BT TV vs TalkTalk TV
Trying to choose between BT and TalkTalk? Both providers offer similar TV packages with around 80+ Freeview channels and the option to add on a selection of extra channels.
If you’re looking for a TV package with a little more bite than basic Freeview, but don’t want to spend big on Sky or Virgin Media’s TV offerings, then either BT TV or TalkTalk TV are good options. Here's all the details you need to help you decide.
At a glance
BT TV and TalkTalk TV are very similar in their basic services, with the only major difference coming with the slightly larger storage capacity of BT’s YouView set-top box. Both packages come with the option to bolt on Sky Sports and Sky Cinema.
BT Superfast Fibre Unlimited + Weekend Calls + TV Entertainment
£43 .99£29.99 set-up cost includes line rental See Deal
- 50Mb average speed
- 130 channels
- Inclusive calls
TalkTalk Faster Fibre + TV Plus + TV Select
£29 .50£34.95 set-up cost includes line rental See Deal
- 35Mb average speed
- 116 channels
- PAYG calls
Starter is BT’s entry TV package. There are 80+ Freeview channels included and around 12 in high definition. All TV packages also have access to BT’s exclusive US drama channel, AMC, and BT Sport. Starter comes with a YouView set-top box that has catch up TV built in and the ability to pause and rewind live broadcasts.
Entertainment comes with an extra 25 channels and a YouView+ box, which incorporates a recording function to capture up to 300 hours of live TV. You’ll also get access to BT TV Everywhere. This app will let you watch TV on your laptop, smartphone or tablet (with an internet connection) – even when you’re away from home.
The Max package comes with an extra 50+ channels, 13 in HD and nine kids channels (including Disney Channel and Nickelodeon). You’ll also get BT Sport Ultra HD channel, which broadcasts a selection of UHD matches. No Sky channels are included with any BT packages unless you choose to add Sky Cinema or Sky Sports. Max comes with a 1TB Ultra HD Youview+ box that can record up to 600 hours of TV.
The TV package is the basic pack from TalkTalk, with around 80 Freeview channels included as standard. A handful of these, including BBC One and Channel 4, are in HD, presenting a nice little bonus if you own an HD-ready TV. There is no extra monthly charge for the basic TV pack with any TalkTalk broadband package. The only fee is a single upfront charge of £25 for the YouView box.
TV Plus comes with around 80 Freeview channels and an additional 30 premium entertainment channels, including Sky 1, Fox and Comedy Central. Also, TV Plus comes with the option to record up to 180 hours of TV. TV Plus prices start from £24 per month.
Technology and equipment
A YouView box now comes with all BT’s TV packages. Starter comes with the standard YouView box and lets you pause and rewind (but not record) live TV, while Entertainment and Max come with a YouView+ box.
YouView+ lets you record up to 300 hours of TV and you can use the YouView remote record app to set the box to record using your smartphone or tablet when you’re out and about. Max comes with a 1TB Youview+ box, giving you 600 hours of TV storage.
TalkTalk also supplies the YouView+ box – but only for TV Plus customers. Standard TV customers get the standard YouView box. TalkTalk’s YouView+ box lets you record 180 hours of standard definition TV programming. If you’re on the basic package – TV – you won’t be able to record content, but can pause and rewind live TV for up to 30 minutes at a time.
Are BT TV and TalkTalk TV available in my area?
BT’s TV service didn’t meet the minimum criteria to be included in the latest Ofcom customer satisfaction report, but it came in below the sector average of 77%, with 59% for overall satisfaction with customer service in the previous report. Ofcom cited the time taken to handle customer issues as one of the main reasons for customer dissatisfaction.
In the latest Ofcom report, satisfaction with BT’s customer service as a broadband provider was 60%, compared to the sector average of 67%.
Ofcom hasn’t yet been able to assess TalkTalk’s TV service, but in the latest customer satisfaction report its broadband service (which you have to take in order to get TalkTalk TV) has been rated. The industry average for customer satisfaction amongst broadband providers was 67%, with TalkTalk achieving 53%.
The BT TV packages may seem a bit bare compared to the all-singing, all-dancing TV bundles offered by Sky and Virgin, but you can easily inject some extra energy into the package by taking one of the many BT TV bolt-ons.
Movies and music
Movie fans can take the Sky Cinema add-on for £13.50 per month. If you’re more of a music-head, you can take the BT Music channel for £3 per month, and if you want to watch a larger selection of HD channels, you can take the HD Extra pack for £4 per month. Any HD option is only available with Infinity broadband.
The HD Extra pack is included in the Entertainment Max package (only available to existing customers) and Max pack.
BT Sport comes free as standard with all BT TV packages. You can add Sky Sports to your package for £27.50 extra per month.
TalkTalk also has a range of add-ons. TV Starter gives you six Sky Channels, including Sky 1, Sky 2 and Sky Arts, which can be added to the basic TV package. Sky Cinema comes with all Sky's top movie channels. The Kids pack comes with nine channels, including Nick Jr and the Disney Channel, and PictureBox offers a decent selection of on demand movies and boxsets. Other options include Sky Sports, Asian TV and BoxNation.
So which one to choose? Purely on the basis of TV alone, if you’re an avid sport fan desperate for BT Sport it has to be BT, but if you are not interested in sport, TalkTalk might lure you with the inclusion of Sky 1, which BT does not have. Another point to remember is that you cannot take TV with either TalkTalk or BT without also taking a broadband package. Both providers offer a great range of standard and fibre broadband services, with TalkTalk offering the choice of 17Mb, 38Mb and 76Mb, and BT offering 17Mb, 52Mb and 76Mb. Unless you’re desperate for a 52Mb package, you might consider giving TalkTalk a go, as its packages are considerably cheaper than BT’s.
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