BT YouView - What's it all about?
What is BT YouView?
YouView is a great choice of set top box for your TV - it’s subscription-free, and lets you watch over 70 free-to-air channels. But with a BT TV (www.bt.com) package, you’ll get your snazzy YouView box included free of charge… with a few added extras.
YouView prides itself on being user friendly. Catch up is integrated seamlessly into the TV guide, for instance, meaning you can just scroll back in time to find the episode you want and YouView will go straight to the right catch up service. It’s also got some pretty good accessibility features, like easy access to signed TV, and an interface designed to work with screen reader apps on smartphones.
You have a choice of a basic YouView box - for watching live TV, catch up, and on demand content - or a YouView+ box, which also lets you record programmes, as well as pause and rewind live TV. BT’s Entertainment Plus and Total Entertainment packages both include a YouView+ as standard, while TV Starter has just the basic YouView (and lets you save a bit of dosh as a result).
In fact, BT has quite a few advantages over just a standalone YouView box. Every single one of its TV packages includes BT Sport (at least until 1 August 2017), and you can get loads of extra channels thrown in too. Plus you can add Bolt-ons, such as Sky Cinema, on a monthly rolling subscription.
And remember that it’s not quite available everywhere - use our postcode checker to see if you can get BT TV where you are.
What channels can I get?
Exactly which channels you get with BT YouView will depend on the package you choose. Your main choices are:
- Entertainment Starter - 70+ free-to-air channels. Includes all the usual BBC, ITV, and Channel 4 families, as well as entertainment like Dave and Challenge, news, lots of radio, and 14 HD channels.
- Entertainment Plus - All of the above, plus 25 extra entertainment channels, including Comedy Central, Discovery, and Eurosport.
- Total Entertainment - All of the above plus even more channels - including 13 HD and nine kids' TV ones - and the opportunity to add BT Sport Ultra HD.
You’ve also got the option to add Bolt-ons for even more channels. There’s Sky Cinema for the movie buff, Sky Sports Main Event and Extra for the armchair athlete, HD Extra to make the most of your HD telly, and more. And don't forget BT Sport - free with any package until August 2017.
Have a gander at our full guide to BT TV channels for the complete lowdown.
What’s good about BT YouView?
- Widely available - YouView is available almost anywhere, and BT broadband has the widest availability of all UK providers (though it’s always best to use our postcode checker anyway)
- YouView (or YouView+) box is free with all BT TV packages
- BT Sport is included as standard (until August 2017)
- Good value for money - BT TV is generally more affordable than Sky or Virgin Media, and TV can be added onto a broadband and phone package quite cheaply
- YouView with BT is more customisable than standalone YouView - different packages offer extra channels, and Bolt-ons offer even more
- Bolt-ons are flexible, with monthly rolling subscriptions so you can add or remove them at any point
- User friendly with good accessibility features
- Great for movie buffs, with Sky Cinema, BT Box Office, Netflix, and Curzon Home Cinema all available
What’s bad about BT YouView?
- Not as many channels as other providers, such as Sky
- Gets expensive when extra channels and services are added
- BT Infinity is required for various extras, and a download speed of at least 3Mb is needed for basic on demand services
- …and BT Sport requires at least 6.5Mb download speed to watch it live (though you can still watch online or via the app)
- Range of HD channels is limited, with fewer offered than Sky or Virgin Media
- Not all BT Bolt-ons are available with every package
- YouView box can be slow to start up