BT TV vs. TalkTalk TV

By Charlotte Whyatt - Thu 25th May 2017 Features

Which pay-TV service will come out on top?

Family Watching TV

With BT and TalkTalk’s brilliant pay-TV services you’ll have access to a huge range of fantastic Freeview channels, extensive on-demand libraries and the ability to add plenty of extra bundles which will give you access to a wealth of new content including exciting sports and thrilling films.

BT TV vs. TalkTalk TV: Channels

With every BT and TalkTalk TV packages, you’ll receive all 80 of the available Freeview channels. If you’d like access to more, extra kids or HD channels for example, both providers offer a number of extra channel bundles (known as bolt-ons and boosts respectively) for a small fee.

Overall, Freeview does provide you with a decent range of quality content but as to be expected with a service like this, there are some areas it lacks in.

You’ll receive BBC One, BBC Two, ITV, Channel 4, ITV2 and Dave along with a decent mix of American channels like Comedy Central, TLC and E! and more factual ones like History, Food, Discovery and National Geographic.

Around 15 of the channels available including Channel 4, BBC One, 4seven, CBBC, ITV, BBC Four and BBC News also come in HD.

BT subscribers get the AMC channel free with every package, a premium American channel which produced such critically acclaimed shows as Breaking BadMad Men and The Walking Dead.

The basic film selection with both providers isn’t really that great as Film 4 is pretty much your only option. While it does show a variety of well-received films, it won’t be anything that’s particularly new. The amount of children’s channel available is okay with CBBC, CITV and CBeebies but noticeably absent is obviously Disney and Nickelodeon.

BT TV vs. TalkTalk TV: Sport

BT offer a really comprehensive Sport pack for an extra monthly fee which includes BT Sport 1, 2 and 3, BT Sport ESPN, Eurosport 1 and 2, Box Nation and BT Sport Extra 1 through 6. If you’d like the HD versions of the channels, you’ll have to buy the BT Sport HD package separately and ensure you’ve got a HD or HD ready TV.

A choice of so many channels obviously means you’ll be able to enjoy an incredible range of sports, from every UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League game to the European Rugby Champions Cup, major UFC matches and MotoGP races.

With each BT Sport bundle, you’ll also receive free access to the BT Sport App and the BT Sport Player so you can livestream and catch-up on any exciting action you might’ve missed wherever you happen to be.

You can also purchase Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2 together in the Sky Sports bolt-on if you’d like a bit of extra action.

BT is only the provider in the UK that offers a stunning 4K Ultra HD sport channel, known simply as BT Sport 4K Ultra HD, which allows you to catch a selection of major events like FA Cup and Aviva Premiership Rugby matches in four times the detail of HD.

To enjoy BT Sport 4K Ultra HD, you’ll need a 4K Ultra HD TV, BT’s Total Entertainment package, the Ultra HD YouView box and BT’s Infinity broadband.

TalkTalk don’t actually offer their own sport package or catch-up app, but you’ve got a choice between the BoxNation or Sky Sports boost which allows you unrestricted access to the BoxNation channel and Sky Sports 1-5 and Sky Sports F1 respectively.

The Sky Sports bundle is as equally impressive as BT’s own, as you’ll have access to all the same kinds of exciting matches and fixtures for the Champions League, PGA Championship, Premiere League, Rugby Union and many, many more.

BT TV vs. TalkTalk TV: Movies

Sky Cinema is made-up of 11 different channels including Sky Premiere which offers up a brand-new roster of films every single week and can be purchased as one of BT’s extra bolt-ons. Even without a Sky Cinema subscription, you’ll be able to buy or rent a huge selection of films and TV shows on the BT Store and BT Box Office.

Different titles are rotated on and off the BT Store fairly frequently, both brand-new DVD releases and older favourites, and the BT purchase app allows you to download any title you’ve bought or rented so you’re able to enjoy it on-the-go.

The Sky Cinema bundle is also available through TalkTalk along with PictureBox’s streaming service. Although it does offer a fair selection of different films and TV shows, it’s not nearly as up-to-date as the library on Netflix or Amazon Prime Video.

Formerly Blinkbox, TalkTalk’s store works much the same as BT’s allowing you to buy or rent a vast number of both films and TV shows.

There is obviously going to be a few small differences, but mostly the two stores offer exactly the same kind of content. The new DVD releases usually arrive on both stores at the same time and they each have a very good selection of new and classic content from both the UK and US.

BT TV vs. TalkTalk TV: On-Demand

With both providers, you’ll be able to enjoy a 7-day catch-up service for all the major channels like BBC iPlayer, ITV Player and 4OD.

As standard, BT provides quite a few major box sets from all the different channels along with some from AMC and, providing you’ve got the Sky Cinema and BT Kids bolt-on, an extensive library of fantastic films and children TV shows.

TalkTalk’s on-demand service is similar and really only comes alive when you buy some of their boost packs. You’ll be able to enjoy content for premium Sky channels like Sky 1 and Sky 2 on-demand with the TV Starter bundle, MTV, National Geographic and Comedy Central with the Entertainment pack and Disney, Nickelodeon and the like with the Kids bundle.

BT TV vs. TalkTalk TV: Sky Content

Unfortunately, no BT TV package will permit you to receive any of the Sky TV entertainment channels (i.e. Sky channels aside from Sky Cinema and Sky Sports). No extra Sky bolt-ons are available and the NOW TV app won’t let anybody with a YouView set-top box enjoy one of its Entertainment Passes due to certain live TV restrictions.

TalkTalk’s TV Starter and Entertainment boosts however, both include six premium Sky channels including Sky 1, Sky 2 and Sky Living. One Sky channel it’s sadly missing is Sky Atlantic which features many of the big blockbuster US shows like Game of Thrones and the new season of Twin Peaks.

BT TV vs. TalkTalk TV: Packages

You’ve got a choice between five different TV packages with BT, each of which offer a range of different channels and extras.

If you’re looking for a fairly basic package, it’s probably best to go with the TV Starter bundle as it offers a YouView box, up to 80 Freeview channels, the AMC channel, a 7-day catch-up service, access to the BT Store along with the ability to pause and rewind live TV and add the BoxNation bolt-on.

Entertainment Plus offers slightly more than the previous package as you’ll receive everything listed above as well as an extra 30 premium channels, the ability to record up to 300 hours of content, a YouView+ box and the BT TV catch-up app.

The Total Entertainment package is BT’s top offering and so provides a wealth of brilliant features including a YouView+ Ultra HD box, access to 141 channels 21 of which are in HD, BT’s Ultra HD 4K sport channel and the ability to add all of BT’s bolt-ons and record up to 600 hours of TV.

By comparison, TalkTalk only offer two TV packages which obviously makes it a lot easier when you’re trying to come to a decision about which to buy. For added convenience, they also automatically come packaged in with TalkTalk’s broadband and can be set-up for free.

TalkTalk’s TV with Fast Broadband comes with a TalkTalk set top box which allows you to pause and rewind live TV, up to 80 Freeview channels and the option to add any of their brilliant boost bundles for a small extra fee.

The TalkTalk TV Plus bundle with Fast Broadband however, will arrive with an upgraded TalkTalk Plus box which can pause, rewind and record up to 80 hours of TV, up to 80 Freeview channels, 6 premium Sky channels and any boosts you’d like to add.

BT TV vs. TalkTalk TV: Extras

As mentioned above, both providers offer a selection of extra bundles which you’re able to add onto your existing TV package for a small fee.

BT’s bolt-ons include a chance to buy a Netflix package, extra HD channels, BT Kids, BT Music, Sky Cinema, the BT TV app with an extra YouView box and Sky Sports and AMC, which is actually free. While TalkTalk offers TV Starter, Entertainment, Kids, BoxNation, Sky Sports, PictureBox’s streaming service and Sky Cinema.

The YouView set top box is used by both providers so neither of them feature an app store but does come with a few pre-installed apps including Netflix, NOW TV and BBC Sport.

Through the BT Store, you’ll also have access to the BT Box Office and Curzon Home Cinema app where you can rent a huge selection of great independent films.

BT’s own TV app is available to download for free with your TV package and supported by both iOS and Android. It requires either an internet connection or your data to work but allows you to stream all kinds of live and on-demand content.

TalkTalk’s app is slightly different and only allows you to watch what you’ve bought or rented from the TalkTalk store. However, it does support offline viewing which is particularly handy for anyone without an unlimited data package.

BT TV vs. TalkTalk TV: Price 

BT’s Starter Package is just £3.50 a month for a 12-month contract, but comes with quite an excessive upfront cost of £59.99.

The Entertainment package on the hand doesn’t feature an upfront cost and is £10 a month on a 12-month contract. There is however, a £9.99 delivery charge.

In much the same vein, at £18 a month on a 12-month contract The Total Entertainment package doesn’t come with any upfront costs but does include a delivery charge of £9.99.

Package Name Price Per Month  Contract Length Upfront Cost? Delivery Charge?
Starter £.50 12 months £59.99 £0
Entertainment Plus £10 12 months £0 £9.99
Total Entertainment £18 12 months £0 £9.99

TalkTalk’s TV with Fast broadband comes to a total of £20 a month on a two-year contract which includes line rental. There’s also a one-off £25 charge for the set top box but none for installation.

For TalkTalk TV Plus with Fast broadband you’ll be charged £25 a month on a two-year contract which again, also includes line rental, the one-off sum of £25 for the set top box and absolutely no charge for the installation.

Package Name Price Per Month Contract Length Any Upfront Cost? Installation Charge
TalkTalk TV with Fast Broadband  £20 24 months No £0
TalkTalk TV Plus with Fast Broadband £25 24 months No £0

BT TV vs. TalkTalk TV: Verdict

BT and TalkTalk each offer a number of great value packages with plenty of excellent features. However, a lot of the features are either the same or very similar, for example both BT and TalkTalk are able to receive Netflix and Sky Cinema, so which one you go for really does depend on some of the smaller details which could either hamper or improve your viewing experience.

For example, if you watch a lot of Sky TV it makes more sense for you to opt for TalkTalk as the Sky TV channels aren’t available on BT whereas if you’ve got a 4K Ultra HD TV you’re probably more likely to select BT as TalkTalk currently don’t offer any 4K Ultra HD content.