TalkTalk Axes Its Freeview Box For An Android YouView Box

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TalkTalk, the low-cost broadband provider, is saying farewell to its long-running Netgem Freeview Box, opting instead to focus on its Android TV Hub (which supports YouView) for new customers.

Until now, TalkTalk offered two distinct TV boxes to its broadband customers – one based on Freeview, and one based on Android TV.

The Android TV Hub, which has now become the only offering for TalkTalk’s new broadband customers (existing ones will continue to get support for the Netgem Freeview box), represents a change in terms of technology and user experience. 

Equipped with features like Google Assistant for voice control and built-in Chromecast, the Hub offers access to a vast array of streaming services and over 10,000 apps through Google Play, as well as 70 live linear channels.

TalkTalk Android TV Box
TalkTalk’s Android TV Box

But this change also raises an intriguing question: could this be an indicator of the broader future of Freeview (or YouView in this case), as more providers and consumers gravitate towards advanced, app-driven streaming platforms?

Goodbye Freeview, Hello YouView

TalkTalk’s TV boxes are an add-on to TalkTalk’s broadband customers (so you can’t get them if you’re not subscribed to TalkTalk’s broadband).

Launched in December 2021, TalkTalk’s 4K TV Box, developed with Netgem (a different version of it is also available in retail stores), represented a combination of traditional Freeview access and streaming capabilities (In the more distant past, TalkTalk used to offer a YouView box).

TALKTALK 4K TV Box screens
TalkTalk’s 4K Netgem TV Box

For live TV, users needed an aerial connection, and recordings were only possible via an external USB stick.

The Netgem box also included a variety of streaming apps – including Amazon’s Prime Video, Netflix, BBC iPlayer and more. At launch, it cost £4 per month, later increasing to £5 in November 2022.

On top of the payment for the box itself, TalkTalk offered its customers the option to add Sky’s NOW (formerly NOW TV) memberships – Entertainment (TV channels like Sky Atlantic) for £9.99/month, Sky Cinema for £9.99/month and Sky Sports for £34.99/month.

Netgem 4K Freeview box
Netgem’s 4K Freeview box

Then, in 2022, things got somewhat confusing when TalkTalk launched its second TV Hub box – one based on Android TV.

The Android TV box was only available to Full Fibre TalkTalk customers, while the Netgem box remained the option for customers with lower broadband speeds.

This week, things have changed.

Expanding Availability of the Android TV Hub

This week, TalkTalk announced that the Android TV-based TalkTalk TV Hub is now also available to new and existing Fibre 35 and Fibre 65 customers.

The TV Hub boasts access to over 70 live TV channels (if you connect an aerial and have good reception), on-demand players like BBC iPlayer and ITVX, and a myriad of streaming and subscription services, including Netflix, NOW, Prime Video, and Disney+.

Being an Android TV box, customers also get access to the Google Play store, which houses over 10,000 apps, providing users with an unparalleled range of entertainment options.

TalkTalk Android TV Hub £5

The box is equipped with Google Assistant for voice control, allowing users to search across live TV, on-demand, and streaming apps effortlessly.

Additionally, it includes Chromecast support built-in, enabling users to cast content directly to their TV from various devices.

It’s worth noting that the box is based on the ageing YouView platform and not Freeview – therefore, there’s no direct Freeview Play support. 

However, this shouldn’t make a big difference to most users, as most of the UK streaming apps are available via the Google Play store, and the linear channel selection on Freeview and YouView is identical, as long as you have good aerial reception.

Now available to both new and existing Fibre 35 and Fibre 65 customers, as well as Full Fibre customers, the TV Hub is priced at £5 per month, with no long-term commitments.

You don’t get any premium TV subscriptions with this payment though – so the £5/month is basically what you’re paying for the rental of the box itself.

On top of that £5/month for the box, you can add Sky’s NOW subscriptions, and Netflix – at an extra cost.

TalkTalk TV Hub NOW Sports

At the moment, TalkTalk is offering two discount offers:

One Android Box To Rule Them All

Now that the TalkTalk Android TV Hub is available to all customers – TalkTalk confirmed to us that the Netgem Freeview box will no longer be offered to new subscribers.

TalkTalk new 4K TV Box
Netgem on TalkTalk

However, TalkTalk emphasized that the Netgem box will continue to receive support, and existing customers will continue to get the same service levels as before.

TalkTalk’s decision to streamline its TV service offerings by transitioning from the Netgem Freeview Box to the Android TV Hub could lead to less confusion among its customer base.

Simplifying the options available to users and focusing on a more modern, integrated streaming solution reflects TalkTalk’s alignment with current media consumption trends.

But it also points at another recent trend – the move from more traditional Freeview boxes, to a more streaming-focused device – something that may have interesting implications for Freeview’s future.

man watchin streaming tv on tablet

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