YouView Vs. BT Vision 2 – how do they compare?
We recently had a first look at two new TV services – YouView and BT Vision+ 2. With BT Vision 2 offering much of the same content as YouView and BT’s recent announcement that they’ll also release their own YouView box in the near future, we’ve put them side-by-side and take a look at what they have to offer.
|YouView||BT Vision 2|
|What is it?||A Freeview HD PVR that merges live TV with catch-up services such as BBC iPlayer and promises more on-demand (payable) services (eg Netflix) in the future.||A subscription-based Freeview PVR box that combines on-demand content with live Freeview channels. The on-demand content can either be paid for in monthly subscription fees or on a pay-per-programme basis.|
|When is it available?||It launches today and should be available from most major electronic retailers.||It’s available now, following the launch in June 2012.|
|How do I get it?||Buy the Humax DTR-T1000 YouView set-top box. BT and TalkTalk are releasing their own branded YouView boxes in the future.||The box is part of the BT Vision package and exclusive to BT. You’ll need to become a BT customer – or already be with them – and take on one of their BT Vision packages.|
|How much does it cost?||There’s a one-off cost of £299 for the YouView box. But you’ll still need an internet connection.||Free with a monthly subscription, choice of two packages:
- TV Essentials – £4 per month
- TV Unlimited – £12.50 per month
|What content do I get access to?||Freeview/Freeview HD channels and catch-up TV services: BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4OD and Demand Five – other services are expected to be included in the future – including Sky’s Now TV and Scottish broadcaster STV. Pay services such as Love Film and Netflix may also be compatible in the future.||It all depends on your package:- TV Essentials: Freeview, catch-up TV incl. BBC iPlayer. Pay extra for ‘on-demand’ programmes/films and box office films. TV Unlimited: Freeview, catch-up TV incl. BBC iPlayer, ESPN and extra programmes and films that can be accessed any time (not pay-per-view). Pay extra for Sky Sports 1/2 and brand new films from their ‘box office’. Unfortunately BT Vision doesn’t currently offer HD content.|
|How much content can I record?||Up to 300 hours recording time.||Up to 250 hours recording time.|
|What do I need to know about the internet connection?||A minimum of 3Mbps internet connection is required and there’s no built-in wi-fi. Internet connection is possible using a physical cable connection from the box to your router.||The box has built-in wi-fi to connect to the internet via the BT box. As a BT Vision customer, your broadband is supplied by BT.|
|What does Which? like about it?||It seems easy to use, having clear menus which are easy to navigate, with the option to search for programs and to search while you continue to watch a program at the same time. You can directly select on-demand programs by scrolling back through the last 7 days in the Electronic Program Guide. You also don’t automatically get tied into a monthly subscription and only have to pay a one-off price.||The menus are clear and you can find content a number of ways, eg by channel, subject and searching. You can continue to watch a program while you search for content at the same time. It offers a personal experience by highlighting recommended programs and films based on your viewing habits, letting you add favourite channels and bookmark programs to check later within the Electronic Program Guide. Access to channels and rated content can be removed, PIN-protected and customised, making it easy to limit access and stop young children watching programs they shouldn’t.|
If you’re looking to buy a new PVR, check out our advice on buying the best PVR.
Would you prefer to make a one-off purchase for a YouView box on-top of your existing broadband service or pay-monthly with BT’s broadband, telephone and TV (Vision 2) bundle? Or would you be interested in BT’s future YouView box? Let us know in the comments below.
On our first look, the YouView box impressed us with its slick interface, but there’s split opinion on YouView in the Which? offices: its release has come two years after we first caught wind of it and is now competing with the likes of the Tivo box from Virgin, smart TVs, PVRs and even games consoles which all offer access to catch-up TV services like BBC iPlayer and on-demand content like LoveFilm and Netflix.
The full review of YouView will be online from mid August at www.which.co.uk/youview.
BT Vision 2 is the first major update to BT’s seven-year-old Vision service. We were keen to see what improvements and features were available. BT has redesigned the BT Vision menus and EPG, added the new version of BBC iPlayer, an improved music player, and expanded on-demand content to offer TV, music and film.
We’re yet to test the BT Vision 2 box to see how it performs and if the redesigned EPG is an improvement, but we’ll let you know when we’re getting it to our labs.
If you specifically want the YouView service and aren’t a BT Vision customer it will be available with Talk Talk packages or it might be better to buy a YouView box outright (about £300). However, BT’s and Talk Talk’s subscription options might be a preferred alternative to those who don’t want to spend £300 in one go.
As an alternative, there are Freeview HD PVRs available from the likes of Panasonic, Sagemcom and Samsung which also offer access to BBC iPlayer, smart TV services, Netflix and YouTube.
What makes a Best Buy PVR?
This is just our summary comparison and first impressions of the YouView and BT Vision 2 boxes based on a short amount of hands-on time with the products.
Before Which? can recommend any product we have to put it through our rigorous test program. For more information read our how we test PVRs page or watch the video below.
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