Home  ›  Guides  ›  Can I get BT TV?
  1. Home
  2. >
  3. Guides

Can I get BT TV?

By Aaron Howdle
Wednesday, April 25th 2018

To get BT TV you have to also have BT broadband - there is no way around this. You can find out whether you can get BT broadband or BT Infinity in your area using the availability checker below. If you can get BT broadband, then you can get BT TV.

BT TV availability checker

Once you enter your postcode, Cable.co.uk will perform a live look-up and check all the available deals in your area.

Check BT TV coverage

Your information is safe with us. We won't share your postcode with anyone. See our privacy policy.

What is BT TV?

BT TV is the television service available to BT broadband customers. The service builds on a core of Freeview channels with extra channels like AMC and MTV which are streamed over your broadband connection. The introduction of BT Sport in 2013 raised BT's television offering from little more than Freeview by securing the rights to Premiership and Champion's league football.

Can I get BT TV without BT broadband/BT fibre?

No unfortunately you can't. What's more, if you intend to view UHD (Ultra High Definition or 4K) content then you will need a BT Superfast Fibre connection.

If I want BT TV, what do I need?

As mentioned above, you will need a BT broadband connection or BT Superfast Fibre for UHD (4K) programmes. Indeed, a BT fibre (previously BT Infinity) connection is also advisable for HD channels.

bt tv youview box

In addition, you will also need a suitable TV aerial for the Freeview channels, which form a large part of BT TV. You will also need to connect your BT TV YouView box to your broadband router, preferably via an Ethernet cable for the best connection.

If you intend to use your YouView box in a different room to your BT Smart Hub (broadband router) then it's a good idea to use Powerline network adapters. These avoid running lengthy cables between rooms. Powerline network adapters are essentially power plugs with Ethernet sockets, which plug into standard, household sockets. The internet signal is sent via your home's power cables between your YouView box and BT Smarthub. This is a good way to prevent annoying buffering issues by avoiding wi-fi, which is slower than a wired connection.

Will I get BT Sport?

There is no doubt that for many potential customers, BT Sport is a big draw. If you opt for the Starter+ Sport package or the Max package, you will get all four BT Sports channels. The Max package includes HD (high definition) versions of these channels as well. The Entertainment and Essential/ Classic packages do not have BT Sport included.

Can I get BT Sport if I don't have BT TV?

Yes absolutely. TalkTalk broadband and TV customers get a YouView box that is capable of showing BT Sport. However, you can't add it through TalkTalk itself. If you want BT Sport, you need to sign up directly with BT, after which you can view it on your TalkTalk YouView box.

bt sport football

If you are a Plusnet TV customer, you will also receive a YouView box with BT Sport Lite, which shows Premier League matches. You can add the full BT Sport channels to your package directly through Plusnet.

BT Sport is also available to Sky TV customers, but you need to sign up to a monthly subscription with BT first. The service can be activated as quickly as 15 minutes from signing up, but you may need to wait up to a day. In future, this will be a more integrated process because Sky and BT have struck a deal which should see BT Sport included directly in Sky packages by 2019.

Virgin Media customers get BT Sport included as standard in Virgin's top-end Full House and VIP bundles.

What is the minimum download speed for BT TV?

To receive the basic on demand service, you’ll need a steady download speed of at least 2Mbps. To subscribe to BT TV’s Extra premium channels, you’ll need a BT Superfast Fibre connection (previously BT Infinity)of at least 15Mbps. BT's website states that BT Sports in UHD (4K) requires 44Mbps to watch, so you will need to be sure your BT fibre connection is working correctly and achieving close to its top speeds.

Netflix recommends download speeds of just 3Mbps for SD (Standard Definition), 5Mbps for HD (High Definition and 25Mbps for UHD (Ultra High Definition or 4K).

What channels and on demand content come with BT TV?

There are four packages available from BT TV, two of which include the BT Sport channels, the other two are mainly entertainment-focused. The core channels are the same 70+ Freeview channels provided by any Freeview box and arrive via your TV aerial. Additional channels are streamed over your broadband connection. There are also plus one and HD versions of some of the Freeview channels.

breaking bad on amc

The Entertainment and Max packages include a range of extra, non-Freview channels, including AMC, SyFy, MTV, Comedy Channel, Discovery Science and kids channels such as Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and Disney Channel. Movie channels are a bit limited in their scope with TCM, Film 4, Universal Channel and Movies 24 being the sum of its offering. BT TV can't really compete with the likes of Virgin Media and Sky, but it may be enough for many people, especially where BT Sport is a priority. Our guide to the full BT TV channel list has further information on what's available with each BT TV package.

As well as live TV, a selection of catch-up services is also available via the YouView box. These include BBC channels, ITV, Channel 4 and AMC. In addition to catch-up, you can watch shows and movies from the BT TV Store and Netflix, if you have a subscription, plus NOW TV is due to arrive on BT TV's YouView box in 2019.

Can I record programmess and pause live TV?

You can indeed, but the different YouView boxes offer different capabilities in this area. There are three YouView set-top boxes available. The basic YouView box can pause TV for up to 30 minutes in standard definition or 14 minutes in High Definition, but cannot record programmes. BT's YouView+ box can pause live TV for two hours and record up to 300 hours of TV.

The top-end box from BT is its YouView+ UHD box, which can pause TV, and store up to 600 hours of recorded shows. The number of shows that can be recorded varies according to the length of the show and whether it is SD, HD or UHD. HD and UHD will take up more storage space, so you can't store as many.

Can I watch UHD (4K) content on BT TV?

You can, but you'll need the YouView+ UHD box, and a BT fibre connection. Of course you will also need a 4K or UHD capable television. The YouView+ UHD box comes with the BT TV Max package.

Can I watch streaming services like Netflix on BT TV?

Netflix is available on all the BT TV Youview boxes, but if you want to watch in UHD or 4K you will need the Max package and a BT fibre broadband connection. To make things a bit easier, Netflix subscriptions can be added to your order when signing up with BT TV.

At the time of writing, Amazon Prime Video is not available on YouView boxes. Another missing app is NOW TV, but since this is a Sky service it is expected to arrive in 2019, presumably as part of the same deal which will see BT Sport added to Sky TV packages. But for now, if you're looking for extra streamable content, it's just Netflix or BT's own BT TV Store at the moment.

Why do we need your postcode?

Once you enter your postcode, Cable.co.uk will perform a live lookup and check all the available providers in your area.

This ensures you receive accurate information on the availability of providers and packages in your area.

Your information is safe with us. We won't share your postcode with anyone. Guaranteed.