Telstra T-Box PVR (preview)
The T-Box shines when used when connected to high-speed Telstra BigPond Internet and has some excellent content available
- Smooth and intuitive interface, super-fast buffering and downloading (on Telstra BigPond cable and ADSL2+), wide range of content on BigPond TV and BigPond Movies on Demand, low initial price
- Requires a BigPond Internet connection to access BigPond online content, new release movie content is slightly expensive
The Telstra T-Box PVR is a viable alternative to the TiVo and other set-top box offerings, and its movies on demand and linear streaming channels provide a compelling value-add option for anyone looking for reasons to switch ISPs to Telstra BigPond. It is only appealing to those with Telstra BigPond Internet, though - users of other ISPs will be unable to access most functions.
Price$ 299.00 (AUD)
Free-to-air TV and IPTV streaming
If you're a Telstra BigPond broadband Internet customer, buying a Telstra T-Box gives you access to seven BigPond TV streaming video 'channels'. These linear IPTV streams cover a large range of content — there is a 24/7 news channel, horse racing, sports news, AFL, NRL, V8 Supercars coverage and a 24/7 music channel. After selecting a channel there is a buffer period of less than five seconds (on a fast connection) and then streaming video is displayed. We watched a 3 megabits per second (Mbps) stream with reasonably good picture quality and only a small amount of artefacting, although a 1Mbps stream of each channel is also available for Telstra BigPond customers with slower Internet connections. All BigPond TV content is unmetered for Telstra BigPond customers, so it won't impact your download cap.
The Telstra T-Box also has two high-definition digital television tuners built in to pick up all the free-to-air digital television channels. A seven-day electronic program guide is delivered to the T-Box via the Internet, with guide data supplied by HWW — the same company that supplies data to Freeview, Foxtel and TiVo. We were pleased to see thumbnail pictures for most programs in the guide, making the interface nice to view and easy to navigate.
BigPond Movies on Demand, BigPond Video and YouTube access
There are more than 1300 titles available for rent from the BigPond Movies on Demand service. The service has a simple interface that relies on navigation via movie genres. New release movies will cost around $5.99 to rent, while older content can be purchased for as little as $3.99. Only DVD-quality video is currently available, although HD video will be added to the library later in the year. Around 2000 titles should be available on the BigPond Movies on Demand service by the end of 2010. Movie downloads are unmetered and after around a minute's buffering we were able to watch a movie without any stuttering or caching problems.
Telstra has also included BigPond Video streaming on the T-Box. This service archives a large amount of content from the BigPond TV IPTV service — so while you can't directly record from BigPond TV, you'll be able to access it later by re-streaming through BigPond Video (which is also unmetered). YouTube can also be accessed through the main menu of the Telstra T-Box. We're happy to see this included, even though it is metered.
The Telstra T-Box is packed full of useful features and can access some quality content, and it has a low initial $299 asking price. You can even bundle it with your Telstra Internet/phone plan with $11 monthly repayments over 24 months. It's only attractive if you're a Telstra BigPond customer, though — otherwise it loses most of its appeal.
Become a fan of GoodGearGuide on Facebook
Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @GoodGearGuide
Stay up to date with the latest reviews. Sign up to GoodGearGuide’s Gear Daily newsletters
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Synology DiskStation DS215j NAS device
- 2 Fitbit Charge wireless activity tracker
- 3 HP Stream 11 laptop
- 4 B&O BeoPlay A2 portable Bluetooth speaker
- 5 Acer Chromebook 11 (CB3-111)
Best Deals on GoodGearGuide
Latest News Articles
- Ghost Linux vulnerability can be exploited through WordPress, other PHP apps
- BT to test 500Mbps broadband over copper in two towns
- The Upload: Your tech news briefing for Friday, January 30
- Military-funded robots can learn by watching YouTube
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.