The first YouView box launched in July with a hefty price tag, but TalkTalk and BT are now offering a free box as part of their TV, broadband and phone bundles – but would the deals leave you worse off than if you bought the box yourself, subscription-free?
Following the long-awaited, oft-delayed, and drawn-out launch of YouView at the end of July, we finally got our hands on the Humax DTR-T1000 YouView box.
For more information read our YouView explained guide, but for a look at the best way of getting YouView carry on reading.
YouView’s here, but it’s a work in progress
Overall, the YouView EPG (electronic program guide) does a good job of bringing together the live Freeview and Freeview HD channels, catch-up TV and on-demand services (such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD, and Demand 5). The Humax YouView box is a well-made piece of kit too, something we’ve generally come to expect from Humax, but both the box and the interface are not without its faults as we covered in our YouView review.
BT, which offers the Humax box, has informed us that updates are planned over the next few weeks and in early 2013 to address some of these niggles, such as needing fewer clicks to access library recordings, reducing the boot time, and adding a skip function for jumping through a recording.
YouView options compared
While you can buy the Humax YouView box on its own it is pricey – costing at least £279.95. BT and TalkTalk are offering it free as part of their broadband, phone and TV packages – but you will have to sign up to at least an 18 month contract.
The difference between the cheapest 500GB Humax YouView box and the cheapest total cost of a TV bundle that includes a free YouView box is around £292. This means to use the YouView box you would need to get a broadband and line rental package that costs less than £16.25 a month to save money. We would also recommend that you get a package with unlimited downloads to avoid any nasty surprises on your bill, as the catch-up TV and on-demand services will use your internet connection and a lot of data.
It’s worth calculating your ongoing broadband and line rental and comparing the costs and benefits with those packages offered by BT and TalkTalk. One benefit of a provider is the added exclusive content from BT Vision or TalkTalk Player and YouView usage is also included in their broadband packages.
YouView: Other costs and considerations
As well as the box and broadband connection – which is recommended to be at least 3Mb/s (megabits per second) – you will also need a strong digital signal from your aerial and a cable connection to your broadband connection. If your TV is within 2 metres of your broadband connection this won’t be a problem and you will be able to easily hook it up to the internet using the supplied ethernet cable – but if its further you may have to invest in a longer cable or power line adaptors (PLA) to get it connected.
You can buy a set of PLAs bundled with the box direct from Humax, or if you’re buying it through BT you get a pair free. TalkTalk on the other hand sell them at a reduced price.
If you’re worried your internet connection won’t be fast enough read our guide on increasing your broadband speed.
If you want one in time for Christmas, you’ll have to wait a few weeks for it to be setup with a TV provider. However, there’s no delay if you buy the box outright, it’s subscription-free without a new long contract, and there’s no mucking about with switching providers.
For a run-down of all the details of each option see the table below.
|Standalone box – no TV subscription||BT||TalkTalk|
|Cost:*||RRP £279.95 (500GB)||RRP £329.95 (1TB)||£628.05 (over 18 months).
Reduced to £571.05 if you choose BT’s ‘Line Rental Saver’
(£129 for 12 months, doesn’t include paying line rental in advance again after 12 months.)
|£572 (over 18 months)
Reduced to £482 if you choose TalkTalk’s ‘Value Line rental’
(£114 for 12 months, doesn’t include paying line rental in advance again after 12 months).
|Other cost and package details:*||Does not include the cost of a broadband package (requiring a landline) which is required to access the service.||£49 activation fee, £6.95 delivery charge, TV Essentials package (£5 pm, minimum 12 months), Standard broadband (£13 pm), Standard line rental, Evening & Weekend Calls, (£15.45pm).||Plus TV, Broadband and Telephone package (£14.50 pm),
line rental (£14.50 pm),
£50 one-off setup fee.
|Minimum contract required:*||n/a||18 months
(12 months for TV Essentials)
|Set-top-box provided:||Humax DTR-T1000 (500GB)||Humax DTR-T1000 (1TB)||Humax DTR-T1000 (500GB) (free)||Huawei DN370T (320GB) (free)|
|Recording capacity (SD-quality Freeview TV):||Humax state upto 300 hours
(approx 125 hrs of HD)
|Humax state upto 500 hours
(approx 250 hrs of HD)
|BT state upto 250 hours||TalkTalk state 200+ hours|
|Additional details:||n/a||It’s the same as the Humax box, but has access to exclusive BT Vision player content via BT broadband connection.||Smaller and quieter box. Access to TalkTalk Player. No HD content or on-demand content for Sky channels. Free 12 month subscription to LOVEFiLM Instant for unlimited films and TV streaming.|
|Powerline adapters (PLA) included?*||Not as standard – available as a separate purchase (RRP £80) or as a bundle from Humax direct (£319 for DTR-T1000 + 2xPLAs)||Not as standard – available as a separate purchase (RRP £80) or as a bundle from Humax direct (£339 for DTR-T1000 + 2xPLAs)||Yes (included with ‘activation fee’)||No (available from TalkTalk for £35)|
|Requirements:*||Active broadband connection, and must be in an area that can receive a connection speed of 3Mbps or more.||Must be in an area that can receive a broadband connection speed of 3Mbps or more. Requires a BT Vision TV package, which also requires a BT Broadband and Telephone package.||Must be in an area that can receive a broadband connection speed of 5Mbps or more. Requires a TalkTalk Plus TV, Broadband and Telephone package.|
|Available to existing customers? :||n/a||Existing BT Vision customers out of contract are subject to renewing their contract and must pay £49 for the box + £6.95 delivery fee (no activation charge). Those still in a BT Vision contract can get a YouView box for £299.||Existing Plus customers can get a YouView box, but they’re subject to 24 month contract.|
- Based on standard advertised prices.
TalkTalk: from 17/10/2012.
BT: from 05/01/2013 when BT increases its prices. Prices before then are £4 TV Essentials, £13 Standard broadband, £14.60 Standard line rental.
- Assumes you are a new customer and does not include any introductory offers, line rental discount, other activation/installation fees not stated, or call charges. See bt.com and talktalk.co.uk for full pricing information.
- Based on provider’s minimum requirements:
BT: 18 month Broadband & Calls contract, 12 month TV contract, and assumes you do not subscribe to a TV service after 12 months.
TalkTalk: 18 months and assumes you do not subscribe to a TV Boosts service during that time, a £200 charge applies for your YouView TV box if you leave in your minimum term.
- Requires a broadband connection and landline.
- Prices correct as of October 2012.
What makes a Best Buy PVR?
We’ve tested the Humax box hot off the shelves before any updates and only have initial impressions of the Huawei DN370T box offered by TalkTalk.
Before Which? can recommend any product we have to put it through our rigorous test program. For more information read our how we test PVRs page or watch the video below.
- YouView explained – find out more about the catch-up TV service
- YouView review – see how it performed in our lab tests
- How to buy the best PVR – advice on choosing the right PVR for you