By Phil Wilkinson-Jones | Tuesday, February 12th 2019
The EE TV platform isn’t as comprehensive as some of its rivals, but it does have some unique features and is cheaper than the competition. It's only available with EE broadband and there are benefits for anyone who takes out a mobile deal with EE too.
|Number of channels||99|
|Can bundle with broadband?||Required|
|Set-top box||EE TV box|
|Prices from||£32.50 per month|
In terms of channels on EE TV, it’s a hybrid between Freeview and streaming services. You might wonder what’s the point of subscribing to a Pay TV service when all you get is free-to-air channels, but the value of EE TV is in the box and the features it enables. More on that later.
There are 70 completely free channels via your aerial as well as 11 HD channels. These include high-definition versions of BBC1, BBC2, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5. If you don’t have an HD tuner in your television, this already represents an improvement.
The EE TV Box supports a vast array of catch-up TV, subscription streaming services and media apps. BBC iPlayer and Demand 5 are on board, as are apps for YouTube, Deezer and live sporting action through BBC Sport. There’s also reality TV from Hayu and blockbuster movies from Rakuten TV.
There are some notable absentees however. There’s no support for Netflix or Amazon Prime, which immediately puts it at a disadvantage when compared to other streaming devices. BT, Sky, Virgin Media and TalkTalk all offer Netflix on their TV platforms. The ITV Hub is also absent – so there’s no watching Coronation Street on demand – as is All 4.
It’s very curious that there’s no way to get BT Sport on EE TV either. Given that EE is owned by BT, you’d think there would be a dedicated app. It’s a pity, as it would have been a big selling point.
We’ve established EE TV is a low-cost upgrade to Freeview, so why would you pay for it? The answer is the box.
The EE TV box lets you record up to four programmes at once. And it’s possible to store up to 600 hours of standard definition or 300 hundred hours of HD video on a 1TB hard drive. That compares favourably with offerings from EE’s rivals.
What’s more, you can nominate eight favourite SD channels, or six HD channels, and EE TV will record the entire day’s television. You can also filter by genre, so it will just record movies, drama or sport. This means that if you tune in halfway through a programme, you can restart from the beginning.
But what’s really impressive about EE TV is how it works with your smartphone or tablet. You can watch live or recorded TV on four devices around the home simultaneously and seamlessly move between them.
The EE TV app also doubles up as a remote control, so you can browse the TV guide without interrupting other viewers. You can also set remote record instructions when you’re out and about.
Unfortunately, you can’t download programmes to watch away from the home, as you can with Sky Q.
These aren’t add-ons as such, as you can’t pay for them through your EE account. And you can sign up to them without having EE TV. But you can watch them through the EE TV box and they will supplement your Freeview channels nicely.
TV Player Plus offers 32 TV channels including Eurosport, HISTORY and Discovery Channel without a long-term contract. NOW TV means you can get the best Sky content and channels such as Sky Atlantic on your EE TV box – again without a contract.
Again, these aren’t strictly EE add-ons. But if you’re a film buff you may want to consider subscribing to one or both of these apps. You’ll be getting a good mix of summer blockbusters, old favourites and Oscar-baiting award-winners. EE also offers discounts for various apps from time to time so keep an eye out.
EE TV doesn’t offer additional boxes like Sky’s Multiroom service, but that’s not to say you can’t watch it from another room. In fact, your family can watch up to four different programmes around the house at the same time on the TV or on a phone or tablet.
If you’re moving between rooms, you can ‘flick’ a programme from your device to your TV or ‘fetch’ it from the TV to your device if you want to leave the room.
Anyone signing up to EE broadband can also take EE TV for an additional monthly fee. EE offers standard broadband averaging 10Mbps and two fibre broadband packages averaging 36Mbps and 67Mbps. It’s worth getting fibre if you plan on making the most of EE TV’s streaming capabilities.
You can add anytime landline or mobile calls, and even international calls for an extra fee. And if you’re already an EE mobile and broadband customer, you’ll get a mobile data boost of between 5GB and 50GB a month.
Once you’ve picked your broadband package, you simply add EE TV to your plan and that’s it. There’s no set-up charge and because EE TV connects via a home aerial (which you should already have) and your home broadband connection (which is required), there’s no setup.
If you do take EE Broadband and EE TV, you will be tied into an 18-month contract.
You can’t get EE TV as a standalone product – you have to take EE home broadband to get it. While this might suit someone looking for a new provider, it will put off others in the middle of a contract or those who don’t want to switch.
It’s also not possible to add EE TV to a mobile subscription, so getting EE broadband really is the only option.
The multiscreen and mobile viewing features are so impressive it’s a shame they are limited to the basic array of Freeview channels. But what really lets the service down is the absence of some of the more popular streaming services.
It’s also worth pointing out that you don’t actually own the box and have to give it back to the company if you choose to end your subscription.
If you’re looking for a top-of-the-range service, then EE TV isn’t for you. Sure, you can access Sky Sports via NOW TV, but there’s no BT Sport. Similarly, Sky Cinema is available but there’s no Netflix.
But if you’re happy with Freeview, on the fence about your next broadband provider and want a relatively cheap upgrade that lets you pause and record live TV, then EE TV might be worth a look..