I have been with TalkTalk for some time, but on their business service, rather than their domestic one. This meant I missed the boat a year ago, when they handed out free YouView boxes – I bought mine instead.
But this year, they announced that they were merging accounts, and I became a TalkTalk Plus customer last week. I promptly applied for my free box, and after some conflicting information (which I won’t go into here), it arrived along with a new ADSL router.
Now I didnt’t think I needed a new router, but it turns out I do, if I want to make the most of the offer.
What TalkTalk offer on their TV service is:
- Freeview and YouView Catchup, like any other YouView box
- Gift TV – various online box sets, which are essentiall more catchup TV, with some interesting (albeit old) complete US series.
- Multicast TV – not a catchup service but Live “broadcast” TV, over IP. Currently this consists of several different Sky TV packages – as a joining package I get 3 months of Sky 1, Sky 2 and 5 other channels for free
It is this last bit that requires the new router, as Multicast uses IGMP (Internet Group Management Protocol) which is a relatively new standard, and not supported by my Vigor 2800. As a result, I can access all the Catchup Services, but not Multicast.
However, I can’t just swap my router, because I am dependent on the Vigor for work – in that it keeps a constant VPN tunnel going between my home network and my office. Yes, I could get by on desktop clients, but it would be inconvenient.
So this leaves me in a silly quandry. I don’t like Sky as a company, and really I could just accept the new Catchup services, and ignore the Sky Multicast. This will also mean I can access everything from my existing (purchased) YouView box, and put the TalkTalk one in a cupboard as a spare (or sell it). The retail box doesn’t (yet) do Multicast, but it will do everything else.
On the other hand, the Sky service is is free, and I know there is stuff there I will enjoy. On the other hand, it is free only for 3 months, and I am unlikely to keep it after that.
On the other hand (doing my best impression of Tevye the milkman) it is shiny, and Sky won’t be the only people using Multicast in the future.
Anyway, I have currently got a bid in on a newer Vigor router that supports both VPN and IGMP. If I get it at a reasonable price, my Vigor 2800 can become a spare – always good to have for someone so dependent on the net.