back to article EE TV: Network snubs 'Auntie's antique' for mobe-happy set-top box

EE is launching a multi-device TV catchup rival to BT, TalkTalk and BSkyB. But it's snubbing both YouView, a BBC-originated TV platform designed for UK catchup-over-broadband operators, and Freeview Connect, the would-be YouView killer. The new service will be free to EE fixed broadband customers – but will cost £9.99 for …

  1. Mullerrad

    why pay

    All of this is free madness

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: why pay

      For the hardware?

      I paid for my NowTV boxes, and they do a great job.

      I only wish that the various tablet remote control apps would allow you to NAME the devices, rather than remembering which one of "NowTV" and "NowTV" is the one the kids are watching downstairs, and which is the one sat in front of you upstairs.

  2. Stretch

    So wait...

    ...there's no content, and they want £10 a month? And you get a crappy white-labelled PVR that won't be as good as your new TVs inbuilt?

    "We didn't want to be constrained by TV thinking, we are mobile people." I read this as, "We did no market research and are totally clueless. And if you have a problem we won't be able to fix it".

    1. dotdavid

      Re: So wait...

      "We didn't want to be constrained by TV thinking, we are mobile people."

      And yet they do the latter so well!

      Wait...

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: So wait...

      Charging more for nothing special? That's mobile thinking.

  3. Ed 11

    Makes me chuckle that in the comparison table, for the EE product, alongside 'Premium sports' it states 'N/A'. That's a 'no' then in anyone else's language.

  4. My-Handle

    How easy would it be...

    What I would like to know is how easy it would be to grab that 1TB hard drive out of the thing and move it to a more useful device. If they send one of those things to me for free (or even for a tenner), I'd be game to give it a try. It'd be a damn sight more useful outside of the box, especially since I don't actually have a TV :)

    1. dotdavid

      Re: How easy would it be...

      I think the tenner is the monthly subscription. Those sort of specs, I wouldn't be surprised if there's a considerable up-front cost (or long contract term).

  5. PipV
    FAIL

    O.F.F.S

    That is all

  6. MJI Silver badge

    Oh is isn't

    The EE I thought it was.

    English Electric

    1. Furbian
      Go

      Re: Oh is isn't

      They could run an ad campaign featuring probably the most famous EE product, the Lightening, and claim their broadband/mobile network is 'Lightening Fast' (as an ex-customer though I can testify that it is NOT), but then who would recognise an EE Lightening in this day and age. I am definitely too old for this...

  7. ukgnome

    So is it just a tenner or a tenner monthly?

    Because £10 for a 1TB drive sounds cheap.

    1. JudeKay (Written by Reg staff)

      A tenner a month, sadly (£9.99, to be precise - but we know our readers never fall for that 1 penny less marketing gimmick). We've updated the article.

  8. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    FAIL

    Is it me or has this got 'Failure' written all over it?

    what with Virgin, Sky and FreeView/FreeSat already entrenched do they really think that this thing has even a remote chance of success?

    And besides, do we really need one more remote to clutter up the sofa?

    1. IanCa

      Re: Is it me or has this got 'Failure' written all over it?

      orange had an equivalent service ready 7 years ago, using the what-was-freeserve-LLU broadband network. I was network consultant on the project. then it got canned just before launch. those in the know seemed to think that management had decided they couldn't compete with sky on the pay content front, the numbers didn't stack up based on free-to-air content. I wonder what has changed?

  9. jaywin

    Designed their own EPG

    You can tell. That thing looks un-navigable from a normal remote control.

    And why does it need two, slightly different, clocks within ten pixels of each other? It looks like it's been thrown together by a graphic designer in Dreamweaver in about fifteen minutes, rather than the result of actually looking at other EPGs and designing something good, usable and quick.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Designed their own EPG

      "And why does it need two, slightly different, clocks within ten pixels of each other?"

      - and a minute apart?

      Seriously, I think the top one is built in to the Android tablet's menu bar, so the EPG doesn't know anything about it. No idea why they disagree about the time though.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe they hope that some people will connect them to large monitors without a TV tuner - no licence fee.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Eh? Of course you need a license fee - it has 4 built in tuners.

    2. Chad H.

      It is not the TV tuner that needs licensing, but your choice to watch a programe as it is broadcast live, whether or not you use a TV tuner, or the live channel player on bbc.co.uk is irrelevant.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

    Why do companies still hang on to traditional broadcast TV?

    With all this crap going back-and-forth around streaming services, I'm surprised no one has actually scrapped the traditional broadcast model and tried to fight Netflix/Hulu/etc on their own turf. I figure they could set up two different modes with their service: a 'playlist mode' that would mimic current TV channels and would stream newly released episodes at their regular time. Then you'd have your 'on-demand' service to be similar to Netflix with the added benefit of being able to view recently released TV shows (rather than the 1-year delay with Netflix).

    This would give many benefits to both ISPs and their customers, such as:

    *More bandwidth available for the last mile since cutting traditional TV would free up a lot of spectrum on the wires

    *lower operational costs for ISP (greatly reduced equipment complexity)

    *ISPs get better data to send to advertisers / production companies get much better ratings info

    *Much better selection for the customer, plus viewers no longer have to worry about DVR'ing shows if they can't see them at the normal broadcast time

    *Cable companies can avoid becoming just a bit-pipe and Netflix eating their lunch.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Why do companies still hang on to traditional broadcast TV?

      You are obviously a youngster then.

      There is a good proportion of the UK population that:-

      1) Wouldn't have a clue about what you are talking about

      2) Want to watch Corrie/Emmerdale/Eastenders/etc at the time it is broadcast

      3) Don't have the internet

      4) couldn't care less about streaming. If it ain't on BBC-1, ITV, BBC-2, CH4 or CH5 is does not exist.

      5) Don't want to spend money for what they see as no good reason.

      For example, my 92yr old Mother.

      What do you propose to do about that?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why do companies still hang on to traditional broadcast TV?

      "*More bandwidth available for the last mile since cutting traditional TV would free up a lot of spectrum on the wires"

      ? Struggling to see how to make sense of that. Help me please.

      1. YetAnotherLocksmith

        Re: Why do companies still hang on to traditional broadcast TV?

        Er, because when all your neighbours are streaming stuff that is available via the airwaves it's a waste of the bandwidth?

        If the set-top box simply records the program at the time is was sent, like, you know, a video recorder would have, then there won't be so much pressure on the internet bandwidth available when it is watched from the local hard disk, rather than streamed in.

        No reason both can't be done, you just have to have a system that is both on and told it should record the show/series.

  12. MR J

    If it's a 12 month contract then this is still a good deal.

    The box doesn't sound that bad, the BT boxes have a retail price of >£200, and a Ebay price of >£90

    So 12 months @ £10 a month for a quad tuner box with catch up, possibly Netflix and Amazon (It would ideally need one or both services to be a Great box) means you could have it for £120.. That's not bad.

    Would I go for this deal, £10 a month for 12 then no doubt. £10 a month for 18m, perhaps (If I get a little something extra)... £10 a month for 24, No way!...

    The extra data on EE does also seem nice, but I have stuck with 3g (T-Mobile) because their "Unlimited" data works out at like £3 a month, FAR slower than EE, but wow so cheap!

    1. MrWibble

      It'll be £10 a month, plus £7.99 for Netflix, and another £7 or whatever for amazon each month.

      Can't see the point myself, prefer to hook up xbmc or something similar for free (plus Netflix charges obviously)

      1. MR J

        So say it is a 2 year long contract.

        £240

        Did your XBMC box cost less than that to build, and is it a lowish power device?

        I am not saying the box is a great solution, just that the price when compared is not bad!

        1. dogged

          Less than £240?

          I should bloody hope so.

          1. YetAnotherLocksmith

            @dogged:

            Thanks, just bought 3 8Gb SD cards for under £20 and got a free trio of RPi's and some other stuff thrown in! Free shipping too. Except they cancelled the order, having spotted their pricing error!

  13. David Austin

    Has potential

    Nothing special for the version 1 product.

    Now, add Slingbox-esque functionality that can punt it out to four family member's phones and tablets while they're out and about, and suddennly, they may be on to something...

    1. P. Lee

      Re: Has potential

      Slingbox - that's handbrake-cli and Apache, isn't it?

  14. John H Woods

    "data boost on your mobile data bucket from 4GB to 10GB"

    I've used 30-50GB per month on my Three mobile for years (at £15/pcm PAYG) without even doing much video, can't see 10GB lasting long. It's only about 5-10 hours of video, surely? I cannot see how the box spec, and the supplied service, are worth anything like the amounts suggested.

    1. Stu 18

      Re: "data boost on your mobile data bucket from 4GB to 10GB"

      What the heck do you do that uses 30-50GB per month without video? Run your company mailserver?

      1. Les Matthew

        Re: "data boost on your mobile data bucket from 4GB to 10GB"

        "What the heck do you do that uses 30-50GB per month without video? Run your company mailserver?"

        Just install two modern games via steam a month.

        Bioshock Ifinite + DLC = 43GB

        XCOM Enemy Unknown + DLC = 20GB

  15. Pan_Handle

    EE - the nPower of the communications world - can't make an app to track mobile data usage

    ... and their customer service is from the seventh circle of hell. I have a 4G contract with them, which I will get out of as soon as I can. YouView largely works (Humax box), and includes ITV and Channel 4.

    Sod off.

    1. MR J

      Re: EE - the nPower of the communications world - can't make an app to track mobile data usage

      I have found the CS a mixed bag.

      It can take you 2-3 days to get through to some one (Literally!), but 9 out of 10 times once you get there they are useless. The other 1 out of 10 times the staff member really seems to care and go above and beyond what is required.

      But I think your correct, If this box is broken, there is no way customers will get any support for it at all.

  16. Alan Brown Silver badge

    There's a perfectly navigable EPG UI already

    It's Freesat's Freetime and it's been available for a while. It kicks the old Freesat/Freeview/Youview EPG UIs into the weeds.

    The Freesat consortium have stated it's not hardware specific and anyone who wants to use it is allowed to do so - and it's been deployed as a frontend for terrestrial as well as satellite material in at least one brand of smartTV

    http://www.freesat.co.uk/get-freesat/freesat-plus-with-freetime

    As for paying a tenner a month for a box that's worth 30 squid at most? I'll pass.

  17. Martin-73 Silver badge

    Err wifi only?

    So what of us people who can't fecking stand the habit of every device that's NOT MOVED being wireless... Just use an ethernet cable. And what's the 9.99 a month for, other than paying for the box?

    1. Julz Bronze badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Err wifi only?

      Cheaper to manufacture without an Ethernet port.

      I agree with you though but this is just Capitalism driving functionality and usability out of commoditised products in the pursuit of lower production costs. Race to the bottom, depressing but as long as people use price as the major buying decision factor, inevitable.

      p.s. I recently bought the most expensive Roku box just to get the Ethernet port, not sure if that makes me bloody minded or stupid...

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