Want a straightforward TV package that doesn’t cost a bomb? TalkTalk (www.talktalk.co.uk) keeps things simple and affordable, making them one of the least expensive providers in the UK. There’s a smaller number of channels available in their TV bundles compared with other providers, but they’re impressively customisable and come with a bunch of extra features - including Netflix.
What can I get from TalkTalk TV?
With TalkTalk TV, you have two packages to choose from: Essentials TV and Plus TV.
- Essentials TV: This is the basic TalkTalk TV package. You get a free YouView box with around 70 basic channels and you can pause and rewind live TV (for up to 30 minutes), access catch-up or on-demand services (for up to seven days), and even use Netflix. It’s all fully integrated to the TV interface so it’s very user-friendly. There’s also a free TV2Go app you can download to your phone or tablet that lets you watch on-demand TV - and some live channels - whenever you’re connected to Wi-Fi.
- Plus TV: As its name suggests, Plus TV has everything in the Essentials TV package plus a little bit more. The main difference is that with Plus TV is that you get a superior YouView box, which lets you record more than 200 hours of live TV, and get seven extra Sky entertainment channels included as standard.
A huge benefit of TalkTalk TV is that both packages can have collections of extra channels or on-demand services. TalkTalk calls these ‘Boosts’.
Each Boost package includes a bundle of channels - whether it’s a set of entertainment, sports, kids, or movie channels - on a rolling monthly contract that you can add on or cancel whenever you like. It’s the most flexible subscription TV service you’ll find in the UK and really lets you make your TV your own.
What channels can I get?
TalkTalk TV has a pretty unique system when it comes to TV channels.
The YouView box that comes free with either package lets you watch around 70 basic Freeview channels - all the old terrestrials are in there (plus BBC3, ITV2, E4, and the like), as well as entertainment, music, and news, and radio stations. The Plus TV package comes with seven extra Sky entertainment channels too, including Sky One, Sky Living and Sky Arts.
For more channels, you’ll need to add a Boost package - and there are plenty to choose from. Whether you want blockbuster movies or kids TV, the option’s there for a little extra each month.
Each has a super-flexible rolling monthly subscription, so it’s easy to add some on for a month or two - perfect for football season, for example - and cancel anytime if you don’t want them anymore. Available Boost packages include:
- TV Starter Boost - seven Sky entertainment channels, including Sky One, Sky Two, Sky Living and Sky Arts. This is included as standard with the Plus TV package.
- Entertainment Boost - 30 more entertainment and factual channels, including Comedy Central, Fox, Watch, and GOLD
- Entertainment Extra Boost - everything in the Entertainment Boost, plus kids and factual channels
- Kids Boost - extra children’s channels, including Disney Channel, Cartoon Network and Nicktoons
- Sky Sports - six dedicated sports channels, covering Premier League football, international cricket, F1 and loads more sports
- Sky Cinema - 11 Sky Cinema channels, showing the latest blockbuster premieres, Hollywood classics, family favourites and tons more.
- Music Boost - a large selection of music channels, including MTV Hits, The Box, Kerrang and Magic
- Star TV Boost - gives you Bollywood movies and some of India’s best reality shows
All the basic on-demand services like iPlayer and 4OD are available too, as is Netflix if you have an account - and if you don’t, you can set one up and add the cost to your monthly TalkTalk bill.
What’s good about TalkTalk TV?
- Affordable - TalkTalk’s one of the cheapest providers in the UK and provides a good basic service.
- It’s simple, with straightforward packages that are easy to get your head around.
- Free YouView box with all packages.
- Very flexible, with loads of Boosts that let you customise your TV channels month-to-month.
- Sky channels are available, such as Sky Cinema, Sky Sports, and Sky 1, and some are even included as standard if you choose Plus TV.
- Watch catch-up TV from BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and more directly through the electronic guide
- Can access Netflix through your TV, and include your subscription in your TalkTalk bill if you wish.
- TV2Go app is included, letting you watch TV on iOS or Android at no extra cost.
- Deals on Boost packages are often available, letting you save even more money.
- A TalkTalk TV subscription makes you eligible for their mobile deals
What’s bad about TalkTalk TV?
- TV is only available as part of a phone and broadband package.
- Not as many channels are included (or even available) as Sky (www.sky.com) or Virgin Media, (www.virginmedia.com) and adding a lot of Boosts can drive up your monthly bill.
- There are limits - catch-up only goes back seven days, which doesn’t always reflect the online version of the on-demand services, and you can’t record live TV with the Essentials package.
- Not all Boost packages support recording or series link.
- TalkTalk has weaker customer service than some providers, with a below average customer satisfaction rating according to Ofcom.
- Some users note hidden costs. Cancelling before your contract is up incurs a charge for the YouView box, for instance, and since Boost subscriptions are rolling, you’ll get charged for them again too if you don’t cancel in time.