There are so many ways to watch TV now, and the multitude of different subscription services can be overwhelming at times. TalkTalk TV has offered up a simple set-top box that effectively turns your TV into a smart TV. You can watch, pause, and rewind live TV, you have access to more channels, and you can add subscriptions to customise your experience further. And all at a lower price point than competitors like Sky or BT. Here we’ll have a look at what TalkTalk TV offers users and if it’s a good fit for you.
Upgrades a TV to a smart TV
Competitive price point
Discreet box which fits nicely into an entertainment setup
Ability to bundle Netflix and NOW TV among others
No option to record TV as default
No access to Apple TV or Disney Plus
The interface does suffer from a bit of latency
The new TalkTalk 4K TV Box offers a budget-friendly way to access Netgem TV services, combined with on-demand services like NOW TV and Netflix on the same bill. It’s available on TalkTalk TV Fibre Broadband plans at an additional monthly cost of £4. It offers access to over 70 channels and various on-demand players via its Netgem TV interface.
The box offers a quick and uncomplicated way to browse and watch various content from one single TalkTalk TV box that plugs into your TV. TalkTalk TV customers will receive all they need to get started, including a 4K Netgem TV box, remote, and connection wires.
Also available is its own mobile app with an integrated planner (TV guide), with the option to catch up on the last seven days of programs. The content included as part of a subscription 70+ Freeview channels (with nearly 20HD channels), then an additional 100+ channels not available on free-to-air TV, and of course, everything offered on NOW TV, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Rakuten TV, BritBox TV, and BT Sport (subscription costs not included though).
You can watch both Freeview TV and on-demand TV. What you will need is to connect your Netgem box to both an external aerial and your internet connection. The external aerial is required for Freeview and all app and on-demand services will run from an internet connection. Some require a subscription, as you would expect, but you can take advantage of a number of free apps included with the TalkTalk TV box. These include ITV hub, BBC iPlayer, All4 and even YouTube and TikTok. These all come pre-installed so all you’ll have to do as a user is sign up and sign in.
Being powered by Netgem, you’ll have access to some ‘extra channels’ featured on Netgem TV. It doesn’t offer anything ground-breaking, but some entertainment, cooking, news, and over 30 various sports channels are available to browse.
TalkTalk offers users the ability to increase the number of available channels, by offering various bundles of channels to their package, some for an additional monthly cost. Here are a few.
Still the ‘Top Dog’ of streaming apps, Netflix offers a massive range of TV, from international dramas, Hollywood blockbusters, comedy classics, family films, and the most impressive range of originals, like Better Call Saul, Stranger Things, The Crown, and many more. A monthly subscription is required though.
Amazon Prime Video requires a subscription unless you have Amazon Prime for deliveries. Here you can find Amazon Originals, and lots of movies, even new releases.
Thousands of shows from the BBC, including some live sports, documentaries, news, and movies not to mention the many hidden classics from the BBC’s vast library of programs.
The ideal place to catch up on the TV shows you’ve missed and watch boxsets including some of the best British dramas.
Channel 4 and E4 are very popular channels in the UK. All4 offers a great catch-up and on-demand streaming service for fans of reality shows, comedies, and documentaries.
There is a TalkTalk TV companion app available on the App store or the Google play store and it has some useful functionality. It offers some on-the-go viewing, TV planners/guides, and quick access to settings.
Download TalkTalk TV app
On your set-top box go to settings
Select the link to the app
You’ll be given a passcode or a QR code
Follow the link to connect
Confirm details and continue to link the App to the box.
This is a handy companion app to have as you can have up to four devices connected, so you can watch on a different device throughout your home, be it a smartphone or tablet. The guide on the box does run a bit slow, so sometimes using the app and casting to your TV and using it to browse through menus feels a bit quicker and easier. However, it is worth mentioning that the app does suffer from connection problems and various minor bugs.
NOW TV memberships are an additional method for users to access premium content from Sky including Sky Atlantic, Sky Sports and the many Sky Movie channels. These can be added in various bundles to your TalkTalk account.
Powered by NOW TV, this add-on gives you access to all 11 Sky Sports Channels, where you can watch Premier League matches, feel the speed of F1, or enjoy golf, rugby, NFL, boxing, and more. You can choose a monthly membership that will continuously renew until cancelled, or you can go for a 24-hour pass for a one-off payment. Perfect for it if you want to watch a specific live event but don’t want the commitment.
Adding a NOW TV Entertainment gives you access to premium channels like Sky Atlantic, Sky One, Comedy Central, Sky Sci-Fi, and Sky Arts. Not only does it offer live TV, but you can also view boxsets of your favourites on-demand like Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, and Succession.
This is for movie lovers. From golden oldies to the newest Hollywood blockbusters, NOW TV cinema library of over 1000 movies and counting will have you reaching for the popcorn all winter long. With seasonally inspired additions, rom cons, action, horror, comedy, indie and thriller, being updated regularly, you’ll never be stuck for a movie to watch.
Using the TalkTalk TV guide is user-friendly. On the remote control, press the guide button to open up the TV guide. As with most TV guides, this displays all the channels available to watch. Using the cursor keys on your remote you can scroll through your channels, see a synopsis of programs, set reminders for upcoming shows, or check the details of previously missed events.
TalkTalk TV catch-up does exactly as you’d expect. If you missed your favourite shows, you could catch up using the platform. All you do is search for what you missed and then you can replay it, but only if it’s finished within the last seven days though as there is no internal storage in this little box.
Using the home screen on your remote to open the user interface, move to the search bar and enter your search, once you found your program, you will be taken to one of the various on-demand services via the TalkTalk TV platform. From here you can watch or rewatch whatever you want.
It’s from this home page that you access everything the TalkTalk TV channels have to offer. By sliding the tab across the top of the screen you skip between live TV, Cinema highlight, extra channels (provided by Netgem TV), and My TalkTalk TV, which highlights your recent choices and likes, and finds your chosen on-demand platforms.
Streaming services have become so popular that it can be hard to choose which ones to subscribe to. Thankfully, we don’t have to sign lengthy contracts and we can bundle assorted services together, so choosing a service can come down to one thing that appeals to you over another option.
What is appealing about TalkTalk TV? It is a nice-looking small digital box; it connects to an external aerial and your wifi. You have access to multiple on-demand services on its user interface, which makes for easy browsing. However, much of this can be found on a smart TV.
But is it good? The better question is, ‘Is it worth an HDMI port?’ There are a lot of channels with the box, even without any add-ons, but the majority of them are very niche and many people wouldn’t have heard of any. The interface is clean and easy on the eyes, and while it can be a bit slow and unresponsive, it serves its purpose without excelling.
On the downside the Netgem TalkTalk TV box does not offer multiroom options, it doesn’t have any internal storage to record TV and as of, yet Apple TV+ and Disney+ are not available on the platform.
TalkTalk TV is a good way to access various on-demand services and streaming services, if you bundle memberships you also have a good amount of customisation that you can change and cancel as and when you please, giving you the freedom to experiment with different services if you wished or just stick with what you know.
The price is good, and the set-top box is discreet. Does it offer much more than a good smart TV? A little. Does it compare to a Sky Q box? No, and I can probably think of a few better uses for an HDMI port in my TV.
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