What is BT TV? All you need to know about BT’s TV service

November 7, 2016


What is BT TV, what does it offer in terms of sports, movies and shows, and how does it compare to other services like Sky and Now TV? Here’s what you need to know to get started with BT TV, including how much it costs and the different packages on offer.

BT TV has been getting a lot of attention since it first appeared on the scene, as it not only gives Sky a run for its money but actually offers more, in some respects.

For one, BT TV was one of the first platforms to offer 4K UHD content and continues to deliver football matches that are exclusive to its BT Sport channel. That comes alongside the ability to pause, rewind and record TV, access catch-up if you missed your favourite show and even use video streaming platforms all from one place.

So how can you get BT, what does it cost and what does it offer? Read on to find out everything you need to know.

BT TV: What is it and can I get it?

BT TV basically delivers telly goodness via your TV aerial, which you can pick up using any freeview set-top box. On top of that, BT TV also offers on-demand content over your internet connection.

This all means that you can (with the right box) record, pause and rewind TV as well as watch catch-up telly, for another chance to check out everything you’ve missed. BT even offers 4K UHD content for its top-end box and will throw in its BT Sport channel no matter what package you go for.

Once you have a BT TV subscription, you’ll be able to access content via lots of devices. That includes your TV, tablet, phone and laptop, all via a web browser or the BT TV app. This is limited to a maximum of two devices registered at one time, however, so you can’t dish it out to your entire family.

BT TV: What you need to get started

To watch BT TV you’ll need a subscription package. Whichever you go for, you also need to sign up for BT broadband, as over the internet is how a big chunk of the content is delivered.

So you’ll need a TV aerial, BT broadband, a set-top box and of course a BT phone line. There are a few set-top boxes to choose from depending on what services you want, like UHD. More on this below.

You’ll also need to connect your set-top box to the BT router, either via the included 10-metre cable or via a Broadband Extender which sends the signal through your home powerlines – something BT also offers.

BT TV: What can I watch? Sports, movies and everything else

One of the most appealing aspects of BT TV is the inclusion of the BT Sport channel for free. Since this includes plenty of exclusive football matches that you can’t watch elsewhere (unless you head down your local of course), this adds some serious appeal to the BT TV package.

All the usual freeview channels that you can receive over an aerial are part of the package, meaning you get about 100+ channels depending on the package you go for.

You can also add Sky channels like Sky Sports and Sky Cinema. On top of that you can even access streaming services like Netflix right there on your set-top box. All of these cost extra, but it’s good to know they’re options if you want them.

BT TV: How much does it cost?

The basic Entertainment Starter package, which includes a limited YouView box offers 100 channels but starts at £3 per month on a 12-month contract.

BT’s Entertainment Plus deal gives you a YouView+ box with 108 channels and the ability to record 300 hours of TV from £10 per month.

BT’s Total Entertainment package offers 139 channels with 21 in HD, a YouView+ UltraHD box good for some BT Sport games at 4K, up to 600 hours of recording and AMC for free all from £18 per month.

All that is on top of a required phone line and broadband charges.

Broadband starts at £10 per month for new customers on the Infinity 1 option which hits 52Mb speeds and has a 25GB data limit and 5GB of cloud storage. Or go Unlimited Infinity 1 for the same 52Mb speeds but unlimited data plus 100GB cloud storage for £20 per month. The top end is the Unlimited Infinity 2 package for unlimited data, 500GB cloud storage and a 75Mb line for £30 per month.

On top of all that you need to pay a £19 per month phone line rental fee. So what does all that add up to?

The complete packages actually cost either £32 per month for 12-months for the most basic setup or £67 for the top-end setup. But you can mix and match everything to find a price in between to suit you. There are also quite often deals on so you should be able to get it for less.

Check out our guide to BT Sport prices, if you’re specifically interested in that.

BT TV: The set-top boxes

There are three set-top box options which are dished out based on the BT TV package you opt for, and each comes included with that subscription.

The entry level device is the YouView box, which is smaller than the others but also limited as a result. This is unable to record live TV, for instance. You’ll still be able to pause and even rewind live TV to a certain extent, but you can’t set entire shows to record.

Next up is the YouView+ box, which looks more like a full-sized set-top box unit. This can record up to 125 hours of HD TV.

At the top of the pile sits the YouView+ Ultra HD box which, as the name suggests supports 4K UHD content. This can record up to 250 hours of HD TV or 60 hours of UHD content.

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