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TalkTalk TV review 2021

By Dan Howdle | Monday, May 10th 2021

3.5/5

TalkTalk’s big selling point for TV is simplicity and flexibility. You can pick and mix streaming services to bolt on each month without committing to lengthy contracts. But before you read any further, it’s important to note that TalkTalk TV is not a standalone product. It’s only available to households with TalkTalk fibre broadband. That said, let's take a look.

Overview

Number of channels Up to 80
Technology Internet and aerial
Can bundle with broadband? Fibre connection required
Set-top box YouView
Prices from £35.95 per month

Channels

TalkTalk’s TV offering is in the form of a basic YouView box with up to 80 Freeview channels, including 15 in HD. Freeview channels are subject to location and you will need a roof aerial in order to be able to receive them. Along with BBC, ITV and Channels 4 and 5, Freeview also includes the Horror Channel, Sony Movies, Paramount Network, Really and Dave. It also includes a number of +1 channels.

When it comes to Freeview, the precise availability of channels will depend on where you live, how fast your broadband is where you live, and the quality of your TV aerial reception.

Customers can choose to bolt on an array of chargeable extras to the basic Freeview offering, including NOW TV Cinema, Entertainment, Kids or Sport – or the whole lot. You can also access Netflix and Amazon Prime via the YouView box, all of which are subject to an additional subscription fee.

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Set-top box

YouView

TalkTalk TV offers the same YouView box for all customers wanting its TV services. YouView was the brainchild of BT, TalkTalk and telecoms company Arqiva, and is also offered by BT to its TV customers.

talktalk youview box

The TalkTalk YouView box is very basic and does not offer the ability to record, but you can pause and rewind live TV for up to 30 minutes. There’s access to about 80 Freeview channels and seven-day catch up on some channels for certain programmes. However, with the plethora of on demand TV available, the lack of a recording facility is neither here nor there.

To watch both Freeview channels and on demand TV, you will need to connect your YouView box both to an external aerial and your internet connection. On demand services such as NOW TV are provided via an internet connection whereas Freeview channels require an aerial.

You can take advantage of a number of free apps on the YouView box including BBC iPlayer, All4 and ITV Player, all of which come pre-installed, although you will need to sign up before you can watch. You can also choose to subscribe to NOW TV, Netflix and Amazon Prime, all of which are available on YouView, to enjoy a huge range of top-quality TV shows and films.

Add-ons

TV add-ons

NOW TV Entertainment – NOW Entertainment comes with 19 premium channels, including the ever-desirable Sky Atlantic, along with Sky One, Comedy Central, Sky Arts, Syfy and National Geographic, offering a fantastic selection of viewing, from HBO masterpieces, such as Game of Thrones to the thrilling Van Helsing.

NOW TV Cinema – From classic golden oldies to the latest Hollywood releases, NOW TV Cinema has over a 1000 films available to watch on demand across 11 categorized channels, with seasonally inspired channels such as Christmas and Halloween providing additional entertainment. From horror and sci-fi to the latest thrillers and rom-coms, along with a scattering of Sky Cinema originals, you will never be short of something to watch.

NOW TV Sports – A must for any sport fan, a NOW TV Sports Membership gives you access to the 11 Sky Sports channels where you can catch the latest Premier League matches, enjoy the thrills of F1 or get absorbed in the cricket. Plus, with American NFL games, rugby, golf, boxing and more, there is something for every sports fan.

NOW TV Kids – If you’ve got young children then NOW TV Kids is a no-brainer, providing access to perennially favourite channels Boomerang, Nicktoons, Nick Jr, Nickelodeon, Cartoonito and Cartoon Network. In addition, there is on demand access to thousands of shows, from Scooby Doo to the Powerpuff Girls to keep the kids entertained.

Amazon Prime Video – Signing up to Amazon Prime gives you both free or cheap rapid delivery from the website as well as access to a range of TV shows and films via the streaming app. Amazon also produces a number of its own shows, including the well-received Patriot and The Man in the High Castle.

Netflix – Still the leader in the streaming app race, Netflix offers a vast amount of TV, from international drama series to Hollywood blockbusters. There are also kids shows, family films and classic British comedies such as Fawlty Towers and The Inbetweeners to enjoy, along with a large number of Netflix originals, such as After Life, The Crown and Stranger Things.

Multi-room

If you want to watch TalkTalk TV in a second room, you can pay an extra £25 to get a second YouView box. Through your second box you’ll be able to access everything you can with your first, including any NOW TV subscriptions you’ve added to your package. Bear in mind you will need a minimum download speed of 20Mbps in order to support multi-room.

You’ll need to contact TalkTalk customer services to add multi-room and they'll send an engineer round to install it. As well as an internet connection, you will also need an aerial in order to watch the Freeview channels on your second box.

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Packages and bundles

Bundles with broadband

TalkTalk TV is only available to customers with TalkTalk fibre broadband, so depending on what is available where you live, you can choose between the widely available 35Mbps or 65Mbps download speeds. Ultrafast speeds of 150Mbps, 250Mbps and 500Mbps are also available in limited areas. You can use the availability checker on the TalkTalk website to see which broadband speeds are on offer where you live.

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Adding TalkTalk TV to TalkTalk broadband

As TalkTalk TV requires a fibre connection, existing TalkTalk broadband customers can choose to upgrade their broadband service to fibre and then add TalkTalk TV to their package. Existing TalkTalk fibre customers can add TalkTalk TV without needing to make any changes to their broadband service.

Our final verdict

The good

  • Value for money
  • Choice of add-ons
  • Access to Sky Atlantic via NOW TV

The bad

  • Only Freeview channels as standard
  • No option to record on the YouView box
  • Only available with fibre broadband

With the removal of its TV Boosts, TalkTalk has now scaled its TV offering right back, and as a result it does not in any way attempt to compete with the impressive packages of Virgin Media, Sky or even BT when it comes to TV. Plus, with the requirement of fibre broadband for TalkTalk TV, customers who can only access standard broadband will be left out in the cold.

However, if you can get fibre and are looking for a basic TV package with a box that enables access to the Freeview channels, then TalkTalk TV is a good bet and an affordable option. You can pause and rewind live channels, and the ability to add on one-month rolling streaming services such as NOW TV, Amazon Prime and Netflix is likely to tick all the boxes for the majority of households.

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