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Every penny counts: How subscription-free set-top boxes save you money

Posted by Hannah Wright on 12th February 2014

With 81% of us finding price is the most important factor when investing in technology products (research by EML Wildfire), it’s no surprise that we’re not just a nation of TV addicts, but also a country of bargain hunters, super-scrimpers and penny savers.

Whatever you want to call it – Brits are notoriously known for hunting out the ‘cheap-as-chips’ prices when it comes to technology products. And there is some unrest as to how much paid-for subscriptions are really worth the money, after a fifth (20%) of us chose to switch from at least one technology communications service in 2013 (Ofcom’s Consumer Experience Report 2013).

So to help out any of those who are feeling mystified as to why set-top boxes can save you some cash, we’ve highlighted our favourite reasons:

1) Brings smart TV services to your fingertips – minus the smart TV

Set-top boxes can offer a plethora of features that are also available on the latest smart TVs – at just a fraction of the cost. They are a good alternative to those that like the features of a smart TV, but have no plans to invest in a new one or are turned off by a hefty price tag.

With all the on-demand players such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Player and 4oD available at your finger-tips, these boxes are an affordable substitute to those that want these catch-up features, alongside access to apps such as YouTube and Flickr, played straight to their TV screens.

2) Offers more channels compared to other paid-for services

Set-top boxes offering free TV services frequently provide a larger amount of channels to choose from than your typical paid-for TV providers.

For instance, a Virgin Media package offers 60 channels for £25.99 a month (then £35.99 after six months) whereas a set-top box can offer well over double the amount with 170 channels and 5 of those in HD, starting from just £99.

Saving money AND helping you to successfully avoid those daily “but there’s nothing on TV” whinges!

3) No monthly subscriptions saves money in the long-run

Taking into consideration how much subscription packages cost, you can easily make up the cost of a set-top box within a few short months. Taking the package from Virgin as an example (£25.99 a month), you would have spent £311.88 in just one year – with high-quality set-top boxes starting as little as £99 and lasting several years.

Of course there are some cheaper subscription packages available, but when comparing this directly with the amount of features on offer with the monthly packages and the additional features with the set-top box – there is a definite huge cost saving over the course of a year.

4) Saves money (and hassle) when moving house

If you’re moving to a different property, often one of the most tedious things to tick off your to-do list is ringing up and telling all your providers that you’re moving on. This often requires a notice period and can sometimes entail an additional installation fee in your new place.

If additional installation is required, it can take a while to get the TV service up and running in the new home. With a set-top box you can literally pop the product in your luggage and set it up immediately as soon as you arrive – free of charge of course!

Hannah Wright

After joining in 2011, Hannah brings a wealth of experience across both consumer and B2B PR.