Classic British TV is a real tonic amid the stress and strain of the lockdown. And there's over 1,000 hours of it on Britbox, which is now available on BT TV for the first time. We take a look at what it's got to offer.
Streaming service Britbox is now available on BT TV YouView boxes, bringing with it a trove of vintage comedy, drama and documentaries from the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 archives.
Arriving just in time for the lockdown, we take a look at what you get with Britbox, how you get it and how much you should expect to pay.
How do I get Britbox on BT TV?
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The Britbox is being rolled out to BT TV YouView boxes as we speak, in the form of an over-the-air software update. To get it, you don’t need to do anything. The app will just appear when your YouView box’s software has updated.
BT is staggering the rollout of software updates, with T2100, T2200 & T4000 devices all due to be upgraded. So if you don’t have the Britbox app on your box just yet, sit tight. It’ll get there in the end.
What you may want to do, though, is check your software is up to date. You can do that by heading into the settings section on your box.
If for some reason, the daily update-check hasn’t happened automatically, you can force the software to update from within this setting.
Of course, if you can’t wait until your box gets updated you can sign up for Britbox and watch it on your home computer, tablet or smartphone. There are versions of the app for Android, iPhone, Apple TV and Samsung TVs.
How much is Britbox?
As with rival streaming services’ free-trial schemes, your first month of Britbox is try-before-you-buy and will cost you nothing.
Thereafter, expect to pay £5.99 per month. That means it substantially undercuts the likes of Netflix and Now TV. But given that Britbox’s library is composed of classic shows rather than original content, that’s only to be expected.
Contracts work on a 30-day rolling basis, which means you’re free to cancel whenever you like. And you’ll have to pay monthly, since there’s currently no option to sign up for a year for a reduced rate.
Right now, there’s also no option to get Britbox for a reduced price when you sign up for a BT TV bundle. So alas you won’t be able to save money that way either.
What’s on Britbox?
In a nutshell, it’s a greatest-hits album for shows made by the BBC, ITV, Channel 5 and Channel 4. And there’s well over 1,000 hours to get through.
To give you some idea of what to expect, currently you can see Downton Abbey, Doctor Who, Gavin and Stacey, The Inbetweeners, Only Fools and Horses, Peep Show and Spooks, along with the likes of Alan Partridge and children’s classics Gerry Anderson’s Thunderbirds and Press Gang.
Is Britbox any good?
At a time when cosy TV and nostalgia exerts a particular pull, you can see the appeal of Britbox. And the shows are a welcome tonic for the times when you’re a bit over all the gloss, sheen and trendiness of Netflix.
It’s not all good, though. For one thing, quite a few shows on Britbox are available elsewhere for free. And it’s a shame you can’t set up profiles for different users, which in turn means there’s no personalised recommendations.
Do I need a TV license to watch Britbox?
No, you don’t. Although you do need a license if you’re watching any BBC content, on live or catch-up, via iPlayer, there’s no such requirement for Britbox.