Plusnet, the broadband provider that loves to remind us it’s from Yorkshire, also offers a subscription TV service. It’s only for existing Plusnet fibre broadband customers, and it is, in the grand scheme, rather basic compared to the likes of Sky or Virgin Media. So what exactly is available and is it any good?
|Number of channels||95|
|Can bundle with broadband?||Required|
|Broadband prices from||£18.99 per month|
As with most subscription TV services, the bulk of the channels are Freeview channels. But with Plusnet TV you also get 20 premium entertainment channels as standard. These are Animal Planet, Crime and Investigation, CNN, Comedy Central, Discovery, E!, SyFy, MTV, ID, History, Eurosport 1 and 2, TLC, alibi, Gold, W, Investigation Discovery, National Geographic, Nat Geo Wild, and Lifetime.
Also included as standard is BT Sport 1. This is the main BT Sport channel and gives you live Premier League and Champions League football.
The only HD channels included in a standard Plusnet TV subscription are the Freeview HD channels. These are BBC One and Two, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 4+1, 4seven, Community, CBBC and CBeebies, plus STV in Scotland.
BT Sport – Plusnet is the only TV provider other than its parent company BT to offer BT Sport as standard. Granted, it’s only BT Sport 1, whereas with BT you get the whole channel collection thrown in as standard. But BT Sport 1 is home to live Premier League football – and you won’t find Sky or Virgin Media giving that away for free.
SyFy – You can take your pick of any of the 20 premium entertainment channels that Plusnet includes with its standard TV subscription, as they all cater for different tastes. But SyFy is home to shows you can’t watch anywhere else, including Marvel’s Runaways and Dimension 404, Teen Wolf, and old favourites like Star Trek.
If you sign up to Plusnet TV you’ll be given the choice of two YouView boxes. Both carry the same monthly fee and give you access to the same channels, but the upfront cost varies depending on the box you choose.
The YouView+ box is the best set-top box offered by Plusnet. It allows you to record up to 150 hours of HD or 300 hours of standard definition TV. You can also pause and rewind live TV, and access on-demand content from the likes of BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, My5 and (if you have a subscription) Netflix. If you download the YouView app, you can even set up recordings remotely using your phone.
The seven-day scroll back is a nice feature that allows you to access programmes from the previous week on demand directly through the on-screen TV guide.
The more basic YouView box still comes with all the same channels, the same apps and seven-day scroll back. But there’s no recording function and you won’t be able to pause and rewind live TV. The decision comes down to the difference in upfront cost and how much these features matter to you.
We’ve already mentioned that you get BT Sport 1 as standard with Plusnet TV, but if you want all of the BT Sport channels you can have them for an extra monthly fee. The additional channels include BT Sport 2 and BT Sport 3, which show a range of sports including cricket, tennis, UFC and even poker. There’s BT Sport/ESPN, which features the best of US sport plus some football from the continent, and BoxNation with its mix of live boxing, classic fights and documentaries.
The BT Sport channel pack also includes access to the BT Sport app, so you’ll be able to watch all that great sport on the go.
Add Entertainment Plus to your Plusnet TV subscription and you’ll get 11 extra premium channels. They are Comedy Central Extra, MTV Music, Movies 24, H2, TCM, Eden, Good Food, Discovery Science, Discovery Turbo and MTV Classic. It’s only an extra couple of quid a month so even if you only want to watch one or two of these channels it’s probably worth it.
Plusnet’s standard channel lineup doesn’t offer much for kids beyond the BBC channels, but you can add 10 more kids channels if you so wish. Included are Boomerang, Cartoon Network, Cartoonito, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Nick Junior, Nick Toons, Nickelodeon and Nick Jr Too.
We said earlier that Plusnet only offers a limited number of channels in HD. You can rectify this situation by adding the HD channel pack. It gives you HD versions of a good number of the premium channels we’ve already talked about including SyFy, Discovery and Eurosport, plus Freeview channel Dave. If you combine this pack with the BT Sport add-on, you’ll also be able to enjoy all the BT Sport channels in HD.
Plusnet TV is really only aimed at existing Plusnet fibre broadband customers. Even then, in order to take YouView TV from Plusnet you’ll have to commit to a new 18-month fibre broadband contract.
You can’t get Plusnet TV on its own. It’s only available to existing Plusnet fibre broadband customers.
If you’re an existing Plusnet fibre broadband customer and are happy to commit to a new contract, then Plusnet TV is a good option. The inclusion of premium entertainment channels and BT Sport 1 as standard is commendable. But the lack of HD channels is disappointing and the recordable YouView+ box comes with a hefty upfront fee.
For those who aren’t already Plusnet broadband customers, the company has an excellent reputation for customer service and you might well want to consider switching. But its TV offering probably isn’t strong enough to attract new broadband customers, not when you compare it to the likes of Sky or Virgin.