YouView has won 400,000 users in its first six months, but it’s TalkTalk TV that’s brought in more than half, with the majority upgrading from Freeview.
So what’s in the TalkTalk Plus TV package that’s so attractive for pay-TV newbies? Find out after the jump.
1. TalkTalk TV’s free with your broadband and home phone
Broadband and phones are necessities of modern life, so anything you can get free with the fourth utility after water, electricity and gas is a bonus.
TalkTalk Plus TV throws in a free YouView digital TV recorder with an unlimited broadband and UK phone calls package for £15.50/month plus line rental, so it’s a winner from the start. TalkTalk’s current online offer cuts this to £10 for the first six months.
TalkTalk broadband is totally unlimited, with no traffic shaping or fair use policy to slow you down at peak times when you’re trying to download the latest films and games.
You’ll also get inclusive anytime home phone calls to UK landlines, and TalkTalk’s award-winning HomeSafe online protection system for filtering malware, viruses and harmful websites.
2. Freeview HD and complete catch-up
YouView gives you the complete Freeview HD experience, which is an upgrade for many with four high definition TV channels on top of the 70 ordinary Freeview channels.
It also connects to your broadband so you can catch-up on TV from the past week through the BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD, and Demand 5. YouView’s backwards programme guide makes it easy to skip back and see what you missed.
The compact Huawei-manufactured YouView box is also a Freeview HD recorder with two tuners. Pause and rewind live TV, or record two TV channels while you watch a recording.
New customers can be up and running within 15 days, or just three working days for existing TalkTalk broadband customers. There’s a choice of fast, free self-installation, or a BrightSparks engineer can fit and fine-tune it for just £25.
3. Inclusive on-demand TV and film library
TalkTalk Plus TV subscribers can watch more than 1,000 hours of on-demand TV shows and films without adding any monthly TV Boosts.
Like the catch-up TV, these are streamed through your broadband connection and YouView box onto your TV screen, so you can say goodbye to squinting at a laptop.
The TalkTalk on demand library includes TV shows from the likes of Sony Entertainment and ABC On Demand, with the best of US and British TV, as well as children’s TV in a dedicated channel, Scamp, with favourites such as Peppa Pig for your kids to, erm, pig out on.
4. Pay-as-you go Sky TV channels
TalkTalk TV is the only pay-TV service that lets you subscribe to channels like Sky One, Fox or even Sky Movies and Sky Sports, on a month-by-month casual basis.
It’s difficult to compare the tariffs directly because they’re so different, and TalkTalk TV might be slightly more expensive than Sky over the year. But it’s more flexible and can save you money if you want a smaller bundle of channels, or you only want extra TV over the winter months, school holidays, or for special sports events.
As with the catch-up and on-demand TV, TalkTalk’s pay-TV channels come over your broadband connection, so you’ll need a speed of at least 5Mbps to watch. Here’s an overview of the TalkTalk TV Boosts, or you can find a full breakdown of TalkTalk TV Boost channels here.
£5/month: TV Starter Boost, KIds’ Boost and Music Boost
Monthly TV Boosts start at £5 for the TV Starter pack with the six most popular Sky channels: Sky 1, Sky 2, Sky Arts 1, Sky Living, Sky Living It, and Sky Sports News.
The same monthly price will also bag you the Kids’ Boost with 14 channels including Disney, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network; the 13-channel Music Boost featuring all of MTV’s music channels, The Box, Heat, Kiss, Kerrang!, Smash Hits and Magic; a wide selection of on-demand movies through Picture Box, like Step It Up 2 and The Kids Are Alright; or the Star TV Boost with Star Plus, Star Gold, Star Jalsha, and Star Life OK.
£10/month: The Entertainment Boost
For a bigger selection of entertainment and factual channels like Fox, SyFy, MTV, Discovery, National Geographic and Eden, as well as Sky’s channels, The Entertainment Boost costs £10/month.
£15/month: The Entertainment Extra Boost
If you want all of Entertainment, Music and Kids, plus extra on demand TV to watch anytime from channels in all three Boosts, try Entertainment Extra at £15/month.
Sky Sports and Sky Movies, one month at a time
TalkTalk TV is also the only place where you’ll find Sky Sports and Sky Movies available on a monthly deal where you can cancel whenever you want, and you don’t have to pay for entertainment channels to qualify for the premium channels.
All 11 Sky Movies channels can be on your screen for £15/month, and all six Sky Sports channels for £30/month.
Pay-as-you-go: Lovefilm Box Office, Karaoke and Digital Theatre
There are also pay-as-you-go channels, with the latest blockbuster movies to rent on Lovefilm Box Office, pay-per-day access to The Karaoke Channel, and live theatre performances to rent from the Digital Theatre Channel.
5. It’s just the beginning
YouView is a young TV service, but it’s clearly the future for Freeview, and there’s much more to come from this flexible little box.
There’s already a handy iOS app for browsing TV schedules and remotely setting your box to record from Freeview. This will be coming to Android in June, and will expand to offer more functions. YouView might even be brave enough to open it up to developers to develop their own functions.
TalkTalk has promised to bring its TV Boost channels into the main YouView programme guide, where they’ll sit in the 400s. You’ll also be able to pause, rewind and record the subscription channels, just like the Freeview channels.
Keep up to date with the latest news about TalkTalk Plus TVYou can already watch a few high definition movies through Lovefilm Box Office, and there’s a plan for high definition channels to join the TV Boosts and on demand library. These will need a more reliable high speed broadband connection, so they will probably come along when enough TalkTalk subscribers have upgraded their connections to fibre-optic broadband. This delivers up-to-38Mbps broadband – plenty for HD – and costs from £10 a month.
These higher speeds will also enable TalkTalk to offer customers extra YouView boxes for their bedrooms, with no worries about streaming two or three TV channels at the same time.