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

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  • User Reviews (63)
  • Buy Now 2
Telstra Corporation Ltd T-Box
  • Telstra Corporation Ltd T-Box
  • Telstra Corporation Ltd T-Box
  • Telstra Corporation Ltd T-Box

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Requires a BigPond Internet connection to access BigPond online content, new release movie content is slightly expensive

Bottom Line

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.

Would you buy this?

  • Buy now (Selling at 2 stores)

  • TELSTRA 3G WiFi Broadband Pre Paid 39.00
See all prices

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.

Conclusion

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.

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Read more on these topics: PVR, home entertainment, Telstra, set-top boxes

Marni Spicer

1

I would just like to say that I have recently had the displeasure of getting a telstra t box. I have now had it for about 2 weeks, and when I first tried to download a movie it told me that my television (which is only a few years old) was not capable of downloading and watching the movie through a HDMI lead, so I then had to connect it with the AV leads, which then of course displayed a much lower resolution image. Apart from the fact that every time I want to use this function I need to disconnect teh HDMI leads and connect the unsightly AV leads. I have also set the T Box to record some programs and each time it misses the ending, which was most frustrating. I also find the menu system extremely frustrating, if you are seconds away from wanting to watch a particular program it will not just play the channel but it will tell you that the program has not started yet, and would you like a reminder...(no I bloody well do not, I just want to watch the god damn thing). The menu makes it extremely difficult to see what's on at what time, it's crowded with mostly inappropriate imagery and gives you a rubbish view of the over all programme giude.
So all in all when I received the T Box, it looks like a piece of junk, feels like a piece of junk and IS a piece of junk. I would definitely recommend looking into an alternative solution such as SKY or cable. Unfortunately I am now tied into a contract and have no option to get out of it.....so I will just have to wait another 2 weeks for a new T Box because the piece of s---t one that I have got now has broken down and they need to send me a new one. Joy of joys!

Dave Johnston

2

The T Box is an absolute lemon. Every PVR I have ever seen leaves it for dead. The remote has limited options, and skipping ads on recorded shows is difficult. So very Sssllloooowwwww, if your in a hurry to catch something epxpect to miss the first few minutes. Always going into sleep mode is annoying.
And extra content? if you like footy & motorsport (which I don't) I'm sure its great, but even with the best internet speed I can get its stop start all the time.
AND, they said I would get it for free...what a scam, I'm paying it off over years as a hidden charge.
Good try Telstra, but its only a money spinner, not anything else.

Shaun

3

We like the TBox when it is working! We had a lot of trouble early and made many calls to support which did not solve the problems. They finally replaced the modem and we are enjoying it. It is easy to record with and they have some good movies to watch.

John Morrison

4

Please who ever reads this under no circumstance get one of these T Boxes in short they are crap,do not fall into any sales pitch by any one from Telstra.You will be greatly disappointed by the product.

Craig Johnson

5

DO NOT BUY THIS PRODUCT!
The T-box is certainly a lemon. It's a nice concept, and is great when it works. The problem is that it rarely works.
I'm on my second t-box, and am looking at returning it. The first one kept on losing the remote control settings (requiring a reset twice a day). The current one crashes after about 2 hrs - and you only find out when you go to change the channel.

Graham Drever

6

DON'T BUY
Bought this thing last year thinking we would have access to extra channels and on-line movies with the benefit of a hard drive recorder to boot.
The move from Optus (been with them trouble free for many years on cable) to Telstra was a bit of a pain and expense as we needed trenches dug and lines laid through the middle of our front yard. Then we discover Telsras ADSL2 did not have enough power to run the "free" chanels nor play hired movies. Our internet speed was around 25% of what we had with Optus. The T box regularly turns itself off. We often lose the tail end of a recording.
We managed to get out of the contract and went back to Optus which was even more hassle! OK at least we were left with a hard drive recorder. Then the remote packed it in and when I rang the help line (it has a 2 year g'tee)in the Philppines I was told they couldn't help me because I was not a Telstra customer!!!! Called in to the local Telstra shop who gave me a replacement remote.

Bec

7

I'm on my 5th t-box, and have had countless remotes. The first one I got didn't even turn on and have had different problems with all of them. I've just called to have this one taken and not replaced. I love the recording feature and that's about it, when scrolling through channels it skips, watching bigpond movies they stutter. I've had them turn themselves off randomly, remotes had to be held 30cm away to get them to work, had one freeze and when I reset it to factory it froze in the start up menu. The scheduled recordings always miss the end of the shows. And you can't record or watch recordings when the hard drive is doing whatever it does at the most inoptune moments

jacko

8

I've had the T-Box for two weeks now and it rocks!!! My internet is superfast which gives me fast downloads and streaming each and everyday. The better movies are dearer that renting from the local video store but I guess the convenience of not having to jump in the car makes it worth it. The only gripe I had was the remote control was a dud from new which stopped me from setting it up properly, but a quick trip to the nearest Telstra shop supplied me with another one for free which solved the problem.

A.Gregory

9

We have had our T.Box for almost four months and have had heapppsss of problems with it!!
The remote had to be replaced after the first month, then the T.Box needed replacing, we are one week into our second and having the same problems as with the first, only now it misses the ends of movies when recording! Had sky the went with T.Box cos the Telstra sales guy said it was better and would be free but when our 3rd bill came through they had started charging us for it, he also told us we could get the sky channels with the T.Box at extra charge but when we rung to arrange it they told us you cant. Not happy with the T.Box so far....

Shannon

10

I don't know who picks the music played on Bpm, most of it is crap. Friday and Saturday nights you say is party music, who for? I don't know half of it. Shouldn't party music be popular music. Get your $h;t together guys. No point having a party if the music isn't up to scratch. For instance on right now is the worst song I've ever heard. Hold the line by Major lazer. Don't play that crap again.

Beck

11

Yes I agree with Shannon on the comment above. bpm is lacking good songs. More people should speak up of you agree.

Jshannow

12

Really? Really? Did you use it or just use the words Telstra gave you. Everyone
I know who has one, including us, has had nothing but trouble. Do not buy.

Clever Girl

13

I have a TBox no complaints it is fantastic I've had it for over 1 year. Simple to use set up was easy it is connected to WiFi - main thing is make sure it is connected properly. I'm a female so if I can set up TBox anyone can do it-not that I'm putting us females down but many of us are not Tech savvy. Just commonsense if there is a problem ring TBox they are very obliging in Customer Service.

Antony Craven

14

How can I connect my T box via the wireless 3G net work . I don't wish to use ADSL 2 or cable as I am in rental accomadation for 4 weeks.

shannon b

15

I lost my AV cable for my tbox and you can't but them from Telstra... Does anyone have one I can buy?!
tick_the_box@hotmail.com

Maree Hart

16

Thanks everybody for your coments Telstra alsmot had us sucked in for the T box a fool and his money is easly parted.
Maree

Robert Trevisan

17

I have had my Tbox for two days now . It is workiking one minute the terrible the next . Freezing all the time and sound goes off and on . I went to watch a bigpond movie and had to turn it off because i was so angry with the sound and the speed , What a load of rubbish

Malcolm Carson

18

Well.
We've had the TBOX from original starters.
Took about 5 to get it right over a coupla yrs. and one new Controller since.
But for the last yr or so. Sweet as.
Does everything at speed.
and the reason the recordings miss the end of program being recorded. Blame the Channels NOT Telstra.
They just set recording times to those published by Stations (7\9\10 etc.)

But when have you ever had a prog finish on time. They sometimes 20 min's and more over stated time.
To rectify. Just go into recordings, and set finish times to suit. 10\20 min's over. Easy.

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Stirling

0.0

1

Pros
Makes a good pinata.
Cons
Just seeing it on my shelf makes me angry
• • •

one of the worst products of any kind that I have ever used. If your thinking of buying this read the following statement very carefully, DO NOT BUT THE T-BOX. It is nothing but trouble and doesn't work at all as it is advertised. The people who give this product positive reviews do not understand what they are missing. Sure it records shows and lets you pause live TV. But in the 21st century those things are common place. This is the worst DVR ever designed and no matter how telstra cuts it, it's still a piece of trash. I would honestly give it away if I actualy managed to find someone foolish enough to adopt such an occursed pile of worthless components.

BoboboWorld

0.0

2

Pros
Easy To use
Cons
Can't record foxtel, records scheduled programs at wrong time slots.
• • •

It's ok, works ok. But BAD overall. I'll explain:
Problems I'm having is that it records shows at the wrong times (shows that are scheduled to start at 7pm for example, starts recording at weird times and then I only get half the show).
MAJOR problem I have is that you can't actually record foxtel channels on the TBOX!!! OUTRAGEOUS!
Thus it's like we're going back to the stone age with this one.
If you want foxtel, just get foxtel. Don't bother with this.
Get your act together Telstra.

Albert

0.0

3

Pros
Nothing
Cons
Everything
• • •

This is an actual letter I sent to Telstra. You be your own judge:
I have been having constant problems with my 3rd replaced T-Box. I am pretty sure I am not the only one with the same problems. Why is it so difficult to listen and fix those problems? For such a huge company it is a shame to have an absolute rubbish of a product. When I contact T-box support in India, they take me thru the same process of resetting everything, deleting all my content, and two days later I get the same problems and the same Indian with American accent tells me to reset my freaking T-box. I am starting to develop a phobia to the T-box, seating in front of the TV and thinking OK this stupid thing is going to switch off any second now and the remote control will disconnect and the show that I recorded will be cut short because the dam thing didn’t record the whole show. I am now in the process of getting another replacement and the T-box support people want me to send my T-box to them first for review and they will get back to me in 21 days… Now what am I suppose to do? Not watch TV at all now while the dam thing is getting checked. TELSTRA wake up to yourself, if you don’t have mobile technicians then at least have the new T-box sent out 1st before I send you my old crap. I need you to call India and tell them it’s OK to send me a new T-box before I send them the faulty one back… PLEASE

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