A Freeview box is normally just a plain old Freeview box, but YouView is a little different. The big selling point of this set-top box is its catch-up and on-demand features. Many smart TVs and Blu-ray players have access to these features but rarely more than one or two any typically just BBC iPlayer.
However, TalkTalk YouView has managed to offer all of the big name services: BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4OD and Demand 5. Furthermore, there is Sky Now TV and Milkshake, a dedicated kid's channel from Channel 5. These are all free except Now TV which as standard costs £15 per month.
See also: BT YouView Humax DTR-T1000 review.
It's worth pointing out that 4OS on YouView is the full on-demand service rather than just seven day catch-up with back catalogues of shows like Peep Show and Green Wing. See also: all digital home reviews.
You can access all of these from an on-demand section of the software but what is a clever new concept is that you can access available shows straight from the electronic programme guide (EPG). You can scroll back through the last seven days of TV and watch any show which is available via catch-up. Simply find a programme with a play icon and it will take you directly to the appropriate player so you can get watching.
Having both these options is great meaning you can use the on-demand apps like you would elsewhere to browse recommended and select favourite shows, but also simply watch things you missed.
All of these services require an internet connection so we were somewhat disappointed to find the TalkTalk YouView box had no Wi-Fi. Instead, the box used a physical ethernet connection which could be a pain, depending on the location of your router. TalkTalk says you need a broadband connection of at least 3Mbps for catch-up so it would be wise to check if yours will be able to handle it.
The YouView EPG is one of the best we've seen. It's big, clear and easy to use showing six channels at once and a period of 90 minutes so you can almost always see what's on next. Although it's easy to use, we did find the YouView box a bit laggy at times having to wait a few seconds to load certain sections.
As well as going back in time, it's also possible to jump forward seven days in the EPG to view upcoming shows and schedule recordings. Skipping forwards and backwards a day is done by pressing the fast-forward and rewind buttons on the remote control. If you get lost you can simply hit green to jump to the present.
Recordings are neatly displayed in the MyView section in Recordings and Scheduled windows. The box helpfully tells you which are yet to be watched and groups series together. You'll have to be wary of the delete key as there's no prompt asking whether you're sure or an undelete function.