Tiscali Tiscali+

Tested at £99

As an affordable alternative to the other players in the market, Tiscali's a great bet - but please, give us HD soon


I am told by Tiscali that I cannot have its TV service in Coventry.Who else cannot get it either ?

All the best Greg.

For those of us with no cable option and not wanting to get a dish and/or make Murdoch any richer a good option for future consideration.

Is there any bandwidth limitation? Does it interfere with broadband?

There's a few things that Tiscali TV - now owned by & rebranded TalkTalk TV - doesn't mention on its website or when you sign up:

1) You need min' 7.5MB broadband DL speed to get decent PQ or watch the HD movies (my DL speed is 5.5MB & the PQ was VERY mediocre).

2) IME, the sound cuts out frequently & without warning.

3) The PVR can't record 2 ADSL-sourced channels simultaneously, only 1 ADSL + a Freeview (ie aerial-sourced) or 2 Freeviews. In turn, nor can you simultaneously watch a prog' from the 'catch-up' library (ADSL-sourced) & record an ADSL-sourced channel.

4) The PVR has a VERY, VERY noisy cooling fan that whirrs away 24/7, even if you're not watching TV but the PVR is on standby/record.

In short, don't waste your time/money.

Completely useless equipment.  I have now got out of my contract as it wasn't fit for purpose.  

I've had three different boxes from Tiscali and they all do the same thing. The box will fail to record and respond if left on standby for more than 3 days.  Tiscali's response is you have to turn it off at the plug every few days so it can rest! Useful if on holiday.  It maybe cheap compared to Sky+ but there's a reason - it doesn't work.

This is a tough one.  There are definitely compromises but you cannot escape the value (particularly if you feel anti Murdoch).  One slight ominous sign, Tiscali UK was bought by TalkTalk earlier this year.  Since then, the option to buy TV as part of the bundle seems to have dropped off the web site.  I suspect TT will put it's effort into Project Canvas (with BT/BBC/ITV) if this gets competition approval - and migrate us green box users.

So let's look at it under three headings:-

1. Value for money

�25 get you Broadband, land line rental AND TV.  This makes it cheaper than Cable/Sky or BT - although the gap is narrowing

2. Content

In simple terms, similar to Virgin entry or a couple of Sky Entertainment packs.  However, it does a few additions to these entry packs.  Sky 1, 2 and 3, FX and Comedy Central Extra.  There are movies on Demand (but no Sky movies).  But the real plus is access to HBO and Warner Bros on demand channels (the Wire, Curb Your Enthusiasm etc) as well as CATCH UP TV (akin to iPlayer, covers BBC and some limited on other channels).  However, the flip side is no plans for HD.  Of course you cannot get Sky Sport.

3. And this is where we get to where the system has challenges.  Picture quality is OK - you spend most of the time on FreeView, only occasionally going to DSL where it is directly related to the broadband speed - mine, under test, is about 2.5Mg/s - which is ok'ish).  The box also is indeed temperamental, but no more so than my old Sky+ unit.  It is a little noisy compared with modern PVR's.  As per one of the commentators below, it does seem to have difficulties recording while on vacation (which indicates a need to re-boot regularly).

So here comes the rub.  If choice of content is key (with HD) you are likely to pay the extra �5 to �30 per month and go for Virgin or Sky.

TalkTalk is a great choice if you are comparing to one of the more basic Virgin or Sky packages, and compares with getting FreeSat (with the former you get some on demand channels, the latter you get BBC HD).  A Freesat+ instillation and box will set you back best part of �200, so payback will be 2 years.  Of course, that is supposing TalkTalk are still selling their TV service!


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