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16 Aug 2010
By Michael Lewis
Aug
16
2010

Telstra T-Box. BigPond finds another use

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UPDATE: There’s an important software update for the T-Box. Check it out here: T-Box introduces new free features including Apps and Weather.

I was invited to test drive the new Telstra T-Box. Having seen one in passing at the local Telstra Shop, my initial reaction was:  ‘not for me thanks – already have FOXTEL at home’.

Then I thought: ‘why not give it a go – after all not everyone has FOXTEL, and the reports I have read are quite positive’.

So, here is my review – I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

The promise

Here’s Telstra T-Box. Now one exciting device is all you need to integrate internet and free to air entertainment and information, so you can watch what you want, when you want, on your TV”(from the T-Box sales brochure).

Now I am intrigued. What is this T-Box and how is it going to integrate my BigPond, free-to-air TV and other things on my TV screen? And more importantly, what is it going to do to my monthly internet usage allowance?

Before you set up your T-Box

Setting up the T-Box is simple. Before you start, make sure you have the following:

  1. An eligible BigPond broadband connection
  2. Wi-Fi (if your TV and BigPond modem are not close by) or Ethernet connection to your BigPond broadband service
  3. An external TV Antenna (digital)
  4. TV (preferably HD Ready or full HD TV)
  5. Credit/Debit card details (for BigPond Movies sign up)
  6. About 10 – 15 minutes

Menu

Seeing the setup menu in action really evokes the “wow” factor. When the T-Box searches for the free-to-air stations, I admit I had a grin on my face. It was a good show – dropping the stations in one by one. If you are already connected to the internet, BigPond TV stations will also be included in the TV Programme Guide.

All reviews I have read on the T-Box echo my thoughts that this menu system is second to none.

Navigation through the menu is performed via the remote control (yes that’s right, another one…..)

Security

The T-Box offers two levels of security – one covers your movie rentals and most of the other content is covered by parental control. Both of these are important, and you must remember to keep these PINs in a safe place.

Register your T-Box.

Registration allows you to get the full benefit from your T-Box. Make sure your computer is connected to the internet, and follow the prompts at telstra.com/boxsetup. During this process you will be able to join up with BigPond Movies.

So what does your T-Box give you?

Through your BigPond Broadband connection, you will receive the following UNMETERED stations:

  • BigPond News
  • BigPond Racing (TVN)
  • BigPond Sports News
  • BigPond Footy (AFL)
  • BigPond League (NRL)
  • BigPond V8
  • BigPond Music Channel

All of these stations, over your BigPond connection, and NO impact on your monthly usage!

You can also get BigPond Videos – BigPond’s video-on-demand service. Access thousands of videos whenever the mood hits you. Forget about waiting for session times. You chose the video, the starting time, and how you watch it (quarter screen vs full screen).

Video categories include Sport, News and Entertainment. On-screen prompts allow you to set the features – e.g. full screen, quarter screen (while you browse other videos to watch) etc. The number of videos in the catalogue is growing, so there is always something to watch.

And to top it off, BigPond Videos and BigPond Movies are also UNMETERED. This means you do not pay for the data used to download these movies or TV shows — just the rental fee associated with them. (This is where your credit / debit card is required).

Once again the menu system is great

T-Box main menu

An advantage of being connected to the internet is that you can access YouTube on your TV.  A word of warning – this content is METERED, meaning it will contribute to your monthly BigPond data usage allowance. This is probably a good place to use the Parent Control feature! Given the wide variety of content on YouTube, you can block any inappropriate content using YouTube filtering or block the whole application using the parental control feature.

Personal Video Recorder (PVR)

The T-Box from TelstraThe T-Box allows you to record, pause and rewind free-to-air TV, and store over 100 hours of standard definition TV. Basically, you control what you watch, and when. The Programme Guide allows you to plan up to seven days in advance. And, you can set the T-Box to “Series Record” to automatically record each episode of a series.

If you manage to fill the internal 200GB storage, you can attach an external hard drive or flash memory via the USB port on the T-Box, allowing you to offload free to air programmes, one at a time, to this external storage. I look forward to the day this port also allows the T-Box to become a media player, so that I can play my home movies through it.

The Verdict:

I like it. Why? It’s simple and it works well.

If you find your Wi-Fi signal strength is not as strong as it could be and you can’t use an Ethernet connection, there are several options to boost your signal without having to move your router or TV.

Telstra carry one that I saw, and there are others on the market that works through your power points. There’s also an excellent long-range wireless solution from Rukus called the MediaFlex 7000. The Rukus system provides long-range transmission of IP-based video and attaches to a Telstra home gateway and T-Hub via Ethernet adaptors.

The T-Box has some great features – including, but not limited to, an easy to use menu that is second to none, a compelling range of programmes that are unmetered, no contract, and it’s a personal video recorder that can hold many hours of content.

This is just the beginning of what this product will be capable of.

By

Posts: 87

702 Comments

  1. Chris says:

    We have had our tbox for a year now,my complaint is in regard to tv reception and network problems. Our tv reception only works well when the tbox is on,when switched off the picture breaks up,our network which is a mixture of wired and wireless constantely drops out,on both wired and wireless,very strange that a wired connection could fail,a reset of the telstra modem fixes this.While i cant be absolute that the tbox is the culprite,research does suggest its fair to blame the tbox
    (and on a more humerous note: why did you guys have to call it the tbox,search results always throw up xbox results,,frustrating)

  2. Andrew says:

    First of all, I personally think that the TBox is rubbish, and the best thing for it is to have a truck run over it. That aside, unless I have missed something from your post, it sounds like a signal issue that you are having.

    My apologies if you know all this, but all set top boxes have a signal amplifier, so a week signal could be difficult to detect. If you have any splitters, that will be degrade the signal further. The more splits you have, the more the signal is degraded. You could try an inline amplifier to boost the signal.

    If it’s just a bad signal, then perhaps move the antenna to point to the nearest repeater. Again, if you know all this, sorry in advance.
    In terms of the wifi, the tbox wifi is falkey at best (in my experience anyway). I think it’s only a simple cheap receiver that’s used, and it’s usb, it’s not even an on board receiver. It’s best hardwired into your LAN. If need be, try IP over power. That way, you don’t need a LAN port next to your TV.
    Good luck with it all.

    • Brendan - [Your Community Manager] says:

      Hi Andrew, Have you callled the T-Box team with your concerns? You can contact them for support on 1300 136 841.

  3. Andrew says:

    Brendan -- I perservered with the TBox for quite some time. I would say at least 6 months. I tried really hard to give constructive feedback that would make this a great product. In all my experience of doing this, I learned, that Telstra did not want to listen and that they did not care.

    It confirmed a lot of sterotypes about Telstra. When the TBox first came out, it was advertised and sold as a great product. When I used it, it lacked a lot of functionality of a good PVR, some of which was promised to me.

    After a lot of phone calls, and trying to give feedback, and many posts on this forum, I simply accepted the truth. And that the TBox is a below average PVR product that has had the firmware modified to reduce functionality, and that Telstra knew better than anyone else.

    I even sent feedback to the CEO via the website, but as I said, NO ONE at Telstra seems to listen or care. As such, my TBox has been sent back with a full refund.

    I do keep the feeds going on this site, as I like share my experience and let people judge for themselves. Some are happy with a below average PVR, and that’s fine.

    So in short -- yes I have shared my concerns with the TBox team, but it all fell on deaf ears.

    One of my posts on this forum even asked you directly to respond to questions, but not even you answered that post. What’s one to do when no one listens?

  4. Caroline says:

    We’ve had problems with the wifi connection to our tbox since we signed up for it -- bigpond movie downloads taking up to 2 days and internet connection dropping out frequently. Yesterday the internet connection stopped altogether and after 2 hours of personal troubleshooting and another 2 hours today with Telstra tbox technical support we still have no connection. We are wanting to get a refund and hope we won’t be refused as we are not keen on paying the $155 cancellation fee for a product that is no good.

    • Brendan - [Your Community Manager] says:

      Hi Caroline. Sorry to hear you’ve had a poor experience with your T-Box. I’ve asked a local team to investigate and give you a call.

  5. angela says:

    hi i am having the same issues as the rest of you. i keep calling the 1800 number technical faults (4 times in one day) and still have not been successful in fixing anything in relation to my foxtel channels. Why am i paying for a service that keeps going slow, no sound, on like pause then pictures are out of focus, also makes crackling noises. had enough of this TBOX crap now and can’t get any one at Telstra to help with the problem. Frustrated

    Angela

  6. Burgy says:

    A year ago I made a post on this forum about being happy with the T-Box I use and since then it has continued to work without a glitch. I’ve even bought a 2nd unit for a TV in another room.

    I’ve been using Foxtel on both T-Box’s and it is a great service. My original T-Box is running off an ethernet connection and the quality is spot on with no buffering and instant picture. The 2nd T-Box I’ve been running Foxtel off WiFi (supposed to only connect via ethernet) and it works fine. So I would suggest to any new users to try the WiFi connection first before getting under the house to run ethernet cable to the T-Box. It might just work fine.

    The thread of complaints last time I visited the forum was about the T-Box not being able to play popular video formats through the USB connection. But I haven’t seen any posts thus far pointing out that this issue has recently been resolved and the T-Box can play most video/movie formats via USB. So any of your favourite movies/videos on USB sticks or portable hard drives can now be played through the T-Box.

    • Andrew says:

      It is good to hear that they are making a step in the right direction. Even with this update, it’s still far from been a good PVR. It still falls short on many aspects. Further to this, it has taken them ages to get this functionality out, when it should have come out standard with the box when it first came out. The standard netgem box does not restrict playback like this, so that what happens when you screw around with the firmware.
      Some of the items that still need to be fixed include (but not limited to):
      * Ability to record 2 shows at once -- when you go on holidays, you can’t record your conflicting shows
      * Hard disk check control -- this does it when it wants to, you have no control and can miss some of your favourite shows when performed
      * Firmware update control -- it would be nice to choose to check for updates when you turn off. If you are in a hurray to turn it on and watch, then your firmware update prevents this.
      * NTFS support -- most drives over 4GB are preformatted to NTFS. The average user needs to be aware that the drive needs to be reformatted before it will work on the TBox
      * Export encrypts files -- When I export the FTA shows, it encrypts the TS files, thus allowing playback only on a TBox. I would like to be able to stream that show to any location in my house play it back on any other device in the house at my convenience.
      * Streaming ability -- this was a promised item with the TBox, and you still can’t stream to it. Once again, the original netgem firmware allows it

      As you can see, it still has a long way before becoming a competitive product. The TBox came out half baked with poor functionality. The design of the changes of the firmware functions was flawed from the start. In my view, it was doomed to fail by its poor design. To top it off, they aren’t listening to their customers. It’s an absolute disgrace, and a terrible product IMO.

      As you have quite rightly pointed out, you are happy with it. I am happy for you, and am glad you like it, I personally expect more from a PVR than what the TBox has to offer. It’s my beleif that people should be aware of what they are buying before they buy it. If the limited functionality suits your needs, then you probably will be quite happy with it. There are much better PVR products out there.

  7. wanglese says:

    >* Ability to record 2 shows at once – when you go on >holidays, you can’t record your conflicting shows

    I can see some people wanting to do this. No big deal for me. I can catch anything that is really important on line from TV stations.
    Also, I’m aware that some PVR manufacturers are bringing out devices to record 4 stations at once. I’m not that desperate, and I don’t think there is that much on TV that requires it, but inevitably, people will want it.

    *>Hard disk check control – this does it when it wants to, you have no control and can miss some of your favourite shows when performed.

    Yeah, OK, but we don’t know what circumstances trigger an fsck.

    * Firmware update control – it would be nice to choose to check for updates when you turn off. If you are in a hurray to turn it on and watch, then your firmware update prevents this.

    Jebus. 1 minute and a half of firmware update?. If I’m in a hurry to watch TV and a firmware update is happening, I use the TV’s own tuner, or another TV. Not a big issue for me.

    * NTFS support – most drives over 4GB are preformatted to NTFS. The average user needs to be aware that the drive needs to be reformatted before it will work on the TBox

    NTFS is supported.

    * Export encrypts files – When I export the FTA shows, it encrypts the TS files, thus allowing playback only on a TBox. I would like to be able to stream that show to any location in my house play it back on any other device in the house at my convenience.

    I agree. Can’t actually see the need for Telstra to encrypt the recorded file at all. My guess is some legal advice made ‘em do it, but I think that “feature” can be turned off.

    * Streaming ability – this was a promised item with the TBox, and you still can’t stream to it. Once again, the original netgem firmware allows it

    Don’t see the need, (but I’ll be guided by you on this), since I can stream “through” it from any media server on the network, and stream directly to other devices, including the TV, so what am I missing out on?

    I’m sure there *ARE* better PVR’s. and in 6 months, the best one out there will be surpassed by an even better one. I’ve got more things to worry about, and when I bought the T-Box, I *had* looked around. For the money, and for what I wanted, I jumped to the T-Box. I’ve been quite happy, and While I’m aware that there are those that have had issues (and BigPond Movies not having captions for the deaf doesn’t count as a T-Box issue, it’s an issue with the delivery of Movies by Bigpond in general), and I can say the same for about a dozen people I know directly now.

    I acknowledge your opinion, but It’s kind of like liking a particular DSLR, and dissing people who buy what they need, not what you want.

    • Andrew says:

      NTFS support -- that must be a fairly recent addition. Again good to hear, that it’s a step in the right direction.

      I do want to be clear, I am not dissing people for liking it. As you quite rightly pointed out, some of these points are not are not relevant to you, so they don’t influence your decision. For me, these are some of the points as to why I sent mine back, and I am merely highlighting them to make others aware of what I feel are some of the pitfalls according to my experiences. There have been times I have been quite aggressive in my stance and opinion. Rightly or wrongly, that’s my passion against the product.

      I respect your view (and others) that you like it, and it suits your needs. It certaintly doesn’t suit my needs, I guess I like people to know why, so that others that are looking for the same functionality as me don’t fall into the same trap as buying a product that is not for them.

      I don’t think the DSLR comparison fits in this case, but we might have to agree to disagree in that. Most DSLR’s do the same thing, but differently, where IMO the TBox lacks functionality that it probably should have.

      From a couple of previous posts (yours included), it sounds like they have fixed a couple of functional issues. I saw one that indicated that video playback is now supported, and now you mention that NTFS is supported. These are quite big ticket items to finally get fixed.

      From this, it appears they are moving in the right direction, but still have a few steps to go (IMO). These are my views of the product.

  8. Pranesh says:

    My T-Box breaks up the picture if the aerial is connected via the T-Box. Connection directly to the TV gives perfect pictures. Consequently, I can’t use the T-Box. How do I get a replacement?

    • Brendan - [Your Community Manager] says:

      Hello Pranesh. Have you callled the T-Box team with your concerns? You can contact them for support on 1300 136 841.

  9. Gerry says:

    I am afraid, I fall into the dissatified category. My frustration with the tbox is at an all time high. The constant failure of the unit has become completely unbearable. The major areas of concern are;
    1) the constant disappearnce of data from the EPG meaning that not only can I not view the channels ( and that is free to air, bigpond exclusive and even Foxtel) but when the data is absent the tbox will not record any programmes that i may have scheduled to record to the hard drive.

    2) the remote needs to be paired constantly with the main unit. last night every time i picked it up to do some thing. it was completely unresponsive. I’ve had that problem before but not with the consistancy I am now experiencing (and yes I changed the batteries) before i started pairing up 10 times last night

    3) if there is an internet channel that i can access then the stream is so poor quality that it in impossible to view.

    Overall I have always been unhappy with the tbox sor so many reasons and with the decision to make the Foxtel channels non-recordable i thought i had hit a high for dissatisfaction, now I just want to throw it over the balcony.

    • Brendan - [Your Community Manager] says:

      Hi Gerry. Have you callled the T-Box team with your concerns? You can contact them for support on 1300 136 841.

    • Andrew says:

      Gerry -- the remote has been an ongoing issue with the TBox, it really is rubbish. I know Telstra took steps to improve it, and they had limited success, but its a sad reality that everyone seems to be accepted.

      When I had a TBox, I used a logitech harmony 525 remote, and it worked very well with it. One part of the TBox design that is good, is the ability for both the radio remote and an infrared remote. Given the hassles with the standard remote, if it could not handle an infrared, it would have been even more of a failure.

      Having said that, you really shouldn’t have to fork out more cash to get the product working properly, but as you can guess, the standard remote is terrible.

      Good Luck!!!

  10. Roy Porter (Telstra employee) says:

    The Harmony 300 remote works much better than that supplied got mine for $15.00 at Aldi!

    • AlanM says:

      Same here…I bought three of them to control 3 entertainment systems in the house that all receive T-Box over wireless AV.

    • Phil says:

      I use my smartphone as the remote, and Tablet i barely use the supplied remote

  11. Burgy says:

    Gerry, you shouldn’t be having that much difficulty with the remote -- it should pair with the TV set and remain that way.
    I had a similar problem only for about 24hrs (don’t know why but I suspect my problem occurred after a software update) and as a short-term fix I downloaded the T-Box ipod/iphone app that enables your ipod/iphone to remotely operate the t-box just like the supplied remote. I found it worked just as good if not better than the remote control supplied.
    There’s also a free t-box app for Android that I have downloaded and installed on my Sony Ericsson Xperia and Samsung Galaxy Ace, just in case it occurred again (it hasn’t) and again, works a treat. Maybe worth considering as a back-up?

  12. Jordan says:

    NTFS -- Really? I have tried several NTFS drives and the T-Box does reconize the drive, then hangs, then reboots (Tested freshly formatted NTFS drives, from 250GB to 1.5TB. 2.5″ USB Powered and 3.5″ Main Powered) No Joy with any, whereas they all work fine with FAT32. So Andrew if you have any tips on getting that to work that would be fantastic.

    • Andrew says:

      Jordan, that’s disappointing to hear. Unfortunately I have never known NTFS drives to work with the TBox. Wanglese was the one that indicated that NTFS was supported. My experience with NTFS is that the TBox never recognised anything was attached.
      If wanglese is correct, then I can only suggest to ensure you are on the latest firmware and give that a crack. If it still doesn’t work, then my earlier comment stands, and it’s still a fundamental flaw with the TBox.
      This is one of (about 3 or 4) the big ticket items as to why I never liked the TBox.

      Good Luck!

      Post back to let everyone know your results -- but as the TBox automatically updates the firmware, I suspect you are already on the latest version, and that NTFS is not supported.
      Wanglese -- any tips? As you indicated that NTFS is supported, perhaps you can be better to guide on this.

    • Wanglese says:

      I’m not at home right now, but I’ll go back and look through the configs.

      I never had a problem connecting FAT32 to the T-Box, and as soon as the new firmware was updated, I formatted a USB powered Samsung 500GB to NTFS, added some files, and plugged it in to the front USB. It worked right away, and played all media types I could try out, (mkv, divx,mp4 etc), but the wmv’s from Picasa wouldn’t provide video, but played the audio. I assume this is an issue with wmv’s from Picasa, but I haven’t tried yet).

      I’ll look at the configs of both, pity I cannot screen dump from the T-Box, but I may take a photo, and put it up on a web and provide a link to it. Expect that Saturday or Sunday.

      As far as I know, there is nothing special to it.

      By the way, my brother has a T-Box, and he plugged in a powered 1TB HP drive in. It worked, but as with me, a small amount of media type would not play.

    • wanglese says:

      Upon the release of the latest software, NTFS was supported. Never had an issue.

      Never had an issue with the T Box supporting FAT32, even larger than 32GB partitions.
      The reason for NTFS is largley to support larger file sizes, and some .mkv files can be quite large.

      So, there was absolutely nothing whatsoever to supporting NTFS when I first tried. The T-Box does not announce it is NTFS, but here are some images proving it:

      https://picasaweb.google.com/117109592144394305438/TboxNTFS#

      BTW, if it didn’t support NTFS there would be continued howls in both Crowdsupport and Whingepool.

    • Andrew says:

      wanglese -- thanks for that. From the looks of those images, it would appear that streaming from a uPnP capable media server is also available. I guess my patients simply wore too thin.

      Jordan -- I hope that helps. I guess the biggest thing is to make sure you have the latest firmware, then try again.

      Good Luck!

  13. beverley says:

    Hi All
    My original T-box lasted 18 months with lots of little problems. Have recently received new Box following lots of pixilation and freezing. Very satisfied with Telstra’s understanding and immediate action. This time. We since have had little pixilation/freezing since. My big pick at the moment is the racing bigpond channel has not been available now for about 3-4 days! Still hate missing the ends of my recorded shows due to finishing times being wrong and never uptodate. But still can’t get my head around the first offer, when I first signed up that I was going to get LIVE sport action via Bigpond channels at the weekend. So why am I constantly going back to free-to-air channels to do this?????

    • Andrew says:

      Despite the fact that I do not like the TBox, there was a couple of things that it did do well. One feature was the ability to have a ‘pre’ record and ‘post’ record time. TV stations never run on time, it’s a known fact, and a pain in the royal rear when setting the timer. The TBox has a setting that stores the number of minutes before a show you want your recording to go, and the number of minutes after a show it should continue. This enables you to set this up once, then for all your recordings it will start the show x number of minutes before you scheduled it, and will continue y number of minutes after you scheduled your recording to finish. This is one of it’s few redeeming features, and when I had a TBox, it was one of the features I liked.

      As for your other points, good luck!!!

  14. Dimitry says:

    Piece of advise, check your bank statements! Last night set-up my new T-Box, done some general clicking around and today see $2 charge for “Movie “Channel” ? WTF ?? I wonder how many of these random $2,$1, etc I’m gonna see and then spend hours on the phone (more money to telstra) to resolve these… Frustrating !

  15. Dimitry says:

    Having TV antenna through T-Box has decreased the quality of the image…. :( Also, the free advertised 7 BigPond channels are rubbish… Free Foxtel channels would be nice. PS> The only good thing about T-Box is being able to watch Youtube on TV.

    • Tim says:

      We’ve had a lot of trouble with our aerial and what we found that works for a perfect picture is not to push the cable in to far into the box. It’s strange but if it’s pushed in too far reception is crap but if we pull it out halfway but still enough to grip then the reception is perfect -- I think the issue is the adapter they supply with the cable. Telstra: Better quality cables without the need for an adapter would solve many peoples reception problems.

      • Danielle Clarke says:

        Thanks for the feedback Tim -- sounds like you might have a small issue with the cable. Please reach out to the team if you want to chat about a new cable -- although sounds like you’ve come up with your own solution. :) Danielle

  16. Tim says:

    When we first purchased our tbox the remote stopped working- Telstra sent a new model. Has been pretty good overall, but now several times a day it turns off and turns back on again. Oh look- there it goes again!!! It also checks hard drive quite often. Over it!!!!

    • Brendan - [Your Community Manager] says:

      Hello Tim, We have dedicated customer support teams and the best way to access that support in an efficient manner is to use the links above and connect with us on Facebook or Crowdsupport. Brendan

    • Andrew says:

      I agree, I had a real issue with the hard drive checks (when I had one). Not that it did them. I think it’s great that it had that ability, but that it would do it while watching a show, and you couldn’t do a thing until it finished. The timing really sucked.

      Would have been good if it did it when switching to standby.

  17. Monica Mary says:

    We have had our Tbox 12 months and after a few initial hiccups we have been quite happy with it. We have had great success with only an indoor aerial except…..We cannot now access any ABC channels unless we risk losing some of the others. As we have a TV in the bedroom we can watch those in there. We iuntend getting an aerial before the chanegover. However, spasmodically over the last few weeks, we have had the TV suddenly turn off and on again sometimes accompanied by flashing. Last night I got up (Old lady, nocturnal wanderings), to find the TV on with just blue screen and Tbox on but not registering. Any advice on this situation?

  18. Monica Mary says:

    Hello? message when trying to post…..’Duplicate comment detected you have already said that?’ Yikes? what the?
    I enjoy having a rant and am asking about something else down below -- big brother.

    PS: the TBox does everything that we ask or need, (especially for me, I love to watch horseracing). We have downloaded movies with success and explored all sorts of viewing avenues that give enjoyment BUT, isn’t there always a but? I am very fond of recording favourite shows while I watch another. I find the print on the menu etc. too small and have to get up to make any changes to programming a recording or such or even to read a synopsis. Why could it not have a zoom function?
    I too hate missing endings of shows when you go without extending the time frame because you wish to record another show immediately afterwards on another channel. Grrrr!

    • Andrew says:

      Monica,
      You make two really good points. Points that I have tried to make a number of times, but constantly ignored.

      1) Small print on menu -- it is small and hard to read. Of all the boxes I’ve used, the T-Box was by far the worst offender.

      2) Inability to record two shows at once. Because networks never run on time, the lack of this functionilty is always going to cause disappointment to those that need to records shows immediately after each other on different channels. No one seems to care about this. I agree that the networks should get the act into gear and fix their timing, but when is that seriously going to happen. It’s functional that’s a MUST in IMO. As always, people will disagree, but this fact alone should suggest that Telstra should add it.

      Good luck!!!! I gave up long ago -- no one seems to listen or care!

  19. Dimitry says:

    Hey Tesltra dudes, can you please update the software for the T-Box so we can scroll all channels horizontally, this way you can fit more channels and descriptions. At the moment i can current show schedules or the one next, i’d like to be able to see say 5-6 things in advance…. Cheers.

    • Tim says:

      You can scroll horizontally, just use the left and right arrows. You can also filter all the channels in the “Guide” and you click I think the orange button to only see FTA channels or other options are prime time etc.

  20. Dimitry says:

    Hey Telstra dudes, can you make T-Box turn on faster? My wife thinks something is wrong with out TV since she has to wait 20-30 secs before it starts working…We miss a lot of TV in that time (eg news, weather :)

    • AlanM says:

      Only had the T-Box for a month and adapting to the new routine, turn on box first then go put the kettle on…

  21. joe brown says:

    It is a rip off the telstra t-box, they charge you to send it and telstra service guys take to long to do a simple job. Plus if you providing some of the foxtel channels -- your providing mostly sports, why not provide some more channels people who dont want to watch sports. Also they should try getting themselves into some international channels. If it can be connected to the internet still , telstra has probably put have restrictions to actually watch those channels through the t-box or go to website.

    Should give a download to USB or connect to gaming consoles as well or something and be able to download music from the t-box to USB or ipod or mp3 players. If its connected to the internet why charge a monthly fee to watch those channels, if your paying for internet data charges on the t-box as well or give internet free service. If you have foxtel and internet and phone with telstra then give the box for free and what you use on it because you already paying for those thigs plus on top of it charge for t-box, which is just like a set top box

    ALso if you have a t-hub as well could have just used that instead of bringing this box into the market, should have made the t-box like a set top box and given that for free to please to plug in and use that for shows, foxel and other things because that is also connected to the internet and shoulld have made it into like a universal remote to use the telstra and foxtel devices and bluetooth devices for eg. gaming console or mobile or music.

  22. heather says:

    o no l just got t box its still in the box maybe l should just leave it in there

    • Wanglese says:

      Many people have had their T-Box for ages, without problems.

      I’ve had mine since November 2010, the only thing replaced was the remote, which took 48 hours, and I had the iPhone app anyway.

      I know many people with the T-Box that have had not a single issue at all, have downloaded movies, and are able to use a simple remote control without whinging.

      As for the complaint that you are charged for Foxtel at the same time as your ADSL. Well, DUH! there’s a difference. Foxtel doesn’t contribute to your usage capacity, so you get that. As for sports channels -- it’s a commercial decision, and whilst I personally don’t agree with it, it’s fine -- because it’s still early days. Next somone will complain that it isn’t showing 3D.

  23. AlanM says:

    My T-Box experience: Earlier this month swapped from the Home TV 100GB bundle (with Foxtel Platinum) to $111 T-Box bundle. T-Box arrived within 48 hours and had no issues with setup. Not interested in paying six bucks for movies but they force you to do that before you can add Foxtel – registered for Getting Started package OK. Running on Ethernet connection off the Netgear CGD24N cable wireless router. Overall quite happy with T-Box operation and performance, channels usually load within a few seconds and surprised at the quality of the Foxtel pictures. Had some issues with HDCP hooking up the DVR but got that sorted out. Some cons; slow start-up (make a cup of tea), occasional loss of program guide, no record on Foxtel (crazy!) and worst of all can only record one program, like going back to dial-up era – but that’s Telstra. Harmony 300i ($15 from ALDI) works perfectly so put away T-Box remote which looks like a dog biscuit – golden retriever not happy. Cheers

  24. Peter Currie says:

    Had a T Box for several months. Started out well but over the past few months the signal on free to air appears to have deteriorated to the extent the channels are not watchable, however, with the aerial straight into the TV I get all fta channels perfectly! Got on to the 1300 number and was finally sent a bag to send the T Box back in. Prompt service, got the machine back a week or so later. I have no idea if anything was done to it as there was no paperwork apart from the stuff I’d sent. Hooked it up -- same problems -- no decent fta reception, while the TV reception is great without the T Box. Seriously thinking of sending the whole bloody lot back and asking for a refund….

    • Tim says:

      Peter we had the same issues over and over with several boxes… it’s the inferior cables they supply you with and the adapter.

      Try not pushing it in all the way into the tbox aerial socket. For some weird reason if you don’t have it pushed all the way in the reception works on the box.

      Our normal TV reception using same cables is perfect but through the box we have to tweak it by not pushing the cable too far, keeping it away from any other electrical source.

      They are crappy at FTA but if you’re lucky you can get it to work…. hang in there it may happen!

  25. Matt says:

    Now for something completely different

    I have had one since day 1 and it has been replaced 3 times due to remotes * 2 and a hard drive fault but everytime the replacement process has been no fuss.

    I always look forward to the firmware updates due to the new features added ***MOG*** hint hint nudge nudge. It is the central device for all media in our household.

    We love it.

  26. Lesley says:

    I have just recently got the tbox as part of a bundled deal. Set it up worked fantastically. Turned off tv, next day turned on tv, no matter what I did couldnt get tbox to work, couple of days later still no response. All the tbox does is flash on and off and says check connections etc, everything is connected exactly as it was when I set it up and it worked. So tried the reset button and after numerous times or doing this finally got the hello and and went throught the whole set up process again. Worked brilliantly (and yes the remote works), went to bed turned off tv, next day, same thing all over again. So in a couple of weeks I have been able to use it twice. I have been going to call the tech number, but seriously, every post I read says your wait on phone is over an hour, who has that time to spare? Not impressed so far. Have asked a couple of people who have a tbox and though they haven’t had this same issue, they have stated is always some problem with it. Not a very good product!

    • Hi Lesley. Sorry to hear about your new T-Box. Do call Telstra T-Box support on 1300 136 841? They should be able to give you a fix over the phone or get you a replacement if need be. Brendan.

    • Lesley says:

      Brendan I did get a replacement, and though it worked for a while, it now doesn’t show the guide, says not registered which I am. I find it hard to believe as I read through everyone’s comments that it hasn’t had a total recall of product and money spent having it refunded. This is a product I am paying for until my contract ends and it is useless, my partner gets annoyed that I persevere and want the tv connected directly to the antenna. More than once a week it says it is checking the hard drive and the guide doesn’t work at all then. Very disappointing product

    • Andrew says:

      Lesley,
      That’s what I ended up doing, requesting a full refund with no penalties. At the end of the day, if your not happy, talk with your feet. If the product does not live up to the expectation of what you have been told, or simply doesn’t perform, then you are entitled to do so. Good luck with what ever your decide.

    • Lesley says:

      Thanks for your comment Andrew,

      That is what I will have to do as we have stopped using it altogether, it was just too frustrating and just easier to use the tv directly connected to the aerial.

  27. Darryl says:

    I have had the tbox since day one, and put up with all issues that every one has talked about since. We have all had the same issues that TELSTRA is well aware of. Over the last two months I notice my tbox has been very sluggish and I got a new tbox, still the performance is sluggish. When will there be another software update, last one was 6 months ago.

  28. OzMan says:

    My Tbox as of last evening has started making a strange noise. It sounds like a small fan motor of a computer running but much louder, one can hear it in other adjacent rooms.
    I have tried switching it off, unplugging it from the electrical socket and resetting it but to no avail.
    What could be wrong!!

    • Hi Ozman, You can click to ‘Ask the Crowd’ in a forum or you can go through to our ’24/7 Facebook page’. There are two options to contact us here as these links get you straight through to people who can help – you’ve come through to our corporate blog here and I’d highly recommend using one of these new avenues to get directly in touch with Telstra about a T-Box product issue.

  29. Lazar says:

    Hi, I have had a t-box for over 4 months and havent got to any problems till a day ago. My box just wont show any picture/channel and at the bottom left of the corner says bad signal.
    Tried few things like moving around my modem, turn off the net and back on, gave it a rest overnight and its still says the same bad signal and blank picture.
    Anyone cud help why is this happening?

    Thanks, Lazar

  30. Liane says:

    Had my tbox for around a month now, and like quite a few people on here, the fta channels are completely un-watchable. Here’s the funny part tho, abc, sbs & channel 31 work perfectly at all times of the day. channels 7,9,10,11, GO etc all work well until around 5pm!! It seems as soon as more people switch on their tv’s after work and school, my signal becomes terrible to the point where i either pop the Ariel straight back into the tv (annoying to have to do EVERY night) or I am just unable to watch any tv after 5pm. Any ideas on this one??

    (and it has nothing to do with my area or antenna as suggested by the rude guy from support, as my digital tv fta channels are crystal clear perfection without the tbox!!)

    • Wanglese says:

      So around 5.00pm every day your FTA channels die on your T-Box. Sounds environmental to me.

      It *shouldn’t* happen, but I wonder if all of the equipment being turned on all around you (kids on Xboxes, wifi etc) is somehow interfering.

      Also, on your T-Box, look at the signal strenght meter, and compare it to the signal stregnth of the channels on your TV set.

      It’s highly probable that the digital tuner on your TV set is showing the same singal strength on your T-Box, but is more able to interpret it.

      I’m assuming you have a single cable coming from your antenna, and it’s not split.

      And BTW, I’ve known a small crack in an antenna cable to make a difference that was hard to track down.

    • Andrew says:

      Liane,
      On the back of Wanglese comments, I myself have had cable issues, and had inconsistant picture issues. I thought all was good, but when I traced the cable, it wasn’t actually plugged into the antenna on the roof. On some ocassions I would still get great signal. Cable issues very well could cause this. Even the weather can impact the signal in these circumstances, and your ability to pick it up. So is a good idea to look into that.

      Further to this, I do recall posts (quite old now) where some people had problems when the cable was pushed all the way in. They had to pull it back a couple of milimetres and found they had better reception. So perhaps try to adjust the cable a bit when the reception goes bad and see if it improves it at all.

  31. Liane says:

    I’ve tried all of the above, even using a different cable, i think the t-box is just completely useless apart from the media section. I’ll attempt to call telstra again & hope that the support person is more understanding than the last one. thanks for your help tho.

  32. Ian says:

    I’ve got a good story to tell about Telstra Customer Service.
    I’ve been a T-Box user since it first came out and liked it so much I got a second T-Box to connect to the Rumpus room TV. Both have worked fine and the picture quality of FTA channels is crystal clear. Even the free Bigpond IPTV channels are very clear and load instantly. If ever I have had a minor issue with the T-Box i’ve found if it’s re-setted it seems to right itself. But obviously others on this blog have had some serious problems which have needed different fixes.

    I’ve used Foxtel on T-Box on and off and found it fantastic. Clear pictures, instant loading and the ability to subscribe for a month at a time if you want. I tend to subscribe for school holidays and then skip it during school term. My only beef with Foxtel on T-Box is it’s over-priced for the features you get. I’d like to subscribe to the AFL sports channels during winter on Foxtel but its about $50/month and the games can’t be recorded so I think the pricing needs to be reviewed.

    Anyway, I had my first real serious problem with my original T-Box a few weeks ago. The remote (about 3 years old) just stopped working and I couldn’t fix it no-matter what I did. Instead, I used the T-Box app on my Android phone and ipod for a while which was OK but having the real remote is better. So I phoned T-Box Support and they asked me a few questions about the remote, if I’d paired it properly, battery etc. and decided I needed a replacement….at no charge. Three days later a courier delivered a new remote (was a newer model) and after I paired it with the T-Box it has been working perfectly.
    I have to give T-Box Support 10/10 for service as I couldn’t fault them.

  33. John says:

    Telstra Customer Service is not service but an absolute joke. All they try and do is duck shovel and pass the buck.

    I bought their product outright, and it is broken, but can I take it back to the Telstra Shop that I bought it from.

    NO.

    I have to be made to suffer through the torment of what they call customer service. I am not even sure if people in prison are subjected to this much torture.

    All I want is a replacement, but to do so, because their own stores refuse to take back what they sold me, I have to wait 3 to 5 days, on the hope that someone will contact me.

    I have been on hold now for 36 mintues, waiting to discuss with a Supervisor to get my issue resolved today, when I ring, but I think they are taught to play the waiting game.

    To see how long a person is really willing to wait.

    In the time I have been on hold, I have submitted a formal complaint to the Telecommunications Ombudsman and posted this item.

    If I am on hold for longer, I wonder if I could also put it into the Twittersphere and Facebook.

    Telstra lift your game, as you do not care about Customers only profits and covering your own arse.

  34. Kevin says:

    Like Ian, I can’t complain about the Customer Help. I have a BYO which was replaced three times without argument. I have had two remotes, which I agree are easier to use than the app on my smartphone. I talked three others into getting a T-Box, they have had several problems but have not had a problem with Customer Help.
    It’s not, in my opinion a real problem with Customer Help, it is an inferior box, which has shown some improvement over time by virtue of software updates, I presume, I too was an original when they were first released. Having said all of that I hardly use the box, my Foxtel iQ2 does me along with a Topfield PVR to record those FTAs that are not carried on the Foxtel platform in WA. T-Box will be obsolete very soon.

  35. Wanglese says:

    Like ALL technologies, the T-Box wil be surpassed. Just like the original Foxtel box, the Foxtel IQ, the Foxtel HD (originally with 320GB, now you can get the Foxtel IQ HD 1TB).

    I bet in 10 years time ALL OF the current Foxtel boxes will be obsolete.

    But that’s like saying everyone should get a smartphone or an iPhone. Lots of people want phones that just make phone calls, or they have a multitude of devices that do everything they want (FYI, I have a smartphone and love them -- My wife desn’t need one, because she has an iPad for everything else).

    For now, with Foxtel over ADSL, the T-Box meets ALL of my needs. Obviously, if my needs change in the future, or if Telstra come out with a V2, which I need, then I’ll update.

    I only updated my PC when I absolutely needed something that I simply could not work without. I still have my old XP machine, and I use it for basic things. XP is “obsolete”.

    I’ve alway thought the pursuit for the latest and greatest has become ridiculous (iPhone 5 etc), and I have been involved in IT since 1975.

    BTW, Kevin, that’s not a shot at you or anyone, merely my passing thoughts.

  36. Kevin says:

    Thanks Wanglese, I don’t mind anyone debating me. I’m no expert but I do, 1. fall victim to new gizzmos and 2. know waht I want from them. I was an early T-Box owner, but I can’t offer any advice as to what the shortcomings are with the box, but I do know it is just above being a toy. One needs two of them as book ends and not connected to anything. One day -- as the saying goes, we’ve got to get a gem at an affordable price. Cheers

  37. Michelle says:

    Why am I not able to register my TBox even though I was told over the phone that it was done, now I have since been on the phone with them numerous times and I keep on getting the ever popular “we are having tecnical issues” how do I complain please? I have added two packages which they said has been done but they can not be accessed due to the usual problem above

  38. Ronald says:

    Problem solved with tbox, after many attempts at rectifying un synced remote, newt box, then very bad reception with new on and spending $169.00 on new antenna system have found that removing tbox and placing in bin solved all of my problems, sort of made me feel good after two years of problems with THub 1, first wifi modem and twomt boxes, learn’t the hard way buy stuff some where else. Tbox now if separate pieces. Does feel good to be able to watch tv without picture freezing. Now enjoying perfect picture.

  39. Robert says:

    Well, spent just over an hour and a half reading through the comments on this blog.
    Reason being my 75 year old techno neophyte father has just received his Telstra T-Box in the mail. From the comments above -- it sounds as though he’s purchased a lemon and will shortly die of a T-Box frustration induced heart attack. (Old people and difficult technology = frustration, anger and failure.)
    We’ll see what transpires over the coming days.

    In the meantime;
    So……Telstra, it’s been reported that the 320GB hard drive in the T-Box was, “quietly” replaced with a 1 TB hard drive in July of 2011. (This may account for posts I read above where people were surprised that the internal drive and external ones all of a sudden needed to be formatted in NTSF rather than FAT32)
    Can Telstra or any one with a post July 2011 T-Box advise if this is true please?
    If so …… why would my father have received a T-Box with a 320GB HDD?
    Surely Telstra wouldn’t be foisting old superseded product (by over a year and a half) to a less techno savvy older generation.
    For any one else wanting to check this ……avoid the frustration and don’t try. The user manuals “Technical Specifications” -- aren’t. Approximately 5 or 6 lines with the longest line indicating the device needs to be plugged into 240 volts power. No mention anywhere in the manual of the hard drives size or hours of storage available if recording in SD or HD.
    Also nothing about this on the Telstra web site -- except for a vague one line reference that the T-Box has 220 GB of user storage.
    You can only check the size of the drive by referencing the model information on the underside of the box.
    At least -- that’s what I think the number, “320″ in the model number refers too.
    Also -- given the T-Box has USB connectivity -- are “new” T-Boxes shipping with USB 3.0?
    Surely a device purporting to allow up to 8 TB of external storage would naturally have the faster data transfer rates provided by USB3.
    Again -- no information in the Tech Specs identifying if its USB 2 or 3.
    Any information on either of these two items will be appreciated.
    Will let you know in the next few days if my father and / or the T-box are still alive.

  40. Wanglese says:

    I teach PC, Apple and Internet to seniors. Haven’t had to worry about them getting frustrated once I take them through my courses.

    As for the T-Box, I have several seniors with T-Boxes, and my next door neighbour (a senior) has a wonderful PVR with all the bells and whistles. Guess who has the problems?

    As for the T-Box, I’m not aware of any 1TB upgrade. I’m NOT a Telstra employee, but I can guarantee if there was such an upgrade, I’d be on it like a flash, and I would imagine I would be aware of it, because users on Whirlpool and CrowdSupport would have already reported it by now.

    The reason for NTFS support, was simply that. An upgrade to the firmware was there to support NTFS, as many of us had larger USB drives.

    USB3? Might be useful, but again, why? If you are playing back media to the T-Box, I’m not aware that USB 3 would give any benefit, since transfer of video/audio even at HD doesn’t use it.
    Since the T-box can stream from network shares, most people (including the aforementioned seniors) can get their head around the concept of network shares, and use them, so USB3 on a server is probably more worth it.
    Having said that, having a USB 3 on the T-Box in the future for archiving purposes wouldn’t be a bad thing.

    However, I’m not aware of any smart TV sets with USB3 for recording or playback.
    Might be a tad early.

    Having said that

  41. Rob says:

    I have had the T-Box for 18 months now and I am not happy with it. It will not start up when you start it up from ‘stand by’. You have to turn it off to ‘sleep mode’, but even thenit will not always start up. I can’t get some FTA channels even though they are fine on my other PVR. I can’t access the ‘weather apps’. It just freezes and you have to turn the whole box off. I have tried emailing Telstra, but they don’t care. I am sick of paying for a Box that simply doesn’t work. I would love to change it for a ‘new T-Box 2′, but they probably will not change. I just want to cancel the last six months because its a pain paying for a box that just doesn’t deliver.

    • Az [Telstra Community Manager] says:

      Hi Rob,
      Sorry to hear you’re having problems with your T-Box. I’d recommend you give the T-Box Technical Support crew a call on 13 2200. They do care and I’m sure they will be able to assist you!
      Az

    • AlanM says:

      Same here…box will not come out of stand-by, have to keep hitting the button hoping the thing will come back to life – annoying. This issue started right after the last update along with slow channel change, stare at a black screen for 5-6 secs -- very annoying. I am on Elite 200GB with a Cable 3.0 modem which performs very well.

  42. Andrew says:

    Have a T Box. Only problem I have had and it P’s me off is the AV sync. I have to keep reselect the channel to get it back into sync. Being a PVR with digital signal you would think it would have the ability to adjust the audio delay so you don’t think you are watching some spaghetti western.

  43. gezza says:

    Does anyone know why, we haven’t been able to see any WWE shows on Foxtel On Demand if you are accessing it through the TBox. Someone I know spoke to Foxtel and they said that it is a Telstra issue. If that is the case then it makes the TBox an even less desirable unit than it already is.

    • Jamie [Editor] says:

      Hi Gezza -- Our guys have checked and found a number of VOD titles on FOX8, including WWE Smackdown Season 2013 Episode 728, WWE Superstars Episode 225 and WWE Main Event Episode 44. Does this help at all? -- Jamie

  44. gezza says:

    Thank you for your note Jamie, what I should have clarified is that lately there has been no consistency to their appearance. For a couple of weeks there were no shown on VOD, other weeks there may be a couple but it is spasmodic. Very frustrating trying to be a regular viewer. There is no explanation and no reason that I can see, they are all being broadcast regularly on the main foxtel service

  45. Darren says:

    Thinking about getting foxtel on the tbox but don’t have a socket close enough to use an Ethernet cable. The Telstra website says you can use a rukus or powerline adaptor to set up a Ethernet connection… does anyone know which one is best and does it work? I tried calling tbox support and got nowhere.

    • Lucy says:

      @ Darren you can buy a powerline adaptor from Dick Smith, Telstra shops or those kind of shops

  46. AlanM says:

    ALDI had POWERLINE ADAPTOR KITs on the 26th April for $69. You may still be able to grab one.

  47. DW says:

    Any news on the Foxtel Offers currently advertised also being provided to T-Box Foxtel customers? Or do we miss out again?

    • Jamie (Editor) says:

      Hi DW, We resell Foxtel’s pay TV services, so when Foxtel changes its content packaging, so do we. We’ll be contacting subscribers with details in the upcoming weeks, so stay tuned :)

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