Is new Now TV Combo a good deal?

TV, phone and broadband bundles on offer without a contract. Are they any good?

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B3F7RH Woman in living room watching television

Now TV has announced it is launching a new range of services. The idea is that you will be able to combine the TV package you want, with the broadband you need, and the landline you want. You can then sign up on a month-by-month basis. There are no contracts, so you will be free to change package whenever you like, and find the deal that suits you best. But will it help you save money?

The service, called the Now TV Combo, launches in July. It brings together Sky's TV, broadband and phone services in one package, and lets customers pick and choose what they want.

At its heart is a 'smart box', which will set you back £40 and let you watch and pause freeview channels and pay TV, live and on demand. You can also download more than 50 apps to it - including Spotify and YouTube.

There are four different monthly TV passes: entertainment (with 11 channels not available on Freeview), cinema (1,000 movies on demand and a new premier every day), sports (seven sports channels) and kids (six channels and thousands of episodes on demand).

There are also three different broadband speeds: one offering speeds up to 17 Mbps, a fibre broadband service offering up to 38 Mbps, and superfibre offering up to 76 Mbps.

There are also three call packages - pay-as-you-use, free evenings and weekends, and free anytime calls. The free evening and weekend calls add £4 a month to the package and free anytime calls add £8 a month. On top of all of this you have to pay line rental of £17.99 a month.

What does it cost?

Each of the services is priced up separately, with a special deal for a combination of them. The entertainment pass, for example, is £6.99 a month, kids are £2.99, the cinema pass is £9.99, and sport is £33.99. The cheapest broadband is £8 (plus £17.99 line rental), the cheapest fibre is £18 a month plus line rental, and the most expensive fibre is £26.00 plus line rental.

However, when you add them together the price comes down, so adding £6.99 entertainment plus £8 broadband and £17.99 line rental should cost £32.98 a month, but actually costs £27.98.

The idea is that you can trade up and down different options at any time - as well as cancel without a minimum period - although there is a £40 set up fee for the 17 Mbps service, and a £50 set up fee for the two fibre broadband packages.

Combinations

Entertainment pass, up to 17 Mbps broadband, pay as you go phone - £27.98 (or £31.98 with evening and weekend calls or £35.98 with free anytime calls)
Entertainment pass, up to 38 Mbps broadband, pay as you go phone - £37.98 (or £41.98 with evening and weekend calls, or £45.98 with anytime calls)
Entertainment pass, up to 76 Mbps broadband, pay as you go phone - £42.98 (or £46.98 evening and weekend calls, or £50.98 with free anytime calls)
Cinema pass, up to 17 Mbps broadband, pay as you go phone - £30.98 (£34.98 with evening/weekend calls or £38.98 free anytime calls)
Cinema pass, up to 38 Mbps broadband, pay as you go phone - £40.98 (£44.98 free e/w and £48.98 free anytime)
Cinema pass, up to 76 Mbps broadband, pay as you go phone - £45.98 (£49.98 free e/w calls and £53.98 free anytime)
Sports pass, up to 17 Mbps broadband, pay as you go phone - £54.98 (£58.98 free e/w, £62.98 free anytime)
Sports pass, up to 38 Mbps broadband, pay as you go phone - £64.98 (£68.98 free e/w, £72.98 free anytime)
Sports pass, up to 76 Mbps broadband, pay as you go phone - £69.98 (£73.98 free e/w, £77.98 free anytime)
Kids pass, up to 17 Mbps broadband, pay as you go phone - £28.98 (32.98 free e/w, £36.98 free anytime)
Kids pass, up to 38 Mbps broadband, pay as you go phone - £38.98 (£42.98 free e/w, £46.98 free anytime)
Kids pass, up to 76 Mbps broadband, pay as you go phone - £46.98 (£50.98 free e/w, £5.98 free anytime)

Is it a good deal?

There will be some people for whom this is ideal. If, for example, you wanted the sports package for a special event, the movies over Christmas, or more TV channels when you're stuck in during the winter, you could trade up without having to pay for the whole year.

Ewan Taylor-Gibson, broadband and TV expert at uSwitch.com, says: "Existing triple play bundles that include TV, broadband and landline often tie customers in for at least a year, so the Now TV Combo is unusual in that sense. One of the biggest flaws of bundled deals is that, if you're unhappy with one service, it's often much harder to get out."

However, there is a premium for this new-found flexibility. Taylor-Gibson says: "If you are willing to stay with the same provider for 12 months there are more competitive deals available." So if you ended up paying for the full year, the Now TV option would leave you paying over the odds. You therefore have to ask yourself not only whether your needs tend to change during the year, but also whether you would be prepared to switch on a regular basis, or whether you'd fail to get round to it and end up overpaying.

It means, unfortunately, that there's no easy answer. You need to think carefully about the services you use, and whether you would use them any differently if you had the added flexibility of the Now TV offerings. Then run a price comparison on the options available in your area that cover the services you need.

But what do you think? Does it appeal? Let us know in the comments.

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