Sky, Virgin Media and BT all offer their customers ways to watch TV beyond the living room. TalkTalk has an app for its rental and purchase store -- formerly Blinkbox, you might recall -- but otherwise it's fallen behind the pack somewhat. The company is changing that sometime in the first few months of next year, though, when it'll launch new apps that take TalkTalk TV truly multiscreen for the first time.
Quite simply, the new app for iOS and Android will put TalkTalk's live TV and on-demand library on mobile devices. Subscribers will be able to watch Freeview and any of their paid channel bundles anywhere, so it's not limited to devices on the same home network as the set-top box. The apps support Chromecast too, so you can push TV to another bigger screen elsewhere, and exactly the same experience will be available in browsers, should a laptop or PC be your second screen of choice.
There is one limitation. While you can be logged in to the TalkTalk app on up to 4 devices, you can only stream to one at a time -- in addition to whatever's playing on your home set-top box, of course. That won't strictly be true for TalkTalk's fibre broadband customers though, as next year they will also be able to add another set-top box to their package to create a multiroom situation at home. The one additional device rule will still apply here, though technically that means there can be three active screens at any one time, including the two set-top boxes. TalkTalk isn't sharing how much an additional box will set you back just yet, but for everyone, the new multiscreen feature of the service will be free and not a paid perk.
To make multiscreen happen, TalkTalk built its new mobile apps and web interface from scratch so users can get at all their live and on-demand TV in the same way they can on their set-top boxes. It has a different look, of course, since navigation isn't bound to a remote. The apps sport a more visual, card-like UI highlighting popular live and on-demand content, as well as the newest releases in the movie and boxset purchase and rental store. This is in addition to a traditional EPG view of live TV for quick-browsing. For anything that isn't live -- so, anything on a catch-up service or something you've rented, for example -- you can pause on one device and pick up where you left off on another.
TalkTalk also throws some curation into the mix within the "My TV" section of the app, which is what the company calls a "safe space." What's meant by that is recommendations will only come from channels and such you already own, so it won't suggest things you need to buy or sign up to another channel bundle in order to watch. Multiscreen is still a few months away for customers at this point, but when it does launch next year it'll see TalkTalk close the distance on its main rivals with this important value-adding feature.
- This article originally appeared on Engadget.