BT Youview in 2020

BT’s main TV service, basically Freeview with a few subscription channels and streaming services built in.

User Interface

The interface is quite different compared to what Sky or Virgin use with this reliance of pictures/tiles to browse through different programs. All which rely on an internet connection.

The MyTV section shows recordings made, and programes on your watch list. Currently Nowtv supports this, programs you bookmark to watch later will then appear here.

Bad things? Well you cant directly access the apps or recording through the remote, you have to highlight the banner and press left, which I found clunky. They should but colour button shortcuts to access these areas. It would be far easier if you could press the green button to go directly to the apps section, and the yellow button to go directly to recordings then these buttons are unused on the banner. The search option is also redundant since there is a dedicated button on the remote to access search.

It’s worth mentioning also that the remote does not have a dedicated apps or recordings button, so in order to access them you have to press the Home button to call up the banner, then press Right to select MyTV.

TV Guide

The main TV guide interface. The guide is presented using a grid like design which shows programmes broadcast today. You can also navigate to programs broadcast in the future which will give you the option to record or set a series link. The guide can also give recommendation’s on that to watch next and what’s being broadcast now.

Series links can also be set, but unlike Tivo they are not as intelligent. You cannot configure them to exclude certain broadcasts such as reruns, or to record certain seasons. The Youview box will just blindly record whatever is scheduled on that channel. It does ignore repeated episodes broadcast on +1 channels.

Subscription Channels

The NowTV channels appear here, along with the regular BT channels if you are on one of their classic entertainment packages. These channels are streamed through the IP connection. the selection offered by NowTV is quite limited compared to the classic TV packages that BT had provided previously, and rumors suggest they plan to adopt only the NOWtv packages, meaning that other channel packages will be discontinued. This wouldn’t be so bad if NOWtv actually offered channels that BT previously offered.

BT Player

BT’s main store for its TV programs where they can be purchased. Some stuff may be bundle into the existing subscription like the AMC programs. This requires an active BT broadband subscription and connection.

UKTV Play

A nice looking service let down by its horrible search interface. Seriously why not just display a qwerty keyboard on screen? Also you cannot use the keypad on the remote to type in search items, Why?

CBS

Catchup services for CBS’s free view channels, and also include Horror channel also

Britbox

Britbox was a recent addition to the service an is a collection of older programs previously broadcast by BBC and ITV (similar to the UKTV channels of the past) with promise of new original content.

Whilst the interface is nice, the on screen keyboard used in the search is terrible an no , you cannot use a USB keyboard.

Netflix

Netflix is fully supported, and it even supports the use of a USB keyboard for its search! Probably the only service on here to actually support that.

Nowtv

The main attraction to BT’s Youview, all of the Sky Sports/Movies and entertainment on demand is delivered through here. sadly it’s not a good experience, being slow to respond for that appears to be a very basic interface. The search keyboard is OK but you still cannot use a USB keyboard, meaning you must use the on screen keyboard, you also cannot use the number keys on the remote to enter letters.

Thankfully you can watch and record the NowTV channels in the guide so you are now wholly reliant on the app.

Amazon Prime Video

my5

Works well, but we are still unable to use a USB keyboard in order to search.

itv Player

Provides access to all of itv’s shows and has a god awful search keyboard. No USB keyboard support either. Rather than include a proper working keyboard for search they would rather virtue signal

All4

Channels 4’s on demand service (that mysteriously disappeared off Freesat…)

BBC iPlayer

Misc onDemand

Whilst Youview support’s MHEG5 text services, certain streaming extensions are unsupported, instead these services must be accessed via the Youview apps section

Settings

Help & Support

Error Messages

Summary

  • Ideal as a smart TV platform, as all the popular apps are supported
  • Interface is OK, but colour buttons are underutilized, and common features are hidden under menus (like MyTV/Recordings)
  • Poor support for keyboards for entering text, although Youveuw supports USB keyboard for control, this cannot be used to enter text with the exception of Netflix.
  • Even though the remote number pad has alphabet letters on, this can only be used for the Youview search function, you cannot enter text for the catch up apps using the remote, unless you use the directional pad. This makes it time consuming to enter text.
  • No support for external hard drives
  • Unable to stream recordings to other Youview boxes, or to smart TV’s running the Youview app.

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