YouView from TalkTalk review – pictures and hands-on

Talk Talk YouView Set-top box

When TalkTalk announced its offering, we weren’t sure whether it was more of the same but with a TalkTalk logo on the front. However since, we have been encouraged and it seems this isn’t the case, and the company has come up with a very interesting offering which we believe takes YouView to the next level. As a side note, with any YouView offering, you still need an aerial to receive the normal Freeview channels.

First, TalkTalk has gone with a box from Huawei. The free version (normally £299) they are giving out has a 320GB hard drive and a custom design, with TalkTalk’s own remote design (below).

 

Talk Talk YouView Remote

 

As HDD’s (hard drives) are still very expensive they have admittedly gone for a lower cost option here. They are confident there will be bigger storage capacity options later. The TalkTalk box is also fan-free, which means minimal operating noise something the normal YouView Humax box does not offer, +1 TalkTalk.

 

Youview TV Guide Talk Talk

As you would expect, there are the usual on-demand options from the likes of BBC, ITV and channels 4 and 5. As with all YouView boxes, you can scroll through the EPG backwards to find catch-up TV to watch, or go forward to set recordings in the future.There seems to be no performance difference between the TalkTalk version and the normal Humax box.

So why go for TalkTalk?
We think TalkTalk is a good option because the company is building on expertise and technology that it has acquired from the days of HomeChoice and Tiscali TV. So its own TalkTalk player offers access to lots of unique content. But TalkTalk is also the first to offer linear streaming TV through your broadband connection. So it’s possible to subscribe to Sky1 through your YouView box, or to pay for the latest on-demand movies.

They also offer films through LoveFilm though it has to be noted this will vary from the subscription service LoveFilm offer directly. When you enter the portal, you’re shown a rolling trailer loop, with the new releases, and as with HomeChoice, you can opt to buy a film based on this trailer, and simply press green to start the rental process.

 

TalkTalk YouView Channel Guide

Pricing is designed to be flexible. You’ll get your box included in an 18-month contract on TalkTalk Plus TV – 24 months for existing customers. Your basic service costs £15.50 + £14.95 line rental per month. You can add Sky’s entertainment channels for £5 a month – which includes Sky 1, Sky 2, Sky Sports News, Sky Arts 1 and 2 and Sky Living. There are also kids’ and music packages, which are £5 each: you get 13 kids’ channels, and the usual music suspects. For all the latest information visit the YouView website directly.

Freeview set to get more HD channels soon

The BBC and Channel 4 have outlined proposals for additional HD channels to be added to Freeview.The decommissioning of analogue TV (digital switchover) left spare capacity in the 600MHz and 800MHz bands of airwaves. 800MHz is being used for the 4G mobile phone networks which is currently being rolled out by EE and later the other providers such as Vodafone and O2. However this leaves spare capacity at 600MHz end of the spectrum, which could be used for new Freeview HD channels, as recommended by the BBC, C4 and broadcasting transmitter operator Arqiva.

 

More Freeview HD channels soon?

 

The BBC and Channel 4 have proposed that additional HD channels should be added to Freeview. The channels would use spare capacity in the spectrum, recently cleared during the digital switchover.

The switch off of analogue TV left spare capacity in two parts of the airwaves: in the 600MHz and 800MHz bands. 800MHz is being used for 4G from 2013. This leaves vacant space at 600MHz, which could be used for new Freeview HD channels, as recommended by the BBC, C4 and broadcasting transmitter operator Arqiva. New Freeview HD channels may include a third BBC high-def service, extra Red Button content (accessed in a similar way to the 2012 Olympics) and one or two extra HD channels from C4’s line-up.

This may be temporary until approximately 2018, as Ofcom is under pressure to harmonise parts of the spectrum with the rest of the EU so mobile networks operate on the same bands. This would mean less space for Freeview channels in the spectrum. A solution to this problem is to switch to the DVB-T2 standard by this time saving around 30-50% of spectrum in space. However this could leave a significant amount of users “going dark” as in effect this will be similar to the digital switchover just experienced.

Would you like to see new HD channels on Freeview or do you think satellite, cable and IPTV are more efficient ways of delivering high-def TV?

MAC Aerials and Satellites have now updated to a newer better website!

Hello, if you’re reading this then the chances are you have stumbled across our new website. We would just like to say a big thank you to everyone who has liked us on Facebook and supported our business page it means a lot… really! We’ll be updating this blog regularly to give you advice locally and top tips on what to look out for regarding TV’s and everything related. Feel free to contact us via the website or comment on our blog posts anytime and we’ll respond.

We hope you’ll check back sometime soon.