BT YouView review
YouView is brilliant and the BT Vision app adds loads of extra premium on-demand content. It's hard to argue with the amazing value, too
Review Date: 5 Dec 2012
Price when reviewed: £49
Reviewed By: David Ludlow
With BT Vision the company managed to create a decent on-demand platform, backed up by a slightly average PVR that only supported standard definition channels. With the upgrade to BT YouView, the service is a whole new proposition, with the best catch-up services, BT Vision on-demand programming and, perhaps surprisingly, the option to add new subscription services, such as Sky's Now TV.
A large part of the change comes from BT's decision to move to YouView, rather than keeping its own platform. This means that BT hands over control for its PVR and what can appear on it. It would have been seen as an odd move a few years ago, but now feels refreshingly open and a lot less restrictive giving consumers more choice over what they want to watch.
The difference in the new system compared to the old is apparent from the get go. With the old BT Vision, you could only use the PVR and on-demand features while the box was connected to a BT broadband connection. With BT YouView you get the excellent Humax DTR-T1000, which isn't locked to a particular internet connection. Technically, then, you could take the PVR and use it on any internet connection and, crucially, the box doesn't become useless if you decide to switch broadband suppliers and want to keep using it.
The big difference is that if you plug the DTR-T1000 into your BT internet connection and you're a Vision subscriber, you get access to the BT Vision app with its on-demand content. It's important to point out that this isn't a special version of the DTR-T1000, but a feature of YouView. So, plug any YouView box into your BT broadband and you get the Vision app; conversely take your BT provided DTR-T1000 and plug it into a TalkTalk internet connection and you'd get BT's rival's services instead.
On-demand TV requires an internet connection, and the Humax DTR-T1000 has a 100Mbit/s Ethernet port on the rear, which you have to use, as there's currently no support for USB Wi-Fi dongles. BT will optionally provide you with a set of PowerLine networking adaptors, so make sure you ask when you order if you need them.
The biggest change to BT Vision is that it now has one of the best EPGs on the market, one of the best PVRs and the best catch-up TV services.
We covered the full run-down on YouView in our Humax DTR-T1000 review, but we'll look at the most important things in this review.
For starters, the set-up couldn't be easier. Just plug the box into your network and, via HDMI, to your TV and power it on. Follow the simple on-screen wizard to say where you live and the box automatically tunes itself into the Freeview HD channels available in your area. Once done, you're ready to go.
With YouView, the best thing is the clever backwards EPG. So, as well as being able to see what's on up to seven days in the future, you can step back in time and see what you missed, up to seven days in the past.
If a programme is available from one of the catch-up TV services from BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD or Demand Five, you can just click the OK button on the remote, the relevant player starts automatically and you start watching your show. There's no need to mess around in individual players' menus trying to find what you want, as it's all neatly integrated together.
On-demand is integrated throughout the EPG. So, select a programme that's on in the future and you get a list of other episodes that are available on-demand. It makes discovering and watching your programmes incredibly easy and blurs the distinction between live and on-demand TV.
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