There’s plenty of on-demand box office-type services promising same-day as DVD release availability, but how do they stack up?
We compared TalkTalk Box Office, Sky Box Office and Blinkbox, to see which one you should throw your cash at the most.
TalkTalk Box Office – what’s available?
Thanks to a deal with distributors FilmFlex, TalkTalk can claim to get the latest blockbuster movies on its Box Office the same day as the DVDs go on sale.
For example latest Marvel comic book epic X-Men: Days of Future Past was released on DVD on the 10th of November and it was available the same day on TalkTalk Box Office. The same goes for other premium titles like Transformers: Age of Extinction, Jersey Boys, Chef and Tammy.
TalkTalk Box Office is built in to TalkTalk TV, a YouView-based TV service. You’ll need an active broadband connection for TalkTalk Box Office to work, but as TalkTalk TV is only available as part of a digital TV and broadband bundle, this is taken care of.
Sky Box Office – what’s available?
Sky has a huge array of movies on offer, as well as multiple ways to watch them. In some cases it can be a bit bewildering, so let us break it down.
First of all you have Sky Box Office. This lets you rent movies that are shown at regular half-hourly intervals.
Sky Box Office isn’t fully on-demand. You have to wait for a film to be available, a bit like being at a cinema. You can set reminders with your Sky remote if you want a heads up of when something’s available – but you can’t watch what you want, when you want.
A big plus of Sky Box Office is that it doesn’t require an Internet connection to work. You rent films on a pay per view basis as they’re broadcast via satellite. It’s not quite as instantaneous as a full on-demand service, but if you’re having network issues or you’ve got a super-slow connection, it’s a good alternative to web-based players.
If your connection is just fine, then there’s Sky Store. This way you’ll be able to rent movies on a pay per view basis when you like. When you rent movies from Sky Store, they’re downloaded to your Sky box’s hard drive.
Titles available to watch now include X-Men: Days of Future Past, 22 Jump Street and Guardians of the Galaxy.
Some titles, like The Nut Job and Step Up 5: All In are available through what’s called Buy & Keep – this lets you buy titles through the Sky Store, download them to your Sky+HD box and once the DVD is available in the shops, you’ll get sent a physical copy through the post.
If you ever leave Sky, you get to keep the films you’ve paid for, which is a nice touch.
Blinkbox – what’s available?
Blinkbox is an on-demand service doesn’t require you to be a TalkTalk or Sky customer – it doesn’t care who you get your broadband or your telly from.
In terms of choice, it’s not often found wanting. Right now there’s Lucy, As Above So Below, 22 Jump Street, Godzilla, Maleficent – everything that’s everything in the world of new releases is right here. There’s not much available here that TalkTalk and Sky don’t give you access to.
Plus there’s a healthy back catalogue of older movies and TV shows like The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Big Bang Theory and True Blood.
Blinkbox also lets you watch UltraViolet purchases. UltraViolet is a cloud-based service that lets you redeem digital copies of DVDs and Blu-rays – kind of like a reverse Sky Store Buy & Keep.
You can watch Blinkbox content on an array of platforms too – you can watch on your laptop, your iOS or Android tablet or on selected smart TVs.
TalkTalk Box Office, Sky Box Office, Blinkbox – how much is everything?
TalkTalk Box Office is very affordable – each movie can be rented for £4. You get films streamed to your set top box and they’re available for 48 hours, so you can watch a film the next day or the day after if you feel asleep halfway through.
Sadly you can’t keep the movies for any longer than 48 hours and you don’t get a physical copy in the post.
Sky is a bit more expensive. New movie releases like Godzilla, are normally around £4.99 on box office or £4.49 from the Sky Store. Adding to your options is the fact Sky also offers a Buy and Keep service, where you can download the film for life and get sent a DVD copy.
Average prices for Sky Store buy and keep is £7.99 for an SD movie and £13.99 for HD titles. While this gives you a hard copy, you currently don’t get Blu-rays with HD purchases.
Blinkbox, in many cases, is the cheapest service if you’re just after movie rentals. In standard definition, Godzilla will cost you £3.49 to rent, or £4.49 if you want it in HD.
It’s £9.99 to buy in SD or £13.99 to buy in HD, so it’s slightly more expensive than Buy & Keep and you don’t get a physical copy.
What do you need?
For TalkTalk Box Office you need a TalkTalk subscription. This includes a phone, broadband and TV service. As pay TV in the UK goes, TalkTalk offers one of the most affordable packages around. It’s £16.70 a month for line rental, but the entry-level broadband, TV and phone package only costs £8.50 a month on top of that.
You also get free weekend calls. That’s less than £30 a month for all your entertainment and connection needs, plus of course the option of renting movies.
The cheapest Sky TV bundle is £21.50 a month – and that’s just for the TV.
If you want broadband and phone, that’s £7.50 extra for the first year, plus line rental of £16.40. That’s £61.90 a month before you even hire your first movie. You get more, but you do have to pay more too.
Blinkbox doesn’t tie you into a subscription. You just pay for what you watch. Of course, you’ll need to pay someone for your internet service, so that’s a factor too – unless you’re stealing someone’s WiFi.
Blinkbox is ideal for people who already have broadband and TV, don’t want to change providers, but still want to rent movies and TV programmes.
Sky and TalkTalk customers might prefer the convenience of simply ordering something through the same TV box – even though there’s Blinkbox TV apps and it works with Chromecast, some people will prefer being able to tap a few buttons on their TV remote.
We think Sky’s service has the edge on TalkTalk’s, mainly becuase of the Buy & Keep service – TalkTalk currently doesn’t let its customers build up a collection of paid for content.
That said, TalkTalk is more of a value-centric propostion than Sky TV, which is a premium subscription service.
If money is no object then Sky’s probably your best bet. If you don’t like to commit, go for Blinkbox. If you’re after value for money, then TalkTalk is the way forward.