I’ve said above) that just happened around the same time. 4K content was a clincher for me too. You’re better off cutting the cord, so to speak, and spending on the money on a shiny new UHD TV 😉

    PS. Re: Mum. I offered, she refused. But then again, she’s got my Amazon Prime Video log in so it’s a fair(ish) trade 😛

    mac Reply:

    kids channels basically

    I can’t get them on other platforms apart from virgin. or BT possibly

    which is a large percentage of our tv usage.

  2. Does your old Sky box still record programmes? Or is it just good for watching what’s on at the time? I’m thinking about this too.

    James Whatley Reply:

    If I had cancelled completely then yes, but the kind chap on the other end of the ‘chat’ offered Sky+ features for free as a bonus ‘thank you’ for not cancelling everything. Which was nice.

    That said, I had already considered the pause/rewind/record element before cancelling and, after a bit of instruction-book-reading, realised my super-swish TV just needs a USB HDD plugged in the back of it before it too can record TV programmes at will.


  3. I’m on the top package too, and I can’t do it, not completely; while I could/should/probably will ditch the sports and movies parts of my package (at least once the football season is done), I watch far too much stuff that I can’t get as timely/easily elsewhere to go cold turkey.

    Sky One, Sky Atlantic, FOX, Comedy Central – combined with the ease of recording (and requesting recordings from the web/mobile app) – make ditching a toaster for a grill, stopwatch, and slide out pan, a no-go for me. As a borderline TV addict (I download enough stuff as it is), getting my fix in one place is essential, and US airdates are usually so close to Sky now (with a few exceptions) that going full-download-crazy is just not worth the hassle.

    4K is still in the early adopter phase, and the price of SkyQ is about what I expected – didn’t HD have a similar upgrade cost when it launched (and they’re still charging the £10 a month fee)?

    I might sound like a Sky advert, but I really couldn’t ditch it completely until something else all-in-one comes along, and I don’t think that’ll ever happen.

  4. welcome to he Dish Ditchers Club.

    When we let the Sky Fall we went through the motions of the cancellation department. I put the call on loudspeaker and I said “Hey kids this nice Lady wants to know if you would rather have SKY TV or The Internet” my kids as one shouted “Internet” They spent so much time on Youtube, Netflix and Amazon that I had no value in SKY. They didnt like watiing to watch content or being advertised too during their shows.

    It turns out many of their peers dont watch anything more than Mobile content.

    Its been two years now; we still dont miss Sky

  5. The real elephant in the room is that with Sky you pay for a TV service and still get ads!

    Netflix – paid no ads!
    Spotify – either ad supported and free. or paid and no ads.

    Sky – paid and ads!

    Need to write a post about that

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