Are you being ripped off on TV packages?

Couple watching television

People who are over the age of 55 are far more likely than any other group of people to be paying over-the-odds for their TV package. A new study has revealed that most older people feel they're not getting value for money - and they are absolutely right.

The research, from Freesat, found that people over the age of 55 spend an average of £41 on TV subscriptions, but typically watch less than a quarter of the channels available to them. This means they're wasting around £380 a year on channels they never watch.

The problem seems to be that they are more likely to get drawn into expensive packages. More than a fifth of people over the age of 55 have been persuaded to pay for a package costing between £51 and £70 a month - compared to just 6% of those aged between 18 and 24. Once they have signed up, 47% of them say they have been taken advantage of, as their provider regularly hikes the price.

There's a chance that older people may be easier to persuade that they need an expensive package because they are not quite so aware of the alternatives. Freesat spokesperson Jennifer Elworthy said: "Many older consumers are getting poor value for money as they don't realise how many TV options are out there."

It's therefore worth knowing your options.

The options

Nowadays you can get 58 channels at no cost at all through Freeview (once you've forked out about £100 for the box). You could also invest in a Freesat box for less than £50 and get access to more than 200 channels and on-demand TV.

You can invest in a smart box or a smart TV, to connect your TV to the internet, and then you have access to streaming services. These also includes freebies like iPlayer and All4.

Alternatively you can sign up for the likes of Amazon Prime or Netflix for endless TV box sets and films. This will have a monthly cost, but with Netflix costing £7.49 a month, it's a fraction of what most people are paying for TV packages.

If you want sport or movies, there's also Now TV. Here you can buy a daily pass or a monthly pass. If you watch a lot of sport, it's more expensive per-day than signing up for the full service, but if you only want to watch sport once or twice a month, then a day will cost you £5.99, which is a far cheaper option.

Likewise for movies. You'll pay £9.99 a month, but can have a single month, and start and stop at any time. If you tend to watch a great deal around Christmas, but less during the summer months, you can cancel the service in the months when you're less likely to use it.

If you only tend to watch movies a couple of times a month, you may be better off renting them online, and streaming them to your TV. Older films can cost less than £2.50, while newer ones cost around £3.50.

But what do you think? Do you pay for TV? And are you getting value for money? Let us know in the comments.

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Celebrity Big Brother: a wise move?
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Celebrity Big Brother: a wise move?

Shetty was a huge Bollywood star long before entering the house, but her popularity was arguably on the wane in 2007.

After winning the series, and weathering some astonishing racist attacks, she was showered with offers, including modelling (becoming the first cover star of OK! in India), more acting, and presenting an Indian version of Big Brother - Big Boss. She now devises, produces, and presents her own TV programmes and films.

The former promotions girl was picked to be a ‘fake’ celebrity in the 2006 house, and went on to win the show.

Her subsequent media career has seen her star in her own reality show and present a dating programme, take acting roles, write magazine columns and an autobiography, star in her own fitness DVD, and (especially after plastic surgery) take on numerous modelling jobs.

After years of being the punchline of jokes, Davidson became the surprise winner of the show last year, and on the back if it had his own documentary.

He also embarked on a money-spinning stand-up tour and made his debut at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. So far the rumours of a return to prime time television have come to nothing, but CBB remains the most positive thing to have happened to his career for decades.

Jade appeared in Big Brother in 2002, kick-starting a media career. However, when she went onto the celebrity version in 2007, her bullying of Shilpa Shetty led to a huge public backlash, and a blow to her media work.

Her work in raising awareness of cervical cancer the following year, in the year before her death, left a vital legacy, but Goody always described herself as ‘A bit like Marmite”.

Galloway was already a controversial politician when he went on the show in 2006. However, images of him during the programme - including the famous one of him pretending to be a cat, lapping milk out of Rula Lenska’s hands - did nothing to further his reputation as a serious politician.

He recovered sufficiently to be elected as a Respect Party MP in Bradford in 2012, but has had to endure years as a laughing stock.

Dennis appeared on the show in the midst of the breakdown of his marriage to Amanda Holden, and describes his depressed time in the house as not being one of the wisest decisions he had ever made.

It coincided with the end of his stint presenting Family Fortunes, and had dramatically changed his image in the public eye, so that he was unlikely to get many light-entertainment jobs at the time. He said his role in Extras in 2005 turned everything around, and started a hugely successful acting career.

The racing pundit was controversial from day one, and revealed some jaw-droppingly sexist views. His decision to spend so much time on screen in his underpants did nothing to endear him to the CBB audience in 2005 either.

In  2012, when Channel 4 decided to drop him from its racing coverage, he tried to sue them for age discrimination, and the statement from the tribunal revealed that CBB had not been a wise choice. It said: “All the evidence is that Mr McCririck's pantomime persona, as demonstrated on the celebrity television appearances, and his persona when appearing on Channel 4 Racing, together with his self-described bigoted and male chauvinist views were clearly unpalatable to a wider potential audience.”

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