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TalkTalk TV Plus Box review

TalkTalk TV Plus Box review

TalkTalk’s TV Plus Box is the provider’s higher-end set-top box. Here’s what you need to know to make the most of it, plus your guide to its new, next-gen technology.

TalkTalk’s TV Plus box lets you bring together the best of live and on-demand TV across multiple services. With its monthly Boosts, you can access premium content for low prices on a flexible schedule.

Here’s our review of TalkTalk’s TV Plus Box.

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How is it different from the TalkTalk TV Box?

TalkTalk’s two TV set-top boxes are very similar, but there are two key differences between the two.

The biggest difference is that the TV Plus Box lets you record live TV while the TV Box only lets you pause or rewind live TV, or access on-demand programming for things you’ve missed.

The second difference is that although TalkTalk’s Boosts are flexible, to get the TV Plus Box, you’ll have to subscribe to the Entertainment Boost, which gives you access to 32 top pay TV entertainment channels, like Sky 1, Fox and Comedy Central.

TalkTalk’s TV Plus Box: Hardware

Both of TalkTalk’s set-top boxes are made by YouView, similar to BT.

The TV Plus Box is slightly larger because it has a hard drive in it, allowing you to record and save programmes to the box itself. You can record two programmes at once.

The hard drive is 300GB, which lets you store up to 185 hours of live TV in standard definition on the box. Although this might sound low compared to other set-top boxes with 1TB of storage, keep in mind that the only programmes stored to your box are the ones you record from live television. Any programmes you watch on demand or purchase from the TalkTalk TV store are streamed to your box and therefore don’t take up space.

Using the TalkTalk TV Plus Box

TalkTalk YouView box menu

TalkTalk redesigned the software on their set-top boxes with one goal in mind: getting content quickly and easily.

The main menu — accessible by pressing the YouView button on the remote — is now a small, visual guide that displays under whatever you’re watching on live TV. It’s broken down into six sections:

  • Guide
  • Players & Apps
  • My TV
  • More TV
  • Settings
  • Search

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Guide

The guide has two formats: mini and regular. The mini guide uses image tiles to show you what’s currently on TV. An expanded, more traditional guide is available, too, to show you what’s currently on, what’s coming up and what was previously on TV — a feature unique to TalkTalk.

You can scroll backwards in the guide to see programmes that aired up to 12 hours prior. Through this backwards scrolling, you can actually access any programmes that are available on-demand through the guide itself rather than sifting through on-demand players or apps.

TalkTalk’s guide offers another way for you to quickly find content: sorting channels by ‘type’. At the top of the guide, you can view lists of channels grouped together by theme, such as kids, sports or subscription channels, making it quick and easy for you to find programmes you want to watch.

Players & Apps

This section of the menu is where you can access on-demand content, including TV programmes, films and music videos. You can find programmes from BBC iPlayer, All 4, ITV Hub and more.

Apps like Netflix and BBC News are also available in this section.

My TV

TalkTalk YouView recordings

My TV stores your recordings — which is why this section is only available on the TalkTalk TV Plus box.

The mini menu shows your most recent recordings. The full list is accessible in the expanded menu. Recordings are grouped together by series.

More TV

If you’re looking to access the TalkTalk TV Store, head to More TV in the menu, or press the TalkTalk button on your remote control.

The TalkTalk TV Store is home to a wealth of content that you can rent or buy, including Netflix original series like Orange is the New Black and HBO box sets for popular series like Game of Thrones and Westworld — which are available for purchase the day after the final episode airs on Sky Atlantic.

You can also add channels to your TV package here by purchasing TV Boosts. Boosts run for 30 days each and can be removed after that, otherwise they automatically renew.

Anything you purchase can be found in the My Stuff section of the TV store. This is also where you can find free on-demand content from your TV Boosts.

Settings

Go to this section if you need to change any settings on your set-top box, including menu display options and PINs for parental controls and payments.

Search

As more and more of us move toward watching on-demand content across multiple platforms, providers are recognising that we need more comprehensive search — and TalkTalk’s search function does just that.

Type in the name of the programme you’re looking for, and TalkTalk will search live TV and on-demand content available across all your players (including Netflix), the TV Store and Boosts. If it’s not available on your current package, you have the option to upgrade within the set-top box itself to get access to the programme you want as quickly and smoothly as possible.

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Tips and tricks

Now that you've got the basics of navigation down, here's a few ways to make your TV viewing experience even better.

TV Boosts

TalkTalk Sky Cinema TV Boost

TalkTalk gives you access to all the same content as other providers — you just might have to add it to your TV package with a Boost.

TV Boosts are 30-day channel packs that you can add to your TalkTalk TV package and customise your channel options. TalkTalk offers lots of themed boosts, including:

  • TV Starter: This pack gives you access to six popular Sky channels, including Sky Living and Sky 1.
  • Entertainment: As previously mentioned, if you have the TalkTalk TV Plus box, you’ve already got access to this boost, which gives you 32 top pay channels, including Fox and National Geographic Wild.
  • Kids: With nine dedicated channels — including Disney, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network — plus on-demand content, you shouldn’t have any problems keeping children entertained.
  • Sky Sports: You can add eight Sky Sports channels to your TalkTalk TV with this Boost.
  • Sky Cinema: Movie buffs may want to add this pack of all 11 Sky Cinema channels to their TV package.

Boosts only last for 30 days and automatically renew, so you’re free to cancel at any time.

Take advantage of the Watchlist feature

Since on-demand content from Boosts takes quite a few clicks to get to — especially if you have multiple TV Boosts — use the Watchlist feature on your set-top box to make it faster to find what you want.

Watchlist allows you to save multiple programmes from different Boosts or other areas in the TV store to one convenient location, making it easier to find when you’re ready to start watching a new series.

TalkTalk TV Planner app

TalkTalk’s app helps you stay on top of what’s happening on your set-top box, even if you’re away from home. Within the TV Planner app — which can be used by up to five devices — you can view the guide, set up recordings, stream content and watch live TV.

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