BT TV vs TalkTalk TV: Which is best?

ByKim Staples
BT vs TalkTalk

TalkTalk and BT both give you a YouView set top box when you sign up to their TV services, but do the similarities end there?

YouView boxes are great for watching free-to-air channels - but with a TV subscription from TalkTalk (www.talktalk.co.uk) and BT (www.bt.com) bundled in with your broadband and home phone, you can get a whole lot more. BT brings premium channels, BT Sport, and movies to rent; while TalkTalk offers plenty of on demand programmes and more Boosts than you can shake a stick at. So how do the two compare?

At a glance

  BT TV TalkTalk TV
Set top box YouView, 500GB YouView+, 1TB Ultra HD YouView+ YouView, 500GB YouView+
Packages Starter, Entertainment Plus, Total Entertainment Essentials TV, Plus TV
Number of channels ~70-120 ~70-87
Number of Bolt-ons/Boosts 6 17
Recording Yes, with Entertainment Plus and Total Entertainment Yes, with Plus TV

Channels

A basic TV package with either provider will get you over 70 standard YouView channels. Premium packages get you a few more - up to 120+ with BT, or up to 87 with TalkTalk. However, you can add even more - around 30 with the use of a Bolt-on from BT, or bloomin' loads (about 80) with a Boost from TalkTalk.

Take a look at the full list of BT TV channels here.

Verdict: BT offers the most in its raw packages, but you can ultimately get more with TalkTalk if you grab some Boosts. Although, getting all the available channels from TalkTalk would work out pretty expensive - though they roll monthly so you can cancel them at any time.

TalkTalk TV deals

TalkTalk
TalkTalk
TalkTalk
TalkTalk
Essentials TV with Sky Cinema Plus TV Essentials TV + Fibre Medium Plus TV + Fibre Medium
Monthly cost £15.00 (for 6 months, then £22.50 for 12 months, then £25.00 thereafter) 1st year cost: £231.75 Monthly cost £20.00 (for 18 months, then £20.00 per month thereafter) 1st year cost: £246.75 Monthly cost £12.50 (for 18 months, then £17.50 per month thereafter) 1st year cost: £156.75 Monthly cost £25.00 (for 18 months, then £30.00 per month thereafter) 1st year cost: £306.75
Up To 17 Mb Up To 17 Mb Up To 38 Mb Up To 38 Mb
Eve & wknd calls inc. Day, eve & wknd calls inc. Eve & wknd calls inc. Day, eve & wknd calls inc.
Channels 88 Channels 83 Channels 76 Channels 83
Go
Call TalkTalk on 0800 049 7843
Mon to Thurs 8am-10pmFri to Sun 8am-9pm
Go
Call TalkTalk on 0800 049 7843
Mon to Thurs 8am-10pmFri to Sun 8am-9pm
Go
Call TalkTalk on 0800 049 7843
Mon to Thurs 8am-10pmFri to Sun 8am-9pm
Go
Call TalkTalk on 0800 049 7843
Mon to Thurs 8am-10pmFri to Sun 8am-9pm

Movies

Don't worry, film fanatics - the full Sky Cinema suite is available on both BT TV and TalkTalk TV. Beyond that, things differ between the two.

BT has apps for BT Box Office, where you can rent some of the latest movies; and Curzon Home Cinema, the home of independent and classic film. TalkTalk, meanwhile, offers the PictureBox Boost - hand-picked movies on demand that refresh every month - and TalkTalk Box Office, where you can find some of the latest cinematic hits.

Verdict: Though TalkTalk's movie selection is pretty good, BT wins this one, with BT Box Office and the Curzon Home Cinema app, which you won't find anywhere else.

BT TV deals

BT
BT
BT
TV Starter + Broadband Entertainment Plus + BT Infinity 1 Total Entertainment + Unlimited Infinity 1 + Weekend Calls
Monthly cost £4.00 (for 12 months, then £19.00 per month thereafter) 1st year cost: £104.95 Monthly cost £16.00 (for 12 months, then £31.00 per month thereafter) 1st year cost: £258.95 Monthly cost £23.00 (for 12 months, then £47.00 per month thereafter) 1st year cost: £352.95
Up To 17 Mb Up To 52 Mb Up To 52 Mb
Weekend calls inc. Weekend calls inc. Weekend calls inc.
Channels 84 Channels 110 Channels 119
Go
Call BT on 0800 783 5390
Mon to Sun 8am-6.30pm
Go
Call BT on 0800 783 5390
Mon to Sun 8am-6.30pm
Go
Call BT on 0800 783 5390
Mon to Sun 8am-6.30pm

Sports

BT, of course, offers BT Sport. In fact, you get it with any BT TV package at no extra cost - though you'll need the Entertainment package to get the HD channels. You can also get access to BT Sport Ultra HD, and can add Sky Sports 1 and 2 for a premium rate.

With TalkTalk, on the other hand, you can add every single Sky Sports channel with the Sky Sports Boost, as well as the BoxNation and Premier Sports Boosts… but you can't get BT Sport.

Verdict: Well, you're basically choosing between BT Sport and Sky Sports. BT has BT Sport at no extra cost, so that's always good but if you want Sky Sports, go for TalkTalk. 

People watching sports

Bolt-ons and Boosts

The main way to get the TV you want with both providers is through additional bundles of channels or services.  TalkTalk calls them Boosts, and BT calls theirs Bolt-ons, but they're similar ideas. BT offers six: Netflix, Music, Kids, Sky Cinema, HD Extra, and Sports. Meanwhile, TalkTalk has 17, including the Entertainment Boost, Kids Boost, Music Boost, Asian TV Boost, and loads more.

Check out our full guide to TalkTalk TV Boosts.

Verdict: TalkTalk has the most to offer here.

On demand and catch-up

As well as live TV, there's plenty to watch on demand from both providers too. BT has seven-day catch-up from BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, All4, Demand 5, Dave OD, STV, and more - along with a bunch of box sets from those channels as well. You'll also find BT Kids and BT Music on demand.

TalkTalk has a similar seven-day catch-up included as standard, though you can get even more by way of a Boost. A lot of these have on demand shows from the channels they include, and you'll find box sets from the ITV Collections and TVBox Boosts.

YouView itself comes with apps for streaming services like Netflix and NOW TV as well - so they're available with both TalkTalk and BT.

Verdict: TalkTalk has a little bit more, thanks again to its Boosts.

Conclusion

Both BT and TalkTalk have some good stuff to offer in terms of telly, but both have a few gaps too.

The nature of how TalkTalk TV works means it's the most flexible of the two. You can customise your package as you like it to suit your televisual tastes, and there's a tad more to watch on demand too.

BT, on the other hand, is marginally better for both movies and sports fans. Inclusive BT Sport isn't to be sniffed at, especially as BT Sport Ultra HD is up for grabs. And as the only major UK TV service to offer a Curzon Home Cinema subscription it's got something a little extra to offer the film-loving crowd.

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