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

Telstra Corporation T-Box
  • Telstra Corporation T-Box
  • Telstra Corporation T-Box
  • Telstra Corporation T-Box
  • Expert Rating

    Not yet rated

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?

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.

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

Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Read more on these topics: Telstra, PVR, set-top boxes, home entertainment
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?