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Is BT TV any good? Review of channels, tech, features and more

Luke Thompson
Wednesday, June 24th 2015

BT TV comes with the BT Sport Pack 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.

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.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Free BT Sport
  • Choice of TV bolt-ons
  • Live TV recorder

Cons

  • Limited choice of channels
  • Multiroom is an expensive option
  • Sky Sports in an expensive add-on

What we like

Free sporting action

BT Sport currently offers four standard definition channels – BT Sport 1 and 2, BT Sport Europe, 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. The BT Sport Europe channel will feature 351 matches from the UEFA Champions League and Europa League next season. 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 change in the future.

Choice of TV bolt-ons

BT TV offers much more choice with its TV bolt-ons. If you want to keep the kids entertained you can go for the Kids bolt-on. This comes with nine channels, including Nickelodeon, Disney channel and Cartoon Network. You also get on demand content so the kids can watch their favourite shows without any adverts. Plus, you can subscribe to Netflix, which lets you watch TV shows and films whenever you like for a monthly fee.

Live TV recorder

When you take out the premium TV package – Entertainment Plus – you receive a YouView+ box included for free. This will allow you to pause, rewind and record content. With the cheaper TV packages you get a Youview box for free. This box allows you to pause and rewind live TV, however it won’t let you 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 70 standard definition channels depending on your package, compared with the hundreds of channels available through Sky or Virgin Media. You also get fewer high definition (HD) channels too.

Multiroom is an expensive option

BT has rolled out its very own multiroom service, called Extra Box. With Extra Box, you can have an additional YouView or 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 Mini YouView or YouView+ box. The Mini YouView box costs £49, however the YouView+ box is pricer (£99) as it allows you to record TV content. BT recommends a minimum broadband speed of 23Mbps 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 will get a download speed this fast unless you’re on the premium Infinity 2 service).

Sky Sports is an expensive add-on

Sky Sports is available as an add-on if you purchase one of the Entertainment packs. However it costs £16.50 extra per month for a single channel – Sky Sports 1 or Sky Sports 2. You can get both of these channels together for £22 per month but they still only account for a portion of Sky’s total sports offering, which is available in full – direct from Sky – for £25.50.

Package comparison

  • Broadband
    Max Download Speed38Mb
    Max Upload Speed9.5Mb
    Monthly UsageUnlimited
    Digital TV
    TV Channels111
    SD Channels99
    HD Channels12
    Home Phone
    Daytime Calls9.00ppm
    Evening Calls9.00ppm
    Weekend CallsInclusive
    Pricing & Contract
    Monthly Cost
    -
    £17.50
    Upfront Cost£55.95
    Contract Length12 months
    Line Rental p/m£16.99
    Average Monthly£39.15
    First Year Cost£469.83
    Lifetime Cost£469.83
    See deal →
    or call 0800 380 0064
  • Broadband
    Max Download Speed76Mb
    Max Upload Speed19Mb
    Monthly UsageUnlimited
    Digital TV
    TV Channels116
    SD Channels104
    HD Channels12
    Home Phone
    Daytime Calls9.00ppm
    Evening CallsInclusive
    Weekend CallsInclusive
    Pricing & Contract
    Monthly Cost
    -
    £40
    Upfront Cost£41.95
    Contract Length12 months
    Line Rental p/m£16.99
    Average Monthly£60.49
    First Year Cost£725.83
    Lifetime Cost£725.83
    See deal →
    or call 0800 380 0064

Availability

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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Conclusion

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 BT Sport Pack is a major move for the provider and will be a big pull for fans who want to watch coverage from the UEFA Champions League and Europa League. However, those serious about their telly time may find it lacking in certain areas, such as the lack of channel choice in comparison to the competition.

Visit BT TV →

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