BT Vision review

John Archer



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BT Vision
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Our Score:


Having recently spent some serious time exploring the home movie experience offered by Sky's HD service and the Xbox 360 download platform, today I turn my attention to the BT Vision service. Something I might actually have done some time ago, except for one small problem: I only recently went online with BT's own broadband service.

Whether you like it or not, you have to subscribe to BT Broadband in order to get BT Vision. It's easy to understand BT's commercial thinking with this approach, and I appreciate that it makes the download element of the BT Vision service easier for BT to manage technically. But I also suspect that many of the people who read TrustedReviews might not like the idea that they can't pick separate broadband from this HD home entertainment solution if they so desire.

The fact that BT Vision is only open to BT Broadband providers limits its audience in a way the Sky and Xbox services do not. This could potentially making it tougher in the long term for BT Vision to use subscriber numbers to lobby content providers when it comes to securing content. That said, we have little doubt that many, many people in the UK end up signed on to BT Broadband almost by default…

The BT Vision package starts to look more attractive with the discovery that its ‘V-Box' receiver is actually a Freeview PVR as well as an Internet TV box. The 160GB of HDD storage space it carries is decent too - that's on a par capacity-wise with Sky, and slightly more than even the top-spec Xbox 360 offers.

In terms of connections, the V-Box carries a couple of Scarts, a composite video output, an optical digital audio output, an RF antenna input, an S-Video output, two stereo audio output, a CI card slot for adding pay TV services to the Freeview package, crucially, an HDMI output and an Ethernet port.

Jon Williamson

April 30, 2009, 12:53 pm

I am very surprised by the low value rating - I have been using BT vision for a couple of years or more and am very satisfied. Once having paid for the box you do not have to pay a subscription. In fact I use it to stream a few films a month, ending up costing me around a fiver.

The lack of HD content and download times is disappointing, but should not affect your internet speed massively - as I understand it the amount of bandwidth BT Vision can takeup is limited, which is why it takes longer to download than the Xbox. And I am surprised by yourt comment regarding the picture quality of Freeview, in my experience, when upscaled to 720p it is vastly superior to other freeview boxes, including my Toshiba's built in freeview tuner.

My only reservation about recommending it now is that a new BT Vision box is due in the Autumn, which "may" unlock a lot of the features of the MS MediaRoom software (please BT, let it become a media hub!).

So if you are an occasional movie viewer, don't want to subscribe to a load of extra channels you won't watch and fancy a PVR for a song, I think BT Vision offers excellent value ...

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