Is BT TV any good? Review of channels, tech, features and more
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.
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
- Free BT Sport
- Choice of TV bolt-ons
- Live TV recorder
- Limited choice of channels
- Multiroom is an expensive option
- Sky Sports in an expensive add-on
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.
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.
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.
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.
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