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BT YouView+ TV review

Our Rating :

Smaller, quieter and faster, the new BT YouView+ box is a big improvement over the old one and still the same massive bargain

When BT first switched its Vision TV service to YouView, it launched with the Humax DTR-T1000. It made sense at the time, as this was the best set-top box available and, thanks to the way YouView works, didn’t need any customisation to work with Vision: you just plugged it in to BT Broadband and the box discovered the extra services available to it.

While that proved useful to get a first generation service out, the lack of customisation proved to be a slight detriment. For example, there was no way to directly access BT’s unique content from the remote control. This time around, with its brand-new YouView box, BT is back with its own custom box.

See all of the best BT TV package deals deals on uSwitch

Manufactured by Humax, the second generation BT YouView box is completely customised for BT. The first thing that’s evident is that this box is a lot smaller than the old one. In fact, it looks a lot more like a plain set-top box rather than a hard disk recorder.

This is largely down to miniaturisation of parts and BT opting to use a 2.5in laptop hard disk, rather than a 3.5in desktop drive. It’s not just smaller, as the processor has been upgraded, while noise has been reduced.

Round the back are the same range of connectors you’d expect to find on a modern PVR: Ethernet, HDMI and an aerial input for the dual tuners (there’s a pass through, so you can still hook up your TV’s tuner, too). There are also legacy ports for older TVs, including SCART and composite out. If you want to hook the box up to an external amp, you can use the stereo phono or optical and coaxial S/PDIF outputs.

You have to use the Ethernet port, as the YouView+ box has to be connected to the internet. It’s disappointing that there’s still no Wi-Fi, or even the option of Wi-Fi through a USB dongle. If your router isn’t near the BT YouView box, you’ll need to invest in a pair of HomePlug powerline adaptors instead.


Powering the box up for the first time will be immediately familiar to anyone who’s used YouView before, as the interface is standardised across all products. That’s no bad thing, as it’s extremely simple to use. All you have to do is let the box search for TV stations, then enter your postcode, so that the listing can be customised by your location. After a few minutes of set-up you’re ready to go.

We’ve said it before, but the YouView interface is one of the best out there. A dedicated YouView button brings up the main menu, which slides into view from the bottom of the screen. This then lets you choose what you want to do, including selecting on-demand, the TV guide, recordings and BT Vision. All the while, the current programme plays in the background full-screen, so you don’t have to stop watching.

One of the benefits of the new box is that the interface is now a lot smoother and slicker. In particular, we noticed the animations, such as the menu sliding up from the bottom of the screen where a lot smoother. It now just feels a lot quicker to move around, accessing all of the box’s features.


Live TV is likely to be one of the areas you want to access first, and the YouView EPG is still one of the best. It’s grid-view is clearly laid out and we like the thumbnail view of what you’re currently watching, as it means that you can keep watching while you set up recordings or work out what to watch next. From the EPG, you can easily page through the grid view to see what’s on and what’s coming up.

BT YouView+ EPG The YouView EPG is one of the best

Where YouView differs from other PVRs is that you can also use the EPG to step back in time by up to seven days, viewing what was on TV. If a programme that has already been shown is available in any of the catch-up TV services – BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD, Demand 5 or Dave – you can tap OK to fire up the relevant player and watch it by streaming the content over the internet. It’s this seamless integration with live and on-demand TV that we’ve not seen bettered by any product or smart TV.

BT YouView+ iPlayer HD The ability to step back in time and watch programmes on-demand is brilliantly implemented

Of course, as this is a full PVR, you can also set programmes to record. Again, the interface is really good. Set a programme to record on a standard definition channel, for example, and YouView will prompt you to record it in HD if it’s available. You can also set to record a one-off or an entire series, letting you set and forget for your favourite shows.

BT YouView+ record in HD YouView is smart enough to know that a programme is also available in HD and asks if you’d like to record it in this format if you select the SD version


As YouView has to be connected to the internet, the entire interface can use the connection to the max. This means that all of the EPG is populated via the internet, giving you more information on each programme than you’d get using a standard Freeview HD box.

It also means that you get the More Episodes option. Just select a programme in the EPG and hit the ‘i’ button on the remote and the dialog box gives you a More Episodes tab. This is populated with any episodes of the programme that are available via any of the built-in on-demand services.

BT YouView+ More Episodes Select a live programme and you can also see if there are more episodes available on-demand

The brilliance of this system is that you can spot a programme that you think you’d like to watch and catch up with any missed episodes before you start watching it.

The internet connection is also used for recordings, which are accessed through the My view menu. Anything you record pulls in the programme information and a thumbnail image from online, which gives YouView an incredibly polished feel.

We like the way that you can use the status bar when you select a recording to choose where in the show you want to start watching from.

BT YouView+ My View You can select where you want to start watching a recording from

Recordings can be locked, so that they’re never deleted. This is useful, as the box has optional recording management (turned on by default), which frees up disk space when you need it by deleting watched shows. You can also filter programmes by whether you’ve watched them or not.


As well as being able to access on-demand programming through the main interface, you can also use the dedicated section in the YouView menu to launch the players individually, such as BBC iPlayer.

The benefit of doing this is that you get access to the full catalogue of content available online, rather than just what was on in the last seven days. It’s up to each media partner to control their apps, which means that interfaces are inconsistent between each one.

BBC iPlayer, for example, has a full search to help you find content you want to watch; ITV Player just has an A-to-Z list of programmes. Things do change, though. 4oD launched as with only an A-to-Z view, but now has a full search option built in.

BT YouView+ BT YouView+ 4oD On-demand players have inconsistent interfaces. For example, ITV Player (top) only lets you browse A-to-Z; 4oD (bottom) and iPlayer have full search

It’s a little frustrating that there’s not just a single interface, but the important thing is that all the terrestrial services are here for you. Besides, there’s a good chance that you won’t have to jump directly into any of the players, as there’s a universal search menu built in. This lets you search for on-demand and live TV shows all from a single menu. It’s considerably easier and quicker going this route.

BT YouView+ search menu The universal search menu is a great way to find new content

One of the main points of YouView is that it was designed to be extendable, with new on-demand services being added. These include free catch-up services, such as Dave, but also paid-for services giving you premium content.

For example, you can now sign up for Sky Now using YouView. You pay monthly, with no fixed contract, to access a selection of Sky channels, with individual packages available for Movies (£8.99 a month), Sports (£9.99 for a day pass) and Entertainment, which includes Sky One and Sky Atlantic (£4.99 a month).

BT YouView+ players YouView has a range of other services available, including premium content through Sky’s Now TV

It might seem strange that BT, a paid-for TV service, would allow these other paid-for services to appear on the same box, but it’s rather a clever move. It means you can sign up with BT for a reasonable fee, yet use the same box to access the premium content you want from other providers. Overall, this huge choice is likely to mean that people won’t want to fully switch to another service, such as Sky, which is more restrictive.


BT’s own service remains as it did in the previous version, available as an app on the main menu. The ‘Vision’ name has been dropped, and now it’s just called the BT TV Library.

The big difference this time around is that BT has put a custom button on the remote control, so you can jump to Vision. This may be a little change, but it makes the system feel that much more integrated and customised.

BT has changed its pricing plans around a little, with different bolt-on channels and content available, depending on the type of broadband and TV package you have. One of the biggest changes is that BT is now offering lots of channels, streamed live over the internet.

For BT Infinity customers that sign up for TV Entertainment (£7 a month), you get a decent selection of extra channels including Discovery, Fox, Gold and Comedy Central. HD versions of the channels can be bought for £3 extra a month.

Sky Sports 1 and 2 can’t currently be added to YouView, and the offer on the site is just for people with the older Vision+ box. Sky Movies (11 live channels, and the newest content on-demand) costs £16 a month. On top of that, you get BT Sport 1 and 2, and ESPN for free, with the HD versions available by buying the HD add-on pack as above. Nine channels of children’s programmes are available for £3, too.

All of these channels are delivered via IP over the internet, but they integrate into the EPG as a live channel and, indeed, you can even set to record from them. It’s another great way that YouView manages to merge traditional broadcast and internet-based TV in one.

Those on regular ADSL BT broadband have the option of TV Essential, which costs £5 a month. This comes with no streaming channels, BT Sport is only available through an app, and you only get Sky Movies on demand for £16 a month. BT Infinity certainly gives you a lot more.

Both packages can get BT Film and BT Box Sets, which contains a pretty decent selection of on-demand films and TV, costs £5 a month. BT Music, which has its excellent video playlist creator, costs £3 a month.

Finally, BT BoxOffice lets you rent the latest movies from £3.50 with HD versions available. The selection is pretty good, and competes well with similar paid-for services from Sky and Virgin Media.


The new BT YouView box is a vast improvement over the old one: smaller, faster and quieter. With BT TV evolving there’s now a greater range of content available, particularly if you go for BT Infinity.

Picking the exact package you want is a little trickier, but you can add and remove additional channel packages to the base as you need them. Pricing is a little tricky, as the activation fee is either £35 (ADSL) or £49 (Infinity), with various broadband deals available, too. Taking the maximum cost of activation (£49) and the maximum monthly price with no extras (£7 a month), with an 18-month contract, and the BT YouView+ box (free) costs you £133. Given you’d have to spend at least £200 to get any other YouView box, that’s really a massive bargain.

The beauty of YouView is that after the contract period, if you decide to cancel BT Vision or change broadband provider, the box is yours and will continue to work; only the BT Vision will just disappear from the menus. Given all that, BT Vision really is a bargain. See all of the best BT TV package deals deals on uSwitch


AwardBest Buy


Analogue tuners0
Digital tuners2
Hybrid tuners0
EPG days7
Dual-channel recordingyes
Series linkyes
Video recording formatFreeview HD
Certified Freeview Playbackyes
Picture in Pictureno
Interactive content supportyes


Analogue tuner RF inputs0
Digital tuner RF inputs1
Hybrid tuner RF inputs0
RF passthrough sockets1
HDMI outputs1
Component outputs0
Output resolutions1080p, 720p, 576p
Total SCART sockets1
S-Video input0
S-video output0
Composite inputs0
Composite outputs1
Stereo phono inputs0
Stereo phono outputs1
Coaxial S/PDIF outputs1
Optical S/PDIF outputs1
Surround sound formatsnone
Other ports10/100 Ethernet, 2x USB


Optical driveno
Optical drive typeN/A
Audio playback formatsN/A
Video playback formatsN/A
Image viewing formatsN/A


Power consumption standby0W
Power consumption on18W
Extrasremote control

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB

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