BT has announced a new TV Starter Pack, a entry-level service that’s free for 18 months.
Aimed at budget buyers the TV Starter Pack features a slimmed-down YouView box that gives you access to on-demand services like BBC iPlayer and Netflix – but doesn’t come with a hard drive.
While the new mini YouView box doesn’t let you record programmes, it does feature a time buffer. This pauses standard definition TV for up to 30 minutes and HD TV for up to 14 minutes, meaning you can skip back and relive those crucial goals, even if you can’t record whole matches.
The new BT TV box (DB T2200) is being given away for free with all BT broadband services. BT Broadband starts at £7.50/month (plus £16.99/month for line rental) for an unlimited ADSL-based service that provides download speeds of up to 17Mbps.
FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet)-based BT Infinity packages start at £15/month plus line rental, for a service that delivers top download speeds of 38Mbps and comes with a 20GB monthly cap. The cheapest BT Infinity package with unlimited downloads costs £23/month plus line rental for an up to 38Mbps service.
The launch of the BT TV Starter Pack sees is compete with TalkTalk’s entry-level Essentials TV product.
Essentials TV, which launched last year, costs £8.50/month plus £16.70 for line rental when taken as part of a broadband, TV and home phone bundle. Like the BT TV Starter Pack this gives you a driveless box along with access to the standard YouView catch-up library – BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD (soon to be renamed All 4) and Demand 5.
Unlike BT TV, Essentials TV doesn’t currently give you access to Netflix and you’re not able to get BT Sport. You can add Sky Sports channels for an extra £30/month on TalkTalk TV, which you’re currently unable to do with BT TV.
A recent ruling by Ofcom suggests that BT TV customers could soon be able to order Sky Sports channels whether they’ve got a YouView-based box or not. An ongoing dispute between Sky and BT means that only BT TV subscribers with a BT Vision+ box and a BT Infinity service can order Sky Sports channels.
The TV Starter Pack from BT will cost £5/month after those first 18 months are up. Customers also have the option to add BT Sport in HD for an extra £3/month provided they’ve got BT Infinity, plus Kids channels (including Cartoon Network and the Disney Channel) and the Spotify-esque Music service, containing videos from Universal Music’s catalogue, for an extra £3/month each.
TV Essentials from BT costs £5/month extra as standard. With this you get access to the same channels as before but you get a YouView+ box with a 500GB hard drive. This lets you record 300 hours of SD content or 125 hours of HD content.
Other things to note about the new BT TV box is that it doesn’t feature a SCART connection – it’s HDMI only. RF loop through is also not supported on the DB T2200.
All BT TV packages come with a one-off connection charge of £35. BT Infinity activation charges cost £30. When taken as a bundle, BT TV and Infinity costs £49 for connection instead of the usual £65.
BT has yet to announce if customers can get this new YouView box as part of BT’s Extra Box multiroom service, but we understand that an announcement on this is forthcoming.
BT YouView DB T2200 box specifications
• Model Name: DB T2200
• Dimensions: 13.1cm x 13.1cm x 3.3cm (WDH)
• Weight: 0.246 kg
• Number of channels: Receives over 70 TV & radio channels, including Freeview HD
• Video output resolution: 1080p/1080i/720p/576p/576i
• Dolby Digital Plus
• 1 tuner
• Low power standby mode (<0.5W)
• 1 x HDMI
• 1 x 100 Base T Ethernet (RJ45)
• 1 x USB 2.0 (rear panel)
• Subtitles and Audio description (English/Welsh/Irish/Gaelic)
• Menu Zoom facility
• Accessible Keyboard support