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Is BT TV any good?

Monday, June 9th 2014

BT TV comes with BT Sport entirely for free, and while its channel line-up isn’t as extensive as other TV providers, it’s still a great option for sport fans looking to save on their TV bundle.

BT is the daddy of the UK phone and broadband industry and provides quality communication services for nearly a third of the population, so its TV deals have a lot to live up to. Here's everything you need to know.

Pros and cons


  • Free BT Sport
  • Huge on-demand library
  • Live TV recorder


  • Limited choice of channels
  • Multiroom is an expensive option
  • Sky Sports requires older Vision+ box

What we like

Free sporting action

BT Sport offers three channels – BT Sport 1 and 2, and ESPN – with the option to pay extra for Sky Sports 1 and 2. BT Sport features 38 Premier League matches including 18 'top pick' matches, and other sports such as Aviva rugby and Moto GP. Users can also get the BT Sport app on laptops, iPhones, iPads and selected Android devices.

BT broadband and TV customers can enjoy BT Sport at no extra cost to their monthly subscription, although this may be likely to change in the near future, as BT has recently bought the rights to the UEFA Champions League 2015-2016 season.

Large choice of on-demand content

BT TV, formerly BT Vision, has re-vamped its Pay-TV service to offer much more choice with its video on-demand library packed solid with over 12,000 shows and music videos. These are separated into box set Bolt-ons and can be added to your existing BT TV package. Film and TV box sets cost £5 per month, Kids box sets are £3 per month, and finally, music box sets can be added for £3 a month.

You’ll also get over 70 Freeview channels and free and unlimited access to the BT Catch-Up TV service, including BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD and Demand 5. You get the bonus of BT Sport as standard and the on-demand content covered above. The TV Entertainment package (starting at £12.50 per month) has an additional 20 TV channels, including such gems as the Discovery Channel and Comedy Central.

Live TV recorder

When you take out a BT package, you’ll get a YouView+ box (essentially, the BT TV box) included for free - though it is subject to an activation fee. In addition to viewing Freeview channels and Catch-up TV, you can pause, rewind and record hundreds of hours of live TV with the YouView+ box. If you take Sky Sports with your BT TV package, you'll be given the BT Vision box instead, which is a slightly older and creakier set-top box (though you can still pause, rewind, and record content).

Visit BT TV →

What we don’t like

Limited choice of channels

The choice of BT TV channels falls someway behind Virgin Media and Sky, with around 90 standard definition channels depending on your package, compared with the hundreds of channels available through Sky or Virgin Media. You’ll also get fewer high definition (HD) channels too.

Multiroom is an expensive option

BT has recently rolled out its very own multiroom service, called Extra Box. With Extra Box, you can have an additional YouView+ box set up in another room of your house, so you don't have to watch what everyone else is watching in the living room. BT Extra Box is a subscription service, and costs an additional £5 a month on top of your standard BT TV charge.

You also need to buy an additional BT YouView+ box for £99. BT recommends a minimum broadband speed of 34Mbps to use the second YouView+ box - which seems a little excessive - so this option is purely for BT Infinity customers (and even then, it's unlikely that you'll get a download speed this fast unless you're on the premium Infinity 2 service).

Set-top box confusion

BT TV has two set-top box options – the BT YouView box and the older BT Vision+ box.

Oddly, the BT YouView box – the newer, more advanced option – is not compatible with Sky Sports, so you’ll have to request the more basic BT Vision+ box if you want to add sports action from Sky.

Package comparison

  • Broadband
    Max Download Speed17Mb
    Max Upload Speed1Mb
    Monthly UsageUnlimited
    Fair UsageNo
    Traffic ShapingNo
    IP AddressingDynamic
    Digital TV
    TV Channels74
    SD Channels64
    HD Channels10
    3D Channels0
    Radio Channels30
    Home Phone
    Daytime Calls9ppm
    Evening Calls9ppm
    Weekend CallsInclusive
    Pricing & Contract
    Monthly Cost
    (£21 after 6 mths)
    Upfront Cost£41.95
    Contract Length18 months
    Line Rental p/m£15.99
    Average Monthly£36.65
    First Year Cost£437.83
    Lifetime Cost£659.77
    See deal →
    or call 0800 840 5395
  • Broadband
    Max Download Speed76Mb
    Max Upload Speed19Mb
    Monthly UsageUnlimited
    Fair UsageNo
    Traffic ShapingNo
    IP AddressingDynamic
    Digital TV
    TV Channels95
    SD Channels85
    HD Channels10
    3D Channels0
    Radio Channels31
    Home Phone
    Daytime Calls9ppm
    Evening Calls9ppm
    Weekend CallsInclusive
    Pricing & Contract
    Monthly Cost
    (£33 after 3 mths)
    Upfront Cost£41.95
    Contract Length18 months
    Line Rental p/m£15.99
    Average Monthly£49.99
    First Year Cost£605.83
    Lifetime Cost£899.77
    See deal →
    or call 0800 840 5395


BT TV is only available to BT broadband customers so you’ll only be able to access it if BT already supplies your internet or you are happy to switch.

BT TV availability

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BT TV is a good option for those who want a well-rounded selection of channels without splashing out too much on their entertainment fix. The launch of BT Sport is a major move for the provider and will be a big pull for fans who don’t want to fork out for Sky Sports. However, those serious about their telly time may find it lacking in certain areas, namely the lack of a multi-room option and a less comprehensive choice of channels than the competition.

Visit BT TV →

Need help choosing the right deal?
Speak to one of our experts on 0800 840 53950203 305 5292

We're here to help Monday to Friday 8am-9pm, Saturdays 9am-6.30pm and Sundays 10am-6.30pm

Comments (33)

Anthony Wakefield
3 days ago

Initial Internet and broadband installation - £120: Told that I needed two filters and 2 were installed. Sloowwwww broadband speed and hub goes orange. Second visit £120, to be told I only needed one filter. Third visit £130 to be told I needed 2 filters - 2 fitted and now I`m fairly stable. Asked the 3rd engineer not to bill me. When the bill didn`t arrive with this charge I thought "well done" Three months later this amount was added to my bill, and BT`s reasoning was that they were legally entitled to send out their bill as much as 6 months into the future. I complained and in a comprehensive letter telling me that everything they had done was according to their own methods, was advised that I could contact the ombudsman.

And now my BT Vision Box doesn't seem to record TV, according to it`s instructions, with plenty of recording space left.

Central Govt gave them 4b to expand internet coverage. They certainly haven`t used any of this grant to improve their existing networking. All I can say without expleteing(sp?) is BAAAAAH!!!!

21st June 2014

The most inconvenient client service: the engineers came three times but were unable to do anything and we had to keep on calling to make appointment after appointment with no result. Very frustrating.

5th June 2014

BT are simply not 'fit for purpose'. Their boxes and broadband systems have serious problems - see the thousands of comments on the Internet. Their customer relations are rubbish too. They should not be allowed to run a sweet shop, never mind the nationwide system that they do. The Indian call centres are a joke - not the fault of the personnel there, they are doing their best, but how can someone from India understand the problems of someone living in the UK? The whole system is faulty and obviously has not been designed right. They are taking money from people under false pretences. Ofcom should order that anyone who want to cancel can do so without penalty. Shame on you, BT!

22nd May 2014

I hate BT Vision and really wish we'd stayed with Sky, roll on November when we can ditch it. The only good thing about BT Vision is the "fast forward 30 seconds" feature to whizz through adverts. It constantly updates/reboots slap bang in the middle of a programme - no warning whatsoever or the option to postpone the update for half an hour. Absolute rubbish. I've tweeted BT Care (or "don't really care") to see if they could advise on how to cancel the reboots and all they did was give me various links to their "help" section on the internet which I could look up myself. Thought they may have had a specific solution. Stay clear of BT.

george drinkwater
13th May 2014

As a communications company BT are not very good Communicators. I seem unable to contact anything but an electronic response. It would be nice to speak to a human being.

Mrs s nisar
30th April 2014

I am not happy that I have to pay £314 to cancel my contract with Bt because I have not yet got an address to move the line. It is cheaper to let the package run its course. Plus the Tv package is a waste of money. Never go with bt. Not student friendly.

23rd April 2014

This is a shocking product which does not deliver the channels it says it will. According to BT this is because of the area I live in, I can't return the box now without having to pay a cancellation fee. The cooling off period expires before the box arrives so how am I supposed to know at that point that I want to change my mind? The people at customer support were a disgrace and completely unhelpful. DO NOT purchase anything from BT.

21st April 2014

Avoid this service like the plague since BT upgraded (joke) the vision box this has been a nightmare updates itself in the middle of programmes, constant poor signal messages and the worst customer service I have ever dealt with. Counting down the days until my contract ends and I can switch to sky

10th April 2014

BT Vision is the worst product of its kind that I have ever purchased or used. Can I cancel the contract because it does not live up to its promises? No one I have spoken to at BT can tell me why I cannot get Text. I've been told in the past that it is only 2 weeks away from being available, that was 3 months ago.

John Hepworth
30th March 2014

I can not stress hard enough, anyone thinking about BT vision with upgraded software please for you own sakes think again ! Terrible software, terrible layout, I get 20mb broadband but still the channel swapping and selection hangs and buffers, playback and pause controls are clunky and good films are expensive. Can't wait to get back to sky ! Would have gone virgin for a change but they are not on the parade I live on. BT vision .. Don't bother !

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