The switch to BT TV started in 2012, when the BT Vision + set-top box was replaced by YouView. The following year, BT launched BT Sport, its Sky Sports competitor, which helped make BT the third most popular subscription TV provider in the country.
Since then, BT has made Sky Cinema, Netflix and more available on BT TV. Now you can watch a huge range of shows, movies and music videos whenever you want, and customize your package to suit your taste and budget.
What can I get from BT TV?
When you sign up for BT TV, you usually get a YouView box – a nifty kit that combines Freeview TV with online catch-up, on-demand hardware, and a range of apps, including Netflix.
BT TV is only available when paired with one of the company’s broadband and phone plans, and basically comes in three versions:
- Entrance – gives you a compact YouView box that allows you to pause and rewind the TV, but unfortunately not to record it. You get 80 Freeview TV and Radio channels, and catch-up TV from BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5. If you want more you can add additional channels as channels.
- Entertainment – you’ll get everything you get with Starter, but with a superior YouView + box – which lets you record up to 300 hours of TV and pause and rewind live shows – and over 25 premium channels, including Comedy Central, Syfy and Discovery.
- Max – BT’s best TV package gives you a YouView + Ultra HD box, and you will also get around 50 additional premium channels. It also has the added benefit of free BT Sport including BT Sport Ultra HD – so you can watch those sporting moments in fantastic 4K definition.
You can also add BT Sport very cheaply on Starter or Entertainment, of course – for £ 3.50 per month.
Live TV comes through aerial, but to access catch-up TV, pay-per-view boxes and additional channels you will need an internet connection. BT fiber is therefore by far the best option if you are looking for the smoothest experience – it is faster and more reliable than standard BT broadband.
That said, if you don’t want fiber-optic internet, or can’t get it in your area yet, you can use standard broadband – it won’t be as fast, but provided you have download speeds of over 2MB, you can still watch TV. The exception to this (there is always one, right?) Is BT Sport – read below to learn more about it.
To see which BT TV and broadband plans are currently available, including the latest specials, compare your options with our postcode checker.
What channels can I get with BT TV?
As standard, BT TV offers you 80 TNT TV and radio channels, including the main ones from BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5. The Entertainment package then offers you 25 other channels, including Comedy Central, Fox, MTV, Eurosport and National Geographic. .
A lot of online and on-demand content is also available. Some are included as standard when you sign up, while others can be added as bolts. These additional channel packages are billed on an ongoing monthly basis, so you can cancel at any time if you decide you don’t want them anymore.
The BT Sport pack is the jewel in the BT TV crown. You get four major channels that live stream 38 Barclays Premier League games every season, every Champions League game, FA Cup football, UEFA Europa League and top leagues around the world, every game from Aviva Premiership rugby, MotoGP races, UFC events and more. And – AND – it’s free with Total Entertainment.
Every BT user can register to watch online through a PC, Mac or smartphone app. To watch on your TV via YouView, you must have a connection with a download speed of at least 6.5MB. For this reason, every BT Fiber customer can get BT Sport on their BT TV, but only certain users standard BT broadband can.
BT Sport Ultra HD, on the other hand, is only available with the Max pack.
To learn more, check out our full guide to BT Sport.
You can also get Sky Sports Main Event and Main Event Extra with any BT TV plus BT Superfast Fiber broadband package (formerly known as BT Infinity). With BT Sport, that means you can watch a total of 154 Barclays Premier League games live each season – almost a fifth of games played – from the comfort of your couch.
Struggling to choose between BT Sport and Sky Sports, or are you tempted by both? We put them face to face in our guide: BT Sport vs Sky Sports.
Netflix is the newest addition to the BT TV family. If you are already a subscriber you can now watch Breaking Bad, Orange is the New Black, Daredevil and load more TV shows and movies on the biggest screen in your home with BT TV – no more leaning on a laptop ! And if you don’t have a subscription, you can add it when you sign up for BT TV and pay for it as part of your plan.
You can get Sky Cinema On Demand with any BT TV package, and if you get BT TV with BT Superfast Fiber, you also get all 11 Sky Cinema live channels – Action & Adventure, Comedy, Crime & Thriller, Disney , Drama & Romance, Family, Greats, Premiere, Sci Fi & Horror, Select and Showcase.
Home cinema Curzon
BT is the only TV provider with which you can rent independent films from arthouse specialist Curzon Cinemas, through its video on demand service Curzon Home Cinema. You can even watch movies the same day they are released to theaters.
BT ticket office
You can rent movies to watch whenever you want through the BT Box Office, which comes with all BT TV packages. There are hundreds to choose from – including the latest big guns – and it only costs 99p per film when there is a sale. You can also buy keep-alive movies starting at £ 3.99, which you can watch on your phone, tablet, and computer as well as on your TV.
Check out our complete guide to BT TV channels.
What is YouView?
YouView set-top boxes combine free live television, recording functions, and catch-up and on-demand broadcasts over the Internet. The best thing about YouView is that everything is really well integrated. Rather than having to manually search for a BBC iPlayer to catch up on that all-important Doctor Who episode you missed, you can just go back to it in the electronic guide, and the rest is done for you. It’s incredibly easy to use.
Each YouView box also allows you to pause and rewind the television. Some also allow you to record shows to watch later, although the exact recording options will depend on which of the two YouView boxes you get with your BT TV package.
You can also get additional YouView boxes for watching BT TV in multiple rooms. These additional boxes cannot record TV and cost an additional fee each month plus an upfront cost.
Read our full guide to BT YouView.
What’s good about BT TV?
- Complete BT Sport suite – including all Champions League matches – available with BT TV packages
- YouView or YouView + box free with each package
- Excellent value
- Customizable – you can customize your TV package to your liking
- Netflix, Sky Cinema, Curzon Home Cinema, and BT Box Office make this a great service for moviegoers
- Doesn’t require fast broadband speeds – anyone who can get BT Broadband with a download speed of at least 2MB can use the service
- Offers great broadband and TV packages
- Very easy to install, and you can install it yourself
What’s wrong with BT TV?
- Only available with a BT broadband and telephone plan
- Gets expensive when extras are added
- Fewer Sky Sports channels than other providers
- He doesn’t have a lot of HD channels, and the ones he does often cost more.
- BT Superfast Fiber required for additional live content including Sky Sports, BT Kids and Sky Cinema
- BT Superfast Fiber and at least 23MB download speed required for Extra Box
- YouView and YouView + are slow to start and the user interface is a bit clunky
Our latest BT TV offers
* Average speeds are based on download speeds of at least 50% of customers during peak hours (8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.). Speed can be affected by a variety of technical and environmental factors. The speed you receive where you live may be slower than stated above. You can check the estimated speed of your property before you buy.
What else is BT doing?
Take a look at other services you can get from BT: