back to article TalkTalk's YouView: Why no Wi-Fi?

Better late than never has been a popular analyst response to the UK’s YouView hybrid connected TV platform, and it could equally well apply to the TalkTalk TV service re-launched on the back of that, just as BT Vision has been. It has got some things right, such as bundling the service free with broadband, and allowing …


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  1. mrh2

    There really is some guff in this article....

    "It costs £15 a month for a package providing access to a movie catalog of 600, plus of course the line rental again."

    BS, there's no "line rental" charge for Now TV and Now TV's player is available on all YouView boxes including those from BT and TalkTalk.

    "It will also preclude companion screen applications involving smartphones and tablets, because that requires WiFi connectivity."

    And yet a companion app is already being developed.

    Neither Virgin's TiVo or Sky+ HD include WiFi as standard, one already has a companion screen app, the other is getting one.

  2. stu_ekins

    From the TalkTalk web site:

    "All YouView boxes will be installed by a BrightSpark engineer, *who will also fine tune your home* to ensure optimised broadband performance. "

    Fine tune my home?

    1. kevin king

      "Fine tune my home?"

      its like feng shui for you electrical items.....but watch out of the Dragon of Unhappiness with come out of the toilet and bite you in the arse, over the connectivity speeds

    2. Jonathan White

      It's like Feng Shui, but with more tutting.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The tuning process involves flushing about 600 smoke bombs down the loo and seeing where the leaks are.

  3. Anthony Hegedus Silver badge

    Mistakes here: you don't need wifi on the box to connect to a wifi tablet - assuming the box (like most others) is connected via ethernet cable, a wifi tablet will connect because they're both on the same network.

    And what the heck is Fibre to the Curb? First of all it's "Kerb" not "Curb" (unless you're one of those not-able-to-spell Americans) and secondly it should be "Fibre to the Cabinet" anyway. Actually just checked the article and the author wrote "Fiber" so they must be a yank.

    1. HMB

      Fiber To The Curb

      It's part of a new BT initiative to make the new VDSL2 cabinets really, really tiny. So tiny that kerb stones will be replaced by dark green kerb stones containing all the equipment. It's become necessary in the wake of difficulties with planning permission.

      Conservation groups have argued to have the green kerb stones painted the same colour as the others, but this presents a serious problem then for BT about how to find the new FTTC installations.

      This key technological advance has become possible thanks to VDSL2, which stands for Virtual Digital Subscriber Line and is in fact purely imaginary. This is why it's taking so long to roll out and why BT get confused as to whether you can get it or not.

      1. HMB

        Seriously: All Your Unbundling Are Belong To Us - BT

        Mockery aside, the article errors quite seriously in that there is NO real unbundling of fibre services, here take a look at Talk Talk complaining about it. Ha, Talk Talk complaining, notify Captain Irony.

        Ok, must be serious. The article outlines that even with BT's Virtual Unbundled Local Access (VULA) that ISPs can't even install equipment in the local FTTC exchange. Or I would imagine, link up their existing ADSL LLU Point of network Presence into the FTTC fibre switch gear as any FTTC exchange probably already has an LLU presence.

        I guess this is why almost every FTTC offering barring BT's has an explicit usage limit.

  4. banjomike

    No WiFi?

    That sounds like a really bad move. Nowadays many people regard running cable around the house as only slightly more sophisticated than using totem poles.

    1. mrh2

      Re: No WiFi?

      So use a pair of home plugs or an ethernet to wireless adapter, Amazon have some for £20

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No WiFi?

      slightly more sophisticated than using totem poles.

      haha good troll is good.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        (at trolling)

    3. MrXavia

      Re: No WiFi?

      I have 2 wifi access points, but plan to drill a few holes and run cables in a few weeks.. Why? because WiFi is SLOW, how can I stream HD content reliably over wifi/powerline adapters when I am also recording from a security camera, downloading something over Fibre and having a HD video chat with relatives in another continent?

      WiFi is slow...

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: No WiFi?

        I've visited a few friends in houses and flats built that were built in the last few years... amazed that CAT-6 cable isn't run between rooms as a matter of course. Before the walls are plastered, it would be so cheap and easy.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Isn't TalkTalk a Huawei box now?

    Note to service providers - do learn from recent moves by some that if i can browse your catalogue before I pay I am more likely to pay. Odd that.

    Note to content providers - if you only licence old series and old content then you drive away people once you have them on a legal platform. Own goal there really. I've seen series one of something I've not seen or heard of before - now lets look for series 2,3,4 somewhere else.


      I think your second point answered your first.

  6. mrh2

    Here you go:

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    " 11 million homes are now passed by its BT Infinity Fiber To The Curb (FTTC) offering speeds up to 80 Mbps."

    Fiber? Curb? Did we suddenly move to the US?

    FTTC = Fibre To The CABINET surely?

    Sad to see a tech writer that cant get these simple spellings and common acronyms right.


      While we're talking acronyms, what's an MSO?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        MicroSoft Orifice

      2. TonyHoyle

        I expect in the context, they mean a BT MSO which is a major service outage.

        Another fun one is MBORC (matters beyond our reasonable control) - this is a get out of jail free card for BT, hence after any inclement weather they immediately declare it across the entire country.

      3. Joseph Lord

        MSO == Multi Service Operator

        Phone + Broadband + TV (typically). Basically Telcos and Cable companies although Sky probably counts these days.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      " 11 million homes are now passed by its BT Infinity Fiber To The Curb (FTTC) offering speeds up to 80 Mbps."

      Passed being the word here, not connected, just passed.

      My parents got all the sales blurb about it, they rang to sign up.

      when asked about not having BB before because the engineer measured over 4KM between them and the exchange (past their house to the village exchange then back to it) the sales person called a supervisor....who called engineering....who appologisd for BT sending them hopes of anything more than their current dial-up

  8. jaycee331

    Wi-Fi is flakey

    I think people are failing to consider why Wi-Fi may not be supported yet.

    Do we need a brief lesson in Wifi?

    So the most common is 801.g 54Mb. That 54Mb isn't per connected device, it's shared across all connected devices. It's a half-duplex medium also meaning you can half that figure straight away. The highest rate any one device can achieve in the real world is around 20Mb. And that's assuming that Wifi is 100% clean and not also being shared with your Xbox, PC, Tablet, Smartphone etc for any serious use at the same time.

    Now remember there are only 3 non-overlapping WiFi channels, yet in my street that are about 8 AP's in range. Every other AP on the same channel as mine eats into that shared 54mb of radio space even more. And that's without even considering high error correction overheads to co-exist in the same space as others.

    Sure 20Mb is going to be fine for standard def streaming, but it's getting close for HD. WiFi is inherently an un-assured technology and subject to all kinds of operating conditions and interference.

    It's well known that in the age of 40mb and 80Mb FTTC broadband, 802.1g 54Mb Wifi is now a bottleneck.

    None of these issues occur on a 100Mb piece of Ethernet cable connected to a full duplex switch port.

    Based on that, it occurs to me that YouView do not yet wish to risk having their brand tarnished by floods of support calls about chopping and buffering video etc because the end user has a poor WiFi setup. Even if they sent an engineer out to optimise everything, there is nothing to stop a neighbour standing up a new AP the very next day on the same channel wiping out that finely tuned setup.

    As for Wireless N-150 or N-300 these are indeed a solution. Unfortunately for me I upgraded my router and several devices to Wireless N last year and for the life in me I cannot get anything to connect above 54Mb. I'm not sure if it's due to vendor mix of not quite standards compliant devices or that it's because I'm using the 2.4Ghz Wireless N so presumably there is simply not enough channel space left in there after all the other AP's in the neighbourhood have taken their slice.

    Or, I as tried in vain to explain to my employer about 10 years ago when they started rolling out WiFi as some kind of utopia, you cannot guaranete thin air, and without very expensive tools you can't troubleshoot it either.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wi-Fi is flakey

      This is exactly the reason; TalkTalk can't guarantee the performance of the service if it's going over your home wifi network and don't have the resources to take calls from thousands of people who happen to have a wall in the wrong place, or a blender switched on at the wrong time.

      I'd have thought that was obvious to anyone with a modicum of knowledge about (or about 20 minutes research into) WiFi technology. What a strange article this is. Fibre to the curb indeed!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wi-Fi is flakey

        To get iPlayer et al on my Humax PVR, I had to place a metre-long USB extension cable between it and its wireless dongle, since the TV and PVR are nestled in a corner. Works fine if the dongle is placed on the coffee table!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some corrections needed

    Talktalk's Plus TV package is £29.00 per month. If you pay the line rental upfront for £114, you then pay the equivilent line rental of only £9.50 per month - making the package the equivilent of £19.50 per month.

    BT's £10.75 line rental is the same although you pay more upfront, naturally.

    WiFi isn't supported because explaining to average Joe that having more wireless devices on WiFi reduces bandwidth is beyond difficult.

    BT Vision has around 400,000 subscribers. TalkTalk TV (aka Tiscali TV/Homechoice) has around 20,000 subscribers - there hasn't been any provision for new subscribers to join for several years. It has been a 'run as it is service'.

    BT charge £49.95 for the YouView box with an optional £35 ontop if you want an engineer to install it.

    (Routers are charged at £6.95 for postage and packaging).

    TalkTalk charge £50 for the engineer installation, router free, Youview box free.

    What you have failed to mention is that Talktalk/Youview requires 3mbs minimum for the Video on Demand stuff, thats your iplayers etc.

    5mbs+ gives you access to the TalkTalk Player which allows the Boosts for Sky Moves/Sports you touched on.

    I work for one of the ISP's mentioned, and the reason for this post is to help correct the article, 'cos for some unknown reason I don't want my staff having to explain to Joe Public that some parts of the article are incorrect.

    The Humax boxes are quicker than the Huawei boxes, however with each weekly update the Huawei boxes are catching up.

    Anon for obvious reasons.

  10. Furbian

    Humax box?

    Good luck with that, I bought their 'flagship' Foxsat-HDR 500GB, hoping not to pay Sky+ £10 a month for scheduling.

    It's slow as hell, the remote is awful (badly layout and often unresponsive), and worst of all, it messes up most scheduled recordings by cutting their ends off! Add padding and it often records 15 minutes of the previous programme and then doesn't quite get enough of the one you wanted recorded. Common problem apparently, that my Sky+ barely suffered from, i.e. maybe once in a number of years.

    Firmware updates are few and far between, and haven't fixed any of the problems inherent with this device.

    Oh and their tech support doesn't answer e-mails either.

    Gory details...

    Until there are more HD channels and there's some decent (any?) Sci-Fi on, I'm not interested in these offerings,

    In contrast, oddly enough TalkTalk's diminutive Huawei Echo Life Router/Modem is not bad, good wi-fi range, and just works well, apart from the almost mandatory reset once a wee when it 'jams'.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Humax box?

      Scheduled recordings depend entirely on the stations in question supplying the right info in their guide. If they don't update the guide in realtime, you don't get the all the programme.

      I've got a Humax Freeview box and I can't say I'm displeased with it. The UI seems responsive and I don't know about the Foxsat but with the Freeview box you can add as much padding as possible then edit recordings to cut off the start and finish of the recordings (previous programmes or adverts).

      If stations don't update their guides properly then there's little more magic that the box can do to make it work. Sky have obviously decided that updating their guide is worth it because people will be willing to pay for it.


      Re: Humax box?

      A little research would throw up a hundred positive experiences with the Foxsat, compared to your negative one.

      The remote is fine, as is its responsiveness - once you remove the extra bit of clear protective tape on the INSIDE of the box flap, covering the IR receiver!

      It can be slow to delete programmes and to bring up the media page of recorded items when it has a full disk full of stuff, but it is fast in changing channels and in all other respects.

      And, although the Fox sat isn't perfect, when you compare it to the other satellite boxes available from massive players like Samsung and Sony, and all the others, it still comes out ahead.

      And it's had at least half a dozen updates in the last year and a half. It doesn't need that many, or updates that are that large these days because it's a mature product.

      It's also reached its EOL, thugh., and you really want to look at the new <free time> box from Humax if our want to compare it with Sky's current device.

      Plus, add in Raydon's firmware on the Fox sat and you have a very versatile little free satellite receiver, media server, etc. And one that's going to come down in price as Humax transition over to their <free time> one.

  11. Wize

    My main bugbear about set top boxes.

    In the days of video, you could record in one room and watch in another. You could go off to bed and watch the film you recorded. Now you have to watch it in the same room. The media is not portable. Even if you have the likes of Sky multiroom, you are tied to the recording room.

    Any chance the companies could get together and let you stream to other rooms?

    1. Joseph Lord

      Re: My main bugbear about set top boxes.

      MythTV and a TV/Blu-ray or PS3 that supports UPNP/DLNA. Or there is probably a Raspberry Pi build that will do it.

    2. rhydian

      Re: My main bugbear about set top boxes.

      Raydon's software update for the Humax foxsat HDR lets you load up the mediatomb DLNA media seriver and you can then stream recorded videos over your network (apart from HD, as it seems to be copy protected).

  12. Mage Silver badge

    absence of WiFi connectivity

    Because it's a horror story to support.

    I worked in an ISP doing cable broadband. I argued that since unlike DSL people can't buy their own Router, the modem should JUST be a Modem and then people buy their own router with whatever flavour of WiFi they want.

    You'll find very very few TVs or setboxes with WiFi. Especially ones sold by people that might have to support it for "free". Ethernet is far more reliable and needs little support.

  13. MrXavia
    Thumb Down

    Pay for TV? yes I do actually, it is called a TV License, and for that I get the reasonably good BBC.....

    I won't be paying for catchup, my TV already does iPlayer and ITV PLayer (not that there is anything worth catching up on for ITV)

    What is needed is one catch up TV app for each TV brand... (or maybe get a smart tv app standard out there??? Nah never happen)

  14. takuhii
    Thumb Down

    My issue with the service is that you still need a Freeview aerial to receive the channels. I live in Milton Keynes, not a lot of the house in MK have TV Aerials, we were given analog cable as standard, so for me to use this, I need to have an aerial installed.

    I currently use Freesat :/

  15. b166er

    As if TalkTalk are trying to steal VM/$ky customers.

    Those who pay for a $ky or Virgin Media subscription, are obviously comfortable spending a few bob for their telly, so why the hell would they want to put themselves through the hell of dealing with TalkTalk for the sake of saving a measly few quid?

    TalkTalk, of course, once again, voted worst network and phone provider. For six quarters in a row, TalkTalk have been the worst and Virgin Media the best, so if anything, people would be moving from TalkTalk TO Virgin Media, not the other way around.

    If folk don't realise TalkTalk is the bottom end by now, then hell mend them.

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