BT TV vs TalkTalk TV: which is better?
YouView boxes are great for watching free channels – but with a TV subscription from TalkTalk (www.talktalk.co.uk) and BT (www.bt.com) included with your broadband phone and home phone you can get much more. BT offers premium channels, BT Sport and movies for rent; while TalkTalk has plenty of on-demand programs and more Boosts than you can get. So how do the two compare?
- BT: full review
- TalkTalk: full review
In one look
|BT television||TalkTalk TV|
|Decoders||YouView, 500 GB YouView +, 1 TB Ultra HD YouView +||YouView, 500 GB YouView +|
|Packages||Entrance, Entertainment, Max||Television, Television More|
|Number of channels||~ 100-140||~ 80-90|
|Number of bolts / boost||6||8|
|Recording||Yes, with Entertainment Plus and Total Entertainment||Yes, with TV Plus|
A basic TV package with each provider will give you around 80 standard YouView channels with TalkTalk, or 100 with BT. Premium plans give you a little more – up to 140+ with BT, or up to around 90 with TalkTalk. However, you can add even more – anywhere from 30 to 60 depending on your plan with either one. Some of them are already included in the premium packages.
Take a look at the full list of BT TV channels here.
It’s pretty much the same, but you can get more in BT’s raw packages. Also, getting all the available channels from TalkTalk would be quite expensive – although they air monthly, so you can cancel them at any time.
Fret not, movie fanatics – the full Sky Cinema suite is available on BT TV and TalkTalk TV, just like the Netflix app right on your TV. Beyond that, things differ between the two.
BT offers apps for BT Box Office, where you can rent some of the latest movies; and Curzon Home Cinema, the home of independent and classic cinema. TalkTalk, on the other hand, offers the TalkTalk Store, where you can find some of the latest movie hits to rent and buy.
While TalkTalk’s movie selection is pretty good, BT wins this one, along with BT Box Office and the Curzon Home Cinema app, which you won’t find anywhere else.
* Average speeds are based on download speeds of at least 50% of customers during peak hours (8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.). Speed can be affected by a variety of technical and environmental factors. The speed you receive where you live may be slower than stated above. You can check the estimated speed of your property before you buy.
BT, of course, offers BT Sport. In fact, you get it with BT TV at no extra cost – although you do need the high-end Max plan. It’s £ 3.50 a month otherwise. You can also access BT Sport Ultra HD (Total Entertainment only) and can add Sky Sports Main Event and Extra for a discounted rate.
With TalkTalk, on the other hand, you can add every Sky Sports channel with Sky Sports Boost, as well as BoxNation and Premier Sports Boosts. You can also add BT Sport channels by calling BT directly.
Of the two, there is only one way to get the full BT Sport and Sky Sports experience – TalkTalk. BT can give you BT Sport at no extra cost, and that’s always good … but TalkTalk wins by simply offering more.
Bolts and boosts
The main way to get the TV you want from both providers is through additional channel or service packages. TalkTalk calls them Boosts and BT calls them Bolt-ons, but they are similar ideas. BT offers six: BT Sport, HD Extra, Kids Extra, Music, Sky Cinema and Sky Sports. Meanwhile, TalkTalk has eight: TV Starter Boost, Entertainment Boost (included in TV Plus), Kids Boost, Asian Boost, Boxnation Boost, Sky Sports Boost, Sky Cinema Boost, and PictureBox Boost.
Check out our full guide to TalkTalk TV boosts.
TalkTalk has the most to offer here.
On request and catching up
In addition to live TV, there is also plenty to watch on demand from both providers. BT has a seven-day catch-up with BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, All4, Demand 5, UKTV Player, STV, etc. along with a bunch of box sets of these channels. You will also find BT Kids and BT Music on demand.
TalkTalk has a similar seven-day catch-up included as standard, although you can get even more with a Boost. Many of them have on-demand shows from the channels they include, for example.
YouView itself also comes with apps for streaming services like Netflix and Now TV – so they’re available with TalkTalk and BT.
TalkTalk has a little more, again thanks to its Boosts.
BT and TalkTalk both have great things to offer in terms of TV, but both have some shortcomings as well.
The nature of how TalkTalk TV works means that it is the more flexible of the two. You can customize your package to suit your viewing tastes, and there’s a little more to watch on demand, too.
BT, on the other hand, is slightly better for movie and sports fans. The included BT Sport is not to be sneezed at, especially as the BT Sport Ultra HD is up for grabs. And as the only major UK television service to offer a Curzon Home Cinema subscription, it has something more to offer moviegoers.