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Last updated: 12 January 2022
This guide will explain what multi-room TV is and help you compare deals from different providers, to find the best one for you! We also give you alternatives to multi-room TV.
What is multi-room TV?
In a nutshell, multi-room allows you to watch different content on multiple TVs in your home simultaneously, all under one subscription. If your partner’s desperate to watch the match but the kids’ favourite show is on, both can be kept happy with a multi-room deal. Heck, you can even enjoy a documentary or drama, or catch the latest headlines at the same time.
It’s a great option for families or flat-sharers. However, it’s worth remembering that many aspects of your TV package are available online or via your provider’s app, meaning you can access them anyway from a laptop or smart device rather than a TV. If you would rather watch shows from a TV, this is the way to do it.
Sky Q multi-room TV
Multi-room viewing is available with Sky, but you’ll need to upgrade to Sky Q. This means your subscription will be available on another Sky box, called a minibox. It’ll cost you £14 per month on top of your standard bill, plus the upfront cost of the box.
With Sky Multiscreen, there is a cap: you can have a maximum of four boxes, including your central hub, and how many TVs can be watched at any one time depends on the size of your main set-box. Furthermore, as it stands you can only watch Ultra HD channels on your central Sky hub, not on the mini boxes; although, you will be able to watch in standard HD.
Virgin Media multi-room TV
With a Virgin Media multi-room package, you can get up to five additional boxes. Each box will need to support the Virgin Media TV deal that you have, so if you have HD channels as part of your package, you’ll need a HD box (and a HD TV to boot!). To up your subscription to include multi-room, it’ll cost you an extra £7.50 a month, plus the cost of the box itself and any installation fees.
In terms of set up, you may need to connect your additional Virgin boxes to your router with an ethernet cable. Or if you’re after a more wireless look, you could opt for a Powerline adapter which carries broadband signal through wiring in your house.
To keep up with the competition, BT of course have a multi-room option too: BT Extra. However, it is unfortunately more limited than Sky and Virgin Media’s wherein you can only add one additional box. You’ll need to take out a 12-month subscription, but it’ll cost you less than its rivals charge, at just £5 a month.
If you only have one, rather than several, additional TVs you want to hook up, BT Extra could be the way to go. Again though, you’ll need to pay for your BT Youview box, which’ll cost you close to £100 if you want the option to record content as well as watch.
There are a few other things to keep in mind when it comes to BT Extra. First, it works best if you have fibreoptic broadband as the demand of two boxes can be a bit too much for slower speeds to take. Secondly, it’s possible you’ll need an additional aerial connection for your second box too. And lastly, there are certain limitations when it comes to accessing content on each box, so look out for these.
TalkTalk multi-room TV
TalkTalk multi-room is at the more affordable end of the spectrum. It’s only available to fibreoptic broadband customers – those with speeds over 20 mbps – and, like BT, you’ll only get two boxes. You’ll be provided with Powerline adapters, so you don’t need to fuss around with ethernet cables.
It costs £4 a month, but you’ll also need to pay the upfront cost of the box plus an installation fee. Even so, TalkTalk’s multi-room deal seems to be fairly competitive. With TalkTalk, multi-room is added as a Boost to your bundle; they have various other Boost bundles available as well. If you add Boosts to your TV deal, most content should be available on your second box too, with the exception of the BT Sports Boost.
Alternatives to multi-room TV
If you’re not enamoured with the idea of multi-room TV, there are a handful of alternatives.
On demand services like Netflix, Amazon and Apple TV are available as subscriptions. Depending on the level of your package, you’ll be able to login via a number of devices at any one time, allowing you to watch different content in multiple rooms. Smart TVs even come with these apps built-in, so you’ll still be able to watch on your big screen.
Many TV providers have their own online services, for example Sky Go. In most cases, these are included for free in your TV package. These services allow you to stream live and On demand content through any laptop or phone, though specifically not through a TV set. To get around this, why not hook up your laptop to a TV with an HDMI instead? You’ll get the same content on your 32-inch, without the added cost. Aren’t we full of ideas?