back to article Tesco tosses loss-making Blinkbox into TalkTalk's basket

Scandal-smacked Tesco has offloaded loss-making video-on-demand service blinkbox movies along with its fixed line voice and broadband biz to TalkTalk for an undisclosed cash fee. Negotiations between the pair came to light at the end of last year, and this morning TalkTalk said the buy would speed up “key initiatives” it was …

  1. Afflicted.John

    And there goes the market for VoD to Amazon...

    The thought about my VoD streaming through Talk Talk infrastructure fills me with dread. I haven't spent much money on BlinkBox aside form the odd rental but always held that they were home grown, and offered a great alternative to Amazon and iTunes. This basically means the last opposition to them two is heading down the swanny.

    I just responded their their "We're excited!" email to customers with just as much. I feel better about the prospect of throwing money at Amazon now. No "support the locals" philosophy in me any-more...

    1. FartingHippo

      Re: And there goes the market for VoD to Amazon...

      You know TalkTalk is homegrown too, right?

      1. Afflicted.John

        Re: And there goes the market for VoD to Amazon...

        Yes. And they ARE TERRIBLE. You shouldn't really support rubbish just because they are British. Now if PlusNet bought them that would be a different thing...

        In terms of TalkTalk, I supported their install into my Mother's house when she saw an advert fro TV, broadband and phone for about £2 per month (plus line rental). She was promised 9mb and got 3mb which is by an large not enough for an On Demand TV service. The contract was 18 months and they did nothing but pass to foreign call centres and blame BT. While the house is far form an exchange, the resulting speeds literally crippled the service she was paying for and they offered no refund or gestures of good will. She also had 12month Love Film subscription thrown in which no one could activate for her, or knew anything about despite it being on a welcome email. Regardless...the ADSL was not fast enough to provide it.

        And I suggested that this was good value....

        1. Rob Daglish

          Re: And there goes the market for VoD to Amazon...

          I have to say, I think it depends on your local infrastructure - I moved to TalkTalk as they are one of the few companies (the only one?) who don't charge huge amounts extra because I'm not on an LLU exchange. I got ~11Mb down and ~1Mb up reliably, week in, week out, for 12 months. I think we had a line fault once, but I was able to get it sorted via the mobile app fairly quickly, considering all the horror stories I'd heard about them.

          I then got a cracking deal with plusnet,which is basically £75 for a year's phone and broadband, and my speeds have dropped down to ~7Mb/.5Mb, the connection is flaky, unstable and drops about 5% of all packets.

          Amazon Prime and Netflix streamed beautifully over TT, but with PN and the packet loss, we're really struggling...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And there goes the market for VoD to Amazon...

      I've never had any dealings with TalkTalk - would be interested to hear details of the problems you've had with them in the past if you feel like letting off a little steam.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: And there goes the market for VoD to Amazon...

        No need, just look at "worst broadband provider of the year". right there with Orange/EE, & BT.

        To be fair BT have been rock solid for me, but Orange were shit, no worse then shit, there were arrogant and shit. Still remember some tosspot 1st liner telling me how hard VoIP is to implement, even when I told him it was my full time job, the little knob still thought he knew better then me.

        Still the small claims court soon sorted them out.

    3. Irongut Silver badge

      Re: And there goes the market for VoD to Amazon...

      This little comapny called Netflix would like a word with you. Not to mention BBC, ITV and Channel 4 who all have VOD services. I would include 5 but if you've ever used their Flip-book On Demand service you know there's no point.

      Amazon will never take over the VOD market while they have the strange policy of cripling themselves by only offering video on Kindle devices. Among other issues this means no Chromecast.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        5 OD

        I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds their service utter rubbish, I was beginning to think it was our telly.

        as for the 'home-grown' services - who cares anyway??

        All the money gets sent straight to Hollywood anyway.

      2. Darren B 1

        Re: And there goes the market for VoD to Amazon...

        "Amazon will never take over the VOD market while they have the strange policy of cripling themselves by only offering video on Kindle devices"

        If you mean downloadable video through the Prime Instant Video then yes you do need a kindle fire (and then it is not the entire catalogue) , but we watch Amazon Prime Instant Video through our Blu-Ray player or on PC or if needed via the WII U (The is also an app for Android).

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And there goes the market for VoD to Amazon...


        Google Play will never take over the VOD market while they have the strange policy of cripling themselves by only offering video on their own devices. Among other issues this means no AppleTV.

        iTunes will never take over the VOD market while they have the strange policy of cripling themselves by only offering video on Apple devices. Among other issues this means no Chromecast.

        1. Surely, it's a good thing if no single player is able to "take over the market"?

        2. If we can get away from DRM'd video to plain MP4, in the same way that DRM audio fell away to plain MP3, that would be a happy place to be

        3. I guess it's the restrictions from content providers which prevent this today

  2. 0laf Silver badge

    The PITA with Amazon is they they don't offer their service on any other mobile platform other than their own Kindles. Cheap full Windows tablets will help there or you have to jump ship to Netflix. I still like getting physical disks through the Lovefim part of Amazon so I've stuck with them so far. The lack of Android and other support is grating though.

    1. djack

      It was possible to get the instant video service running on other android devices. They published the application via their own store a number of months ago. It was a pain to set up but it did work on my Nexus 10.

      Just tried it again last night and it no longer works (may have had something to do with the Lollipop upgrade).

  3. Tromos

    How many Clubcard points will TalkTalk get?

  4. auburnman

    Eurgh! Can you imagine getting a letter in the post and finding out your internet depended on TalkTalk? Mind you, the people who get their broadband from the supermarket probably aren't the most discerning group.

    1. Adolph Clickbait

      Perhaps they bought them in Tesco vouchers, "double up" ?

    2. Stuart 22

      Hello, I'm on the train - and very, very worried

      I hate Tesco. I never go in their shops. Well I do very occasionally - to collect what I clicked on Tesco Direct which has a great reputation for Moto G discounts. I also have the tenner 1000min/1Gb SIM only deal - 'cos its about the best in the market and with the cap the only safe SIM to take abroad.

      So this anti-Tesco person loves 'em a bit. And, while I completely understand why Tesco is divesting Blinkbox, broadband and landline. I just pray Tesco Mobile doesn't get into the hands of another miserable MVNO. Without TM the rest will become even worse rip-offs. With TM the new management can rebuild from a part of the outfit that does offer value, excellent customer service and a clear billing system. Oh and some clubpoints for more from Tesco Direct.

      My one gripe with TM is the O2 network, but what the hell, sometimes you need a rest from people trying to call you ;-)

      1. deadlift

        Re: Hello, I'm on the train - and very, very worried

        Tesco Mobile is 50% owned by Telefónica, so add that to your worries.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hello, I'm on the train - and very, very worried

        I was informed by a senior manager at Tesco that TM was a "licence to print money", so I don't think it's going anywhere.

        Anon, because - well that should be obvious.

    3. Colin of Rame

      I moved from Phone Coop for Land Line and Freeola for broadband (after 14 years) because I had no phone for 37 days and broadband hardly useable, and neither appeared to want to do anything about it. As TT were the only LLU suppliers at my exchange I did not see how they could do any worse. I have an almost constant 13MB downstream and the only problem I have had, was unable to configure a Sipgate VOIP terminal. That is probably because TT have got ports for this closed, but I cannot be arsed to sort it out. 9 months with TT and cannot fault them.

  5. Snivelling Wretch

    As only an occasional film watcher, the thing I like about Blinkbox is that it is non-subscription. Much like the Blockbuster store. Hope they keep it that way.

  6. Ian 7

    Ultraviolet and Blinkbox

    I asked Blinkbox about 18 months ago whether they'd be supporting Ultraviolet because I have concerns with buying any media I don't physically own from a supplier which may or may not be around in a few years' time. Possibly naively, I assumed that having an Ultraviolet-enabled copy of any film meant that I could keep watching it once Blinkbox had gone down the swanny... Anyway, they replied back along the lines of "We don't currently support Ultraviolent (sic) films and have no plans to in the immediate future. However, we thank you for your custom". Well, on the back of that, the only things I've bought from them were with free vouchers I was given in some deal or other. And the two films I own don't synch voice and image very well (that might just be bad luck on the two films I've got - don't know if anyone else has similar issues?).

    I miss Woolworths... great place to buy cheap, physical media to burn straight to my Plex server!

    1. Tim Almond

      Re: Ultraviolet and Blinkbox

      I've bought almost nothing from Blinkbox (or anyone else) for that reason. I bought The Raid because it was little more than a rental price (and it's highly rewatchable), but you're dependant on others with streaming. If Talk Talk bring the shutters down on the service because they can't make it work, what happens to your film library?

      Plus, blu-rays are cheaper than buying HD streams, better quality and have a load of extras.

      That said, I've enjoyed Blinkbox rentals. Tesco made a service that for me was better than Amazon Instant, and I hope that Talk Talk keep it as good, but they hardly have a good reputation for internet.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ultraviolet and Blinkbox

      We launched Ultraviolet support in the summer. You're welcome.

      1. Ian 7

        Re: Ultraviolet and Blinkbox

        Thanks for the tip - just tried it and it worked. I'm slightly more likely to buy from Blinkbox in future now, at least when it comes to UV-enabled titles (far from all of them).

        Now if you could just sort out your customer service people and publicity department, your company may have a future!

  7. WylieCoyoteUK

    Would be a shame to see Blinkbox go. I only watch films infrequently, but it is nice to have the option to watch one without taking out a monthly subscription to channels filled with loads of American TV carp.

    Because it isn't an all you can eat service, it tends to have a better choice, whereas the sub channels only have some stuff for a limited time. I assume because the royalties are on pay per watch.

    Sky store is apparently similar, but I haven't tried that.

    1. Tim Almond


      Take a look at Google Play. I've bought movies on my phone and streamed them via Chromecast to a TV and they were fine (only a 20" TV, haven't tested it on a larger one). Also offline/online tablet watching.

      Amazon don't just do packages. You can also rent films (not sure if you can without the package).

      There's also Wuaki, but their terms aren't as good as Google. You only get the film for 2 days, where Google give you 30 days to watch, and then you have to watch within 2 days. And their "buy" are actually "rent for 3 years".

      Sky store is fine, but the range is quite limited.

      There's also Knowhow, who I haven't tried on principle as it's run by Dixons/Currys.

      And if you like arthouse stuff, there's Curzon Home Cinema, although I'm personally impressed with the range on Blinkbox.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Alternatives

        Chromecast: "only a 20" TV, haven't tested it on a larger one"

        Generally works well on our 42" display. At best, you'd never know it wasn't off DVD under the telly, although I did have one instance where there was a bizarre fractional second hesitancy every five or six seconds that made watching the content a challenge, and if your broadband (or wider web) is playing up then you may as well not bother. Probably helps that we're on 100 Mb/s VM cable.

  8. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face

    Tried it on the media PC but no support for Linux meant that I went to YouTube movies.

  9. Lallabalalla

    Subscription coming?

    Er hang on. It's currently not a subscription service, and I "own" 3 or 4 seasons of Breaking Bad, Doctor Who and a few other bits n pieces.

    So if TalkTalk (Worst. ISP. Ever) turn this into a subscription service - what happens to the stuff I "own" ... am I going to have to pay again to watch my own property?

    I will never trust digital content, and this is why.

  10. Seanmon


    I like blinkbox - non subscription and generally has more up to date stuff than netflix. One of my 2015 plans was to get rid of TalkTalk, precisely because their shitty broadband offering isn't good enough to support it. G**##*!!

    Oh well. Back to standing in the (non-cabled) street waving £50 notes at passing virgin media vans.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Blinkbox app is currently the only way in the UK of getting UltraViolet movies on to your TV with a Chromecast. Flixster in the UK doesn't have it but in the US does, why? Taking your UV movies between apps and stores is simply great, you can buy from whoever you want and play from whichever service you want. This is a great idea we just need Google Play to jump on board (Amazon are in talks with the UltraViolet consortium) and things will be great for watching your collection whenever and wherever you want.

  12. Arachnoid

    I wonder

    If the deal included the Blinkbox Books service as having the same name but by different venders is going to cause confusion to the market

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020