YouView extra channels explored: Getting more from your box
One of the appealing things about the YouView platform is the range of options it offers you.
Not only do you have regular free-to-air HD broadcast channels, you get the corresponding catch-up and red button services, as well as upgrades to enable more channels.
It's here that YouView offers an advantage when you take it from a supporting ISP - TalkTalk or BT - because that opens the gateway to a range of additional TV channels to enhance your viewing experience.
Taking YouView from your ISP
There are three avenues to buying YouView. The first is to walk into a high street retailer, or shop online, and get yourself a YouView set-top box.
Buying direct means you have to pay the full retail price for the box. You then get the basic functions - all your broadcast channels and catch-up services, as well as PVR functions.
The second and third options are to buy from either BT or TalkTalk. Both offer YouView as part of a package with phone and broadband. Taking this route opens the door to a whole world of additional channels.
Cleverly, the YouView EPG has a section for "subscribed" channels, so they're easy to find with a punch of the YouView button on your remote.
YouView from BT
YouView from BT comes it two different packages: Essential and Entertainment. Your subscription means that any broadband data you use watching channels, or catch-up, that comes over the internet won't count against your data cap (if you have one).
The Entertainment package adds to the 70 free-to-air TV and radio channels you'll get from the Essentials package, giving you 20 extra.
You'll pay a little more for it, but then you'll have access to Discovery, Watch, Syfy, MTV, EuroSport and more.
If there are specific types of channels that you want, then BT has a range of "bolt ons". These are priced at £3 a month and you'll be able to add kids channels - such as Disney, Nickelodeon or Cartoonito.
Alternatively there's an HD Extra package, again for £3, that gives you HD versions of various channels - mostly those extras you'd get in the Entertainment package like Discovery HD, MTV HD and EuroSport HD. This is likely to appeal to those with a huge TV who want that extra quality.
These will all appear in your YouView EPG, marked with three blue dots so you know it's an IP (internet protocol) channel.
Movies and music
If it's movies you're after, then you can sign up for the Sky Movies package. You'll get 11 Sky Movies channels for £16 a month.
You can also access on demand movies, from £3.50, through BT Box Office. You'll find the latest movie releases in SD or HD.
Additionally, BT offers its own selection in BT Box Sets and BT Film. Signing up to this £5 package lets gives you unlimited on-demand streaming from these sections.
These latter elements will be accessed through the BT Player in your YouView box, rather than through the YouView EPG itself.
The same applies to music. BT offers a huge range of music videos through BT Music, which you can add for £3 a month.
All these bolt on options are on a month to month basis, so can be cancelled at any point.
BT made a big play for sport, cornering some of the English Premier League football games for BT Sport, as well as offering a wide range of other sports programming, such as the Aviva Premiership rugby through its channels.
BT Sport is free, bringing subscription-free live sport to YouView from BT, as well as through the BT Sport app on your iPhone, iPad or Android device, or browser.
BT Sport consists of SD and HD channels, as well as ESPN, so you have a range of extra sport content available, although some might have to pay £3 a month to get the HD versions.
YouView from TalkTalk
TalkTalk also offer two TV basic packages: Essentials TV and Plus TV. Here, however, you get a different set-top box and the service differs slightly, as the Essentials TV box doesn't do all the PVR functions, like recording.
For TV fans, it will be the Plus TV package that appeals, as this offers the full service with PVR, and from the outset adds seven channels from Sky.
Again you get the full run of free-to-air TV and radio channels that are standard to YouView, before heading off and adding more.
Boosts are similar to BT's bolt ons, but there are a lot more options for adding traditional channels.
There's the TV Starter boost with seven Sky channels that we've already mentioned for £5 a month.
Those channels roll into the other Entertainment Boosts. If you take the Entertainment Boost - giving you 30+ additional channels for £5 a month (down from £10) - you'll get those Sky channels; you'll also get Syfy, MTV, Discovery, Comedy Central and a whole lot more.
Then you have Entertainment Extra Boost. This takes the channels of the Entertainment Boost above, and adds extra channels for kids, and a collection of music channels, both detailed below. This costs £15 a month for 60+ additional channels.
If it's just for the kids, there's a Kids Boost, at £2.50 (down from £5), offering the likes of Disney and Nickelodeon, and you get on demand channels included here too, so you can get what you need to silence the nippers.
Equally, if you just want music to get jiggy to, then there's a Music Boost (£5), full of those MTV channels, Kiss, The Box etc. More music videos than you could shake a stick at.
Finally there are World TV Boosts, from £10. Here you'll be able to choose from African, Arabic, Japanese, Afrikaans channel packages, as well as Boosts to bring you the best of Bollywood and Indian blockbuster movies.
If you're more Hollywood than Bollywood, then TalkTalk also offers a Sky Movies package, like BT, giving you access to 11 Sky Movies channels, here priced at £15 a month.
That's not the only avenue to movies, however. If you'd rather go subscription free, then there's TalkTalk Box Office. This, like BT Box Office, gives you access to blockbuster movies on demand.
If you need Sky Sports in your life, then TalkTalk will let you add Sky Sports 1, 2, 3 ,4 and F1. This isn't an option for BT, but conversely, you don't get BT Sport or ESPN on TalkTalk. The Sky Sports package is £30, so a fairly hefty commitment.
It's worth noting that Boosts can be bought monthly, so if you want to add the Kids Boost for the summer holidays, you can.
Now TV and Sky Store
Aside from those subscription options on YouView, there's access to Now TV and Sky Store. This is a standard feature of the YouView platform, giving you more options for finding movies.
If you have a Now TV Sky Movies Pass (£8.99 a month) you can watch unlimited movie streaming from Sky, with over 800 movies on offer, and 16 new premieres each month.
If you don't fancy taking on the subscription, you can access the Sky Store. This gives you another pay per view movie option, with new releases like Robocop costing £4.49 in SD.
For more information visit: www.youview.com, on Twitter @YouView and Facebook at facebook.com/youview.