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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
    Upfront Cost£41.95
    Contract Length12 months
    Line Rental p/m£15.99
    Average Monthly£32.49
    First Year Cost£389.83
    Lifetime Cost£389.83
    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 (40)

Geoff Mochrie
11 days ago

Very disappointing product . Nightmare to set up and far too complicated for the ordinary user . watch out for the cooling off period to cancel . This is 14 days but they only send the engineer to fit the router on the 11 th day . By the time you realise how rubbish the system is you are over 14 days from the order and then they want a massive lump to terminate the contract . I am getting on to Trading Standards about this . BT are shafting people it seems to me .

18 days ago

BTTV through youview is quite adequate as a low cost TV package, for those people who do not want 100s of channel. When it works its fine, but all too often there are problems getting it to work correctly, and when you then need to speak to BT its a nightmare. You get passed from one department to another, without anyone actually sorting the problem out! For a company that is supposed to be a leader in communications their customer service is totally inadequate. You often have to speak to their staff in India, and although they try and do their best, they do not have the training or experience to sort the problem out....you just keep going around in circles between various departments all over the country and further. Its no wonder that BTTV comes last in the 4 main suppliers of tv services when comparisons are made.....even Talktalk has pulled its socks up and now far exceeds BT's poor service. I am amazed that BT get away with dealing with customers in this way, and that they have not been really taken to task by the media......they are on borrowed time and need to get their act together quickly otherwise their tv customer base will suddenly disappear together with a knock on effect on their phone and broadband business.

robin percival
21 days ago

The BT you view box is an absolute load of c*** as is their broadband package totally dissatisfied with the whole thing Trouble is the prospect of changing everything over Including my business just doesn't bear thinking about so I'm stuck with this s*** until I have the bottle to do something about which suits them just fine because they don't have to improve their services just charge you for leaving

b tomlinson
23 days ago

in the last 6 months I have had 3 wifi routers 1 engineer 10 phone calls+ had several emails, my youview freezes, but sound still comes out. goes off repeatedly when watching internet channels like discovery or gold, it takes several attempts and several minuets to get it back on, it often does not record full programmes, it records adds before the program but stops recording a minuet or two before the end. Bt say I have not told them about the youview so the think its the WIFI, my WIFI gave up AGAIN, last Thursday evening, I contacted BT on Friday 31/7/2014, it arrived yesterday 5/8/2014, absolutely rubbish, BT has never supplied my with what they said they could, I was on to them last Friday for 3 hours, as I got to the person I needed to speak to, I was cut off. There youview is rubbish, I wish I had only had there internet

30 days ago

This tv system is totally useless allways going wrong, loses channels displays lost or weak signal and always have needs rebooting. If you are lucky enough to speak to someone all they do is tell you is that the transmitter is being worked on, and fobb you off . GO WITH SKY!

J Sheldon
29th July 2014

Worst thing we did should have stopped with sky.we changed because of the motorcycling,upto now only managed to tape 3 races it always fails. So beware you football fans.and the internet is not much better.

J Sheldon
29th July 2014

Worst thing we did.changed from sky for motorcycle racing nothing on bt sports tapes it's always going so you have to reset box.internet not much good either.if you are planing to tape the football beware!!!

Anthony Wakefield
26th July 2014

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!

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