BT’s main TV service, basically Freeview with a few subscription channels and streaming services built in. You have the option to subscribe to BT’s entertainment packages (which are currently being phased out), BT Sport package, or NOWtv packages which feature Sky entertainment, sports and movie channels.
Whilst this was meant to complete with subscription services from Virgin Media, Sky and TalkTalk, it has suffered due to its reliance on using broadband to stream the subscription channels.
BT Youview had replaced BT Vision, which was also based on Freeview with on demand being delivered using the customers broadband connection, the difference being Vision featuring only on demand content, Youview offers streaming the actual channels.
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.
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.
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 rumours 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’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.
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?
Catchup services for CBS’s free view channels, and also include Horror channel also
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
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.
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 with it 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 actual BT TV guide so you are not completely reliant on the app.
Amazon Prime Video
Works well, but we are still unable to use a USB keyboard in order to search.
Provides access to all of itv’s shows and has a god awful search keyboard where all the letters are on a single row and no USB keyboard support either.
Channels 4’s on demand service (that mysteriously disappeared off Freesat…)
Misc on Demand
Whilst Youview support’s MHEG5 text services, certain streaming extensions are unsupported, instead these services must be accessed via the Youview apps section
Help & Support
- Ideal as a smart TV platform, as all the popular apps are supported here, this includes all the common FTV platforms (Itv Hub & BBC iPlayer) and the subscription services
- Interface is OK, but colour buttons are underutilised, and common features are hidden under menus (like MyTV/Recordings).
- Poor support for keyboards for entering text, although Youview supports USB keyboard for control and navigation, this cannot be used to enter text for on demand apps 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.
- Lack of native Wi-Fi support, Ethernet or power-line over Ethernet is the only way to go.
- Higher capacity storage options, currently only 500GB to 1TB are available, the latter only for the 4K model
- More OTT streaming services like PlutoTV or Plex Live TV, these can add further streaming channels
- More subscription channels, although BT seem to be phasing their classic entertainment packages in favour of only NOWtv packages. AMC seems to remain.
- Some subscription services are missing like Disney+ and Discovery
- More consistency with the on demand user interfaces