Home media packages leave consumers confused
Take TV, phone and broadband from one firm, and you can save money. But confusion reigns, say Julian Knight and Chiara Cavaglieri
Sunday 15 March 2009
Consumers could save £30 a month on average by "bundling" their digital TV, phone and broadband services with one provider, says comparison site SimplifyDigital.co.uk. But around one in four are still choosing to go to three separate providers.
"People acquire these services organically over time," explains Charlie Ponsonby, chief executive of SimplifyDigital. "They get a BT home line, Sky TV and then they see an advert for a broadband provider."
Many consumers, it seems, are also confused by the technology and the choice. "The market is full of confusing jargon such as HD or personal video recorders [PVRs]," he adds. "On top of this, we reckon there are some 15,000 different deals out there, so it's easy to see why many consumers find it hard to know what's what."
A scan of the comparison websites reveals that there are several dozen providers across TV, broadband and home phones, compared to just six big players in the home energy market, for example. The differences can be tiny, with suppliers offering identical deals except, say, for free weekend calls to the US. Other deals involve a free gift, such as a laptop or PVR.
Mr Ponsonby adds that broadband consumers are often concerned that switching will lead to a loss of service. In some instances, providers have been slow to give departing customers a MAC code, without which they can't switch.
Consumer groups warn that the devil may lurk in the detail when you're seeking a new supplier. "Make sure you're out of any current contracts and beware of initial promotional pricing. Also, the more attractive deals often have the longer contracts, and always remember to look out for extra charges tucked away in the small print," says Natalie Hitchins at Which?. She adds that advertised download speeds for broadband can be misleading and consumers may end up paying extra for high speeds that they can't access.
One of the most important considerations in choosing a package is your address, as both pricing and coverage can vary widely according to location. Contracts also need to be examined very carefully as there may be substantial charges for leaving one provider before a deal runs out.
This is where comparison sites are meant to help. Some just offer a list of prices and services, while others are more exhaustive. Among these are SimplifyDigital and Broadband Choices.co.uk, whose product director, Michael Phillips, says consumers need to consider three factors when looking to bundle their broadband, digital TV and home-phone packages.
"Firstly check your usage, because that has the biggest impact on what you end up paying. Then see what's available in your area and shop around for a package that matches your usage. And, thirdly, find out if it's possible to stick with your current provider. Give them a ring – then haggle."
Independent Partners: See how much you could save by switching credit cards. Compare now
Simon Calder looks at communities fighting back against the poachers
Arsenal 1 Everton 1: Substitute equalises with six minutes to go
booksGeese, gorillas, grandads... and growing up
food + drinkMichelin-starred Tom Sellers on being this year's hottest property
tvParents (and kids) rejoice! A new wave of fantastic family entertainment is here
- 1 Hundreds arrested as Canadian police smash worldwide paedophile ring
- 2 Sherlock series 3: Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman provide teasers for the biggest comeback in British television
- 3 The man who made Femen: New film outs Victor Svyatski as the mastermind behind the protest group and its breast-baring stunts
- 4 Mass murder in the Middle East is funded by our friends the Saudis
- 5 Japan cracks down on leaks after scandal of Fukushima nuclear power plant
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£25000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C++ Server Dev...
£300 - £350 per day: Harrington Starr: Leading Electronic Trading Software Ven...
£80000 - £100000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Harrington Starr: Project Manag...
£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Harrington Starr: Business Analy...
Day In a Page
A three-bedroom Grade II-listed mews house with vaulted ceilings and roof garden
A spacious Grade II-listed family home with annexe and equestrian facilities among four acres of land in Itchingfield
A four-bedroom home with exposed brick walls and open fires in the picturesque village of Northill
A Grade II-listed property with five bedrooms and unique tower, overlooking Hastings Old Town
A charming five-bedroom detached family home, set within half an acre in Kew
A two-bedroom maisonette set on the top two floors of a period building, close to Kentish Town Tube.
Take advantage of the extra space provided by former stables and outbuildings at this five-bedroom farmhouse.
This three-bedroom Victorian terrace is near to Queen’s Road Peckham station, Nunhead station.
A five-bedroom modern house with terrace, swimming pool, Zen treehouse and large carp pond
An unexpected gem with four bedrooms, remarkable vaulted reception and a galleried study area
A five-bedroom house in one of Lymington's most sought after tree lined avenues, moments from the marinas and sailing clubs
A grand early 19th century B&B close to the historic harbour, with four en suite bedrooms
A four-bedroom, 17th century home with walled gardens, a landscaped terrace, cellar and open fires
A six-bedroom house with five bathrooms and four reception rooms spread over 4,000sq ft of luxury living space
A stunning three double-bedroom apartment with two decked terraces in the exclusive gated community, Bromyard House
A 10-bedroom period, family home amid beautiful surroundings in the centre of the Wentworth Estate in Longcross village
A stylish three-bedroom apartment with two bathrooms and private landscaped garden, moments from Fitzroy Square
A Grade II-listed Elizabethan barn with landscaped gardens, exposed elm beams and four bedrooms, all with lovely views
A six-bedroom family home, dating back to 1280 with four reception rooms, barn, swimming pool and tennis courts in Harwell
A spacious two-bedroom flat, refurbished to a very high standard with private landscaped garden, close to Kentish Town station
An exceptional two-bedroom apartment with balcony and underground parking in the centre of Richmond
A one-bedroom, luxury, duplex apartment in the grand landmark building, Imperial Hall
Run a fabulous boutique shop, live above it in a one-bedroom flat and let a second one-bedroom flat that comes part and parcel
A Grade-II listed, thatched cottage in Hundleby village, with five bedrooms, a coach house and three and a half acres
A spacious two-bedroom flat in the heart of Hoxton Square with wooden floors and roof terrace
A five-bedroom family home with stunning pool and gym complex set among two acres of land
A six-bedroom period house with heated swimming pool and a separate two-bedroom annexe cottage in Townlake, £795,000
A spacious and contemporary two-bedroom flat arranged over three floors, with garden patio close to St George Square, £600,000
A one-bedroom flat in a beautiful Regency building opposite the beach in Kemp Town, £190,000
A two-bedroom flat with London skyline views close to Surrey Quays. £395,000.
A seven-storey tower with three bedrooms and a stunning roof terrace. Guide price: £850,000.
A 16-bedroom country pile with nine reception rooms, four self-contained flats and a 13th century Peel Tower. £850,000.
A classic six-bedroom Victorian Manse house 10 miles from Edinburgh. £495,000.
John Lennon's childhood home in Liverpool to be sold at auction. Guide price: £150,000-£250,000.
A six-bedroom detached period property with secluded gardens, ample parking and a double garage in Rye, £675,000.
A large split-level property with three double-bedrooms and roof terrace, close to Crouch End Broadway, £625,000.
A charming barn conversion in the picturesque Cotswold village of Ilmington with three bedrooms, a detached garage, workshop and beautifully manicured gardens £675,000.
A three-bedroom new build, ground-floor flat with two bathrooms, close to Bermondsey tube, £445,000.
A three-bedroom house in an enviable new development moments from Oxshott High Street, with secluded garden and decked area, £385,000
A two-bedroom split-level flat with stunning south-west facing roof terrace in the popular Brondesbury Conservation Area, £549,950.
A charming 16th century, three-bedroom detached house in Bidborough with picturesque garden