Virgin Media vs Sky vs eir vs Vodafone; when it comes to TV, how do they compare?
Robyn Hamilton
Staff Writer

In this article we take a look at Sky, Virgin Media, eir and Vodafone, Ireland’s four biggest TV providers, to see how they stack up against one another when it comes to providing a quality TV package with plenty of variety.

Trying to decide on the perfect TV package to suit your needs and tastes can be a pretty confusing task - especially when offers are wrapped up in confusing marketing lingo and small print that’s easy to overlook. Thus, in this article, we’re stripping it all back to compare TV packages across providers like-for-like.

In the interest of fairness, we’ve chosen Sky’s Variety TV bundle Virgin Media’s Full House bundle, eir’s Vision TV Experience bundle and Vodafone’s TV Plus bundle to compare against each other. These are all medium priced bundles, that are a step up from entry level packages but rank below more premium priced packages that would include the likes of premium sport and movie channels as standard. So, without further preamble - let’s get to it!

Sky Variety TV

What do you get?

Over 90 channels including all of the Irish & UK staples, many of Sky’s own channels including Sky Atlantic, Sky One, Sky Two, Sky Arts, Sky Living and much more.

Key features

Sky Q:

Sky TV comes with Sky Q which is a handy service. It gives you the ability to stream TV on one tablet. You can also record 3 shows and watch a 4th live. Store up to 150 hours with 1 TB storage and enjoy over 300 Sky Box Sets on demand. Not too shabby!

Sky Q Fluid viewing:

Fluid Viewing lets you watch recordings around your home. Pause in one room and carry on in another. Sync recordings to your tablet to watch wherever you go and watch different programmes simultaneously on up to four screens around the home, while recording up to three other channels.

Where does it stand out?

The Sky Variety TV bundle definitely stands out amongst its competitors when it comes to its Entertainment channel offering. It’s got more channels than both Virgin Media and eir on offer in this category and the lure of the coveted Sky Atlantic is hard to ignore - especially during Game of Thrones season.

How much does it cost?

Currently, new customers can sign up to Sky’s Variety TV bundle for €19.50 a month for the first 6 months, rising to €39 per month thereafter.

Virgin Media Full House

What do you get?

Over 100 channels featuring all of the Irish & UK staples, great entertainment, kids and nature and documentary selections.  

Key features

Record 4 shows while watching a 5th. Pause, rewind and record your favourite shows with 80 hours of storage. A library of movies and boxsets to keep the whole family entertained, access new movies at the same time as DVD releases.

Replay TV

With Replay TV, you can go back in time via the TV Guide and easily access and catch up on thousands of hours on shows that you might have missed during the week.

Virgin TV Anywhere App

Stream your favourite TV shows while out and about on the Virgin TV Anywhere app. Download the app and watch live TV on your iPad, iPhone or laptop.

Netflix App

Handily access Netflix shows from your Horizon set top box.

Where does it stand out?

Virgin Media wins when it comes to HD channels. The Full House bundle comes with 26 HD channels is standard - an asset that costs extra for both Sky and eir.

How much does it cost?

Virgin Media Full House is €15 a month for 4 months and €35 a month thereafter.

eir Vision Experience

What do you get?

83 channels including all your favourite Irish & UK staples as well as 7 free eir Sport channels.

Key features

Get access to eir Sport on the go from the eir Sport app.

Where does it stand out?

As is probably clear enough from above, eir really stands out when it comes to sport as it comes with 7 free sports channels free as standard. These are BT Sport, eir Sport 1, eir Sport 2, Box Nation, ESPN, Eurosport 1 and Eurosport 2.

How much does it cost?

Unfortunately, it is not possible to get a TV package from eir in isolation, so if you sign up with them you’ll also be signing up for a broadband and home phone service.

The tripleplay bundle costs €60 a month for the first 6 months and €95 a month thereafter. The package includes an unlimited 100Mb broadband connection and unlimited anytime local and national calls to Irish and UK landlines & mobiles.  

Vodafone TV Plus

What do you get?

80 channels including all of your favourite Irish & UK staples and a great selection of kids channels including the Disney channel.

Key Features

Restart TV:

With Restart TV you can restart a programme, even if it’s mid-way through. So if you’re running late or you forgot to record your favourite show, you’ll still be able to catch it with Restart TV.

Dedicated Netflix Button

Enjoy Netflix from your TV browser or simply at your fingertips with the dedicated Netflix button on your remote control.

Vodafone TV Anywhere App

Stream your favourite TV shows while out and about on the Vodafone TV Anywhere app.

7 Day Catch Up

With 7 Day Catch Up you can go back in time via the TV Guide and easily access and catch up on thousands of hours on shows that you might have missed during the week.

Where does it stand out?

With Vodafone you can choose to have MultiRoom or eir Sport to be included in your plan for 6 months.

How much it cost?  

Like eir, Vodafone’s TV package cannot be purchased in isolation so you’ll have to sign up to a broadband and phone service if you want to get TV from Vodafone. For the tripleplay bundle it will cost €40 a month for the first 6 months and €85 a month thereafter.

None of these doing it for you?

Of course, if you don’t like the sound of being tied into a contract but you still want to benefit from a great telly service, there are other options.

NOW TV, the latest on-demand streaming service from Sky for example, offers you over 250 boxsets as well as 10 live premium TV channels including Sky Atlantic for just €15 a month and you can cancel at any time.

If you miss your staples like BBC and Channel 4 for example, you could try Filmon. It’s an online TV streaming service (with a downloadable app). For €14.95 a month you can stream hundreds of TV channels from around the world, including a great selection of familiar UK channels.

Combine this with the likes of a Chromecast or another streaming media player and Irish online TV players like the RTE Player and the TV3 Player and you’ve got a full TV service for a fraction of the price.

Don’t forget to compare

It’s important to remember that the above comparison only looks at one deal on offer from each provider and it might be the case that there’s another deal that better suits your own personal needs. Be sure to carry out your own comparison to make sure you’re getting the absolute best value for money from your TV deal.