EE has just announced a hardware release aimed at transforming your living room into the centre of your media home. EE TV is a set-top box that not only offers Freeview but also catch-up services and more.
EE is focused on offering an experience for the whole family. This in mind it’s created a box that works not only with mobiles and tablets but with them all at the same time.
But with competition from Virgin Media, Sky and YouView can EE keep up?
The EE TV box comes with 4 HD tuners built-in meaning it's able to transmit live Freeview TV to four devices at once. As long as the mobile or tablet is on the home broadband connection (an EE one) then the signal can be sent over Wi-Fi to other devices.
Watching on different devices isn't just about viewing, users can play, pause and rewind too – all being handled by the central box itself. Four recordings can happen at once meaning everyone, from whatever device, has the full service available. It will work with iOS and Android devices.
Then when one person regains control of the main TV they can simply flick the mobile screen up and it will appear on the TV for full screen viewing.
Catch-up you don't need
The EE TV box has a massive 1TB storage, ideal for recording from the 70 Freeview channels on offer. This means shows can be recorded, paused and rewound. It also means that, technically, you shouldn't need catch-up TV services. It records everything you need.
By selecting 6 favourite channels the box knows to record everything on those for 24-hours. This means if you come home halfway into a show you can simply restart the programme from the beginning. You don't have to have set the show specifically to have recorded.
Online catch-up TV is, of course, available too. Initally the EE TV box will launch with the likes of BBC iPlayer, YouTube and Demand 5. Other names that are missing will, according to EE, be added at a later date.
Thanks to a HTML5 coding system it should be easy enough for services to get their software onto the EE TV box. This should be great for future updates to services and anything new that's added.
While there is a traditional remote with the box it's more about using a mobile or tablet. The complete controls are available within the free app. But more than that a user can check other channels while watching live TV and see a preview on their mobile. This flicking on the mobile won't affect what's shown on the big screen.
The layout of the UI is aimed less at traditional TV and more at the online layout found on websites or mobiles – making it ideal to control from a touchscreen.
Pricing and availability
The EE TV box is worth £300 offline. Though you won't be able to buy it like that, according to EE. The box will only be available to EE customers who subscribe to its broadband services.
The cheapest EE broadband package offers EE TV, weekend calls and 17Mbps internet for £9.95 per month. Fibre internet with weekend calls at 38Mbps is £19.95 and 76Mbps fibre and weekend calls is £29.95 per month. All include the EE TV for free. All prices are not inclusive of line rental though, this'll set you back a further £15.75 per month.
Current EE customers that sign up for EE TV will receive a boost to 4G data allowance anywhere between 10GB and 20GB.