Cast 111 (May 15)
BT Vision Explored by FrequencyCast
BT Vision is a digital TV service that combines Freeview, a digital video recorder, and TV content delivered over broadband Internet.
At FrequencyCast HQ, we like BT Vision, as it offers a wider range of TV content, without tying you into an expensive contract.
Listen to FrequencyCast's BT Vision Audio Review (from Show 53). Take a listen!
What is BT Vision?
BT Vision offers digital TV, a high-spec TV recorder and thousands of TV shows and movies on-demand.
BT Vision is a home TV service that combines free TV from Freeview, a PVR (disc recorder) and on-demand content.
BT Vision is available to BT Total Broadband customers, and uses Broadband to stream TV shows, movies and sport.
The BT Vision V+ box from BT
Latest BT Offer: Get cheaper Sky Sports with BT Vision
When you order BT Vision, you'll be sent a set-top box, called a BT Vision+ Box. The box is connects to your broadband service, and offers the following:
- Access to over 40 Freeview TV and 20 radio channels on your TV (you need to connect to a TV aerial, and be in a Freeview coverage area).
- Record the Freeview channels (on the built-in hard disk, which holds up to 80 hours of telly).
- Pause and rewind live TV
- Record one digital TV channel whilst watching another
- An onscreen electronic programme guide, with up to 14 days of TV listings and series link.
- The biggie... video-on-demand. This is TV content that you can watch over a BT Broadband connection, and with BT Vision includes movies, a back-catalogue of TV shows, kids programmes and sporting events. You can also get on-demand access to special programming and a number of recent TV shows that you may have missed from BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.
What's on BT Vision?
With BT Vision, you'll be able to watch, record and schedule TV for channels such as E4, BBC3, ITV2, Dave, More4, Quest, Sky 3, Film4 and all the other Freeview channels.
Sporting content is offered by ESPN (free with the BT Vision Unlimited Pack), and Sky Sports 1 and 2
You're also able to watch over 7,000 TV shows and movies on-demand whenever you want from BT Vision's library, and BT Vision gives you access to TV catchup services from BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.
The BT Vision Electronic Programme Guide
BT Vision's been around since December 2006, and is growing in popularity. From mid-2011, the service has over 600,000 subscribers
With BT Vision you have the option to sign up to a subscription service, to get access to as much on-demand content as you can watch, or you can go subscription-free and you pay for the content that you watch. Details at get.btvision.bt.com
You install BT Vision yourself - no need for an engineer to call. The kit comes with 2 Homeplug / Powerline adapters, so you don't have to run cables if your Home Hub and BT Vision box are in different rooms.
Got BT Broadband? Sign up to Vision at get.btvision.bt.com
What do I need?
As we mentioned above, to get BT Vision, you have to be a current BT Total Broadband subscriber, and get speeds of at least 2Mbps on your Broadband connection. You'll also need one of those shiny BT Home Hubs too (currently free with most of BT's broadband packages).
The Home Hub is an Internet router that you'll need to connect to your BT Vision box. The Hub connects your broadband-enabled phone line, and also handles PC, PDA and VoIP connections to the Internet.
If you need a BT Home Hub, go for BT's Option 2 or Option 3 broadband packages - details at www.bt.com/btbroadband.
If you already have Broadband with a different provider, you'll need to switch to BT Total Broadband, as BT Vision's service is only available to those on BT's Total Broadband.
Installation is a "do it yourself" affair (no engineer needs to call). BT courier the box and you connect it to your BT Home Hub and TV set.
Movies on Demand from BT Vision Box Office
Movies On Demand, from BT Vision
The BT Vision+ Box
The BT Vision box is available to BT Total Broadband customers. The box has a 160gig hard disc for recording up to 80 hours of telly.
The box has a high-definition socket, a 14 day programme guide, supports Series Link, allows Live Pause, and provides access to loads of TV shows, sporting events and movies.
The rear of the BT Vision box - Note the two USB ports, HDMI (hi-def) socket, and the LAN socket
BT Vision FAQ
|Can I get BT Vision||
To get BT Vision, you need the following:
If you're not able to get BT Vision where you live, see our Digital TV options page for some alternatives.
One of our top questions is: "what channels do I get on BT Vision?"
BT Vision is essentially a Freeview receiver with a hard-disk, and the ability to get extra TV shows and movies over Broadband.
Live programming: Delivered via a TV aerial. The default channels available over-the-air, are therefore the same as the Freeview lineup - around 40 TV channels including BBC3, ITV3, Film 4, More 4, Pick TV, Yesterday, 5*, 5 USA, BBC News, Sky News, CBBC, Cbeebies and Quest. See the Freeview Channel List.
Internet content: Over Broadband. The on-demand content available for download is listed in categories: TV shows, movies, kids and music. There are no downloadable TV channels as such, or live programming that can be watched online. Instead, you use the on-screen programme guide to browse through lists of programmes, or search for programmes or films to watch over your Broadband connection. To get a feel for the type of content available for download, listen to show 12.
Sport: Live football from Sky Sports and ESPN, as well as on-demand sporting content . Also, Coca-Cola Football League and Carling Cup matches and live US PGA Tour golf.
On-demand TV content is available from a number of TV channels. A selection of TV programming is available for download from the following channels:
We've been asked if the BT Vision service will work with a high definition TV. The answer is yes... sort of.
The BT Vision box is "HD ready", so will support connection to an HD TV. The box has an HDMI socket for connection to an HD TV.
Freeview started broadcasting HD programming in December 2009, but Freeview HD uses DVB-T2 technology, which is not included in the BT Vision V+ box. This means the current box won't be able to show the new Freeview HD content. There are rumours of a third generation V+ box coming to BT Vision, but we can't confirm this.
Although Freeview HD programming is not supported by BT Vision at this time, the current BT Vision V+ boxes do support a small amount of "on demand" HD though. A number of HD movies and TV series are available on the BT Vision box for download over Broadband for playback on an HD TV.
|BT Vision box||Some specifics on the BT Vision+ box:
The first generation grey BT Vision box is made by Philips, as is known as the Philips DIT9719 Hybrid IP Freeview Receiver and Recorder. A non-BT branded version was briefly on sale from retailer AdvancedMP3players in Feb 2007, but we've subsequently been told that this item was listed in error, and the only source for this box in the UK, is directly from BT.
|Freeview over Broadband?||
Site visitor Jaike asks: "Does the BT Vision box receive Freeview channels via the Broadband connection?
The BT Vision gets its live Freeview channels via a TV aerial, and not over Broadband. To get live TV, you need to connect the BT Vision box to a TV aerial.
If you're looking for live TV over Broadband, try TalkTalk TV.
|Locating BT Vision||
Theresa Catterall asks: "I'm interested in BT Vision. Does the TV have to be in the same room as the computer? I have BT Total Broadband Option 2 but I do not have the BT Home Hub. I use the BT Voyager 2091 Wireless ADSL Router".
If it's not appropriate for you to have your BT Home Hub sited close to your BT Vision+ box, you may find you're able to use a HomePlug or Powerline kit - These plug in to your home's mains sockets and allow transmission of data using your home's mains power cabling. We've heard of some instances where BT will provide you with one of these if it's not practical for them to run networking cables.
You can buy HomePlug and Powerline kits from PC World, Dabs.com or Maplin.
|BT Vision on a PC||
We had the following question from site visitor Martyn: "Can I access the TV recordings on my BT Vision from my PC, or do I have to go downstairs to watch everything?"
At the present time, you can's access BT Vision's On-demand content directly over the Internet - you need to have a BT Vision+ Box. Also, there's no way to extract the data on the v-box hard disk in a digital format that can be read on the PC.
A further question from Steve Eagle: "Is it possible to control viewing and recording of BT Vision from my PC assuming the PC is connected to the set top box and TV? I hate fiddling with the remote and on TV screen instructions.".
|Copying to DVD||
With a BT Vision set-top box, you're able to record live TV onto a connected DVD recorder, or copy recorded programmes onto a connected DVD recorder.
To do this, connect a SCART lead from the SCART output to SCART socket on your DVD recorder. You need to set your DVD recorder so that it records from the appropriate Line In / AV / Aux feed.
A couple of things to note:
|Connect via wi-fi?||One visitor's asked: "Can you tell me if the hub is strictly wifi or will I be able to connect it to the digibox wired? I currently have a home network between my pc and my BT iplayer and this is wired which is the way I like it."
The BT Vision box needs to connect to the Home Hub via an Ethernet cable, and not wi-fi. Rumour has it that wi-fi connectivity between digibox and the Home Hub may be added in the future.
|BT Vision in multiple rooms||
A BT Vision box connects to one of your home's TV sets, and to a Broadband connection (via a Home Hub). If you want to watch the output of your BT Vision box on another TV set in your home, here are the options:
Note that if you are using the BT Vision box to feed two TV sets - the box can only 'play' one thing at a time, so it's not possible to watch an on-demand video in one room whilst watching a live TV programme from the BT Vision box in another room. If you're not happy watching the same thing in two rooms, you may want to consider getting another Freeview box for the other TV set (remember, BT Vision gets its live programming over Freeview).
We've been asked if it's possible to have two V-Boxes in the same house. We're guessing, in theory it's possible - although both will have to be directly connected to the BT Home Hub by Ethernet, and it's likely that only one will be able to access on-demand content at a time due to the bandwidth needed to get video. Site visitor Jane tells us: "BT say that to have more than one Vision box you would need to have a second phone line and second broadband account!"
|BT Vision and Sky||
Q. How can I use a BT Vision box in conjunction with my Sky Box? I don't want to lose Sky sports. (John Quilty)
Q. If I go for BT Vision, can I get Sky Sports? (Ben Hastings)
Q. Will I be able to get Sky 1 on BT Vision? (Adrian Routledge, May 2007)
Q. What are the USB slots, especially those at the front, used for? (Mick Crammer, Apr 07)
Q. Do I have to use the Home Hub, or can I use my existing broadband router? (Andy Granger, May 07)
Q. Is it possible to surf the web on my telly using the BT Vision box? - (Daniel Underwood, Jul 07)
Q. Will I be able to record other digital TV channels, such as satellite? (Mark Brock, Sept 07)
Q. Despite having an outside aerial and the ability to receive Freeview channels, the signal strength is frequently lost in the evening. (Joanne, Jan 09)
Q. Is Catch-up TV with BT Vision free? (Clive)
Got a question or comment on BT Vision?
Call 020 8133 4567, or send us a message
Listen to FrequencyCast's BT Vision Audio Review (from Show 53). Take a listen!