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

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews
  • 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

The Telstra T-Box is a personal video recorder (PVR) with a 320GB internal hard drive and two high-definition digital television tuners. The T-Box, due for release later this month, also has access (when connected to the Internet via Telstra's BigPond service) to seven IPTV channels and BigPond Movies on Demand. A smooth and good-looking interface makes the device easy to use without any prior experience, and download speeds are excellent. If you're a Telstra BigPond customer, you're in for a treat. If you're not, the T-Box is far less inviting.

The Telstra T-Box is the telecommunications giant's attempt at bringing its BigPond TV IPTV channels and BigPond Movies on Demand service to your television screen. Connecting to your home network via 10/100MBps Ethernet or 802.11b/g/n wireless, the Telstra T-Box's 320GB hard drive is split up into two segments — you'll be able to use around 200GB for storing recorded free-to-air television, while the other 120GB is devoted to BigPond Movies downloads and caching for BigPond streaming IPTV.

You must have a Telstra BigPond Internet connection to be able to access the BigPond TV and BigPond Movies on Demand content on the Telstra T-Box. If you don't, these features will be unavailable and the T-Box loses most of its appeal.

Telstra T-Box: design and connectivity

The T-Box is quite attractive for a PVR. Its glossy black and brushed black aluminium fascia has only a USB port and a power LED. Head to the rear of the unit and you'll find an antenna jack, Ethernet port, HDMI output and break-out for composite and component analog video connectors. SP/DIF optical audio and stereo RCA analog audio output allows a home theatre system to be connected.

In the retail package of the Telstra T-Box you can expect to find an aerial cable, HDMI cable, break-out analog video cable and Ethernet network cable — everything you'll need to get the T-Box hooked up and running. The unit we tested was connected to a 30 megabit Telstra BigPond cable connection and a Samsung television via HDMI.

Telstra T-Box: interface

The graphical user interface of the Telstra T-Box is one of the best we've seen on a standalone personal video recorder (short of buying a media centre, which allow a huge range of customisation). The interface is vaguely reminiscent of the PlayStation 3's XMB style in that it uses both horizontal and vertical scrolling — after navigating through a vertical list of options in the main menu, you can scroll horizontally to find the specific content you're after. Animations are smooth and the on-screen icons are brightly coloured and easy to read. Menus are also laid out intuitively, and often there is more than one way to access content — one example we saw was the ability to access rented movies via My Rentals the main menu, but also via the rentals option in the BigPond Movies menu.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

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

Katey

1

While I agree that the tbox is fundamentally a good product, there are some issues which are not addressed in this review (and perhaps only identifiable after extended usage).
First and foremost - the remote. To put it simply, it is a cheaply made piece of junk that frequently fails, so that simply turning the volume down (for a particularly loud commercial, for example) is a lengthy exercise involving a great deal more frustration than warranted. I imagine telstra could circumvent this issue by investing slightly more time and energy in to ensuring a quality product, but I don't know... maybe it's much more complex than that.

Secondly, and this is a relatively minor issue; the rentals are quite expensive. I appreciate that we are paying for the convenience of not leaving the house, etc etc etc, but the cost is not really well balanced by the range of movies available and the prescribed viewing period once downloaded.
For example, an old film from the 1980s (we're not talking Kevin Bacon at his footloose finest here, either) will cost around $5-$6 to download. Typically the film is available to the user for 7 days, but once the film is initially played, it is only available to be viewed for the next 48 hours (inclusive). While this might be relative to the costs and borrowing periods of a new release movie, the films available are often NOT new release, and therefore do not deserve to(in my estimation) attract the same premium or stringent viewing period criteria. Indeed, if it were not for the bigpond movies being free (we received a complimentary voucher) I doubt that I would download the movies at all.

Post new comment

Users posting comments agree to the Good Gear Guide comments policy.

Login or register to link comments to your user profile, or you may also post a comment without being logged in.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

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.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

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.

Latest News Articles

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?