BT Vision - Content and Features

John Archer

By John Archer



Our Score:



HD will surely be of interest to anyone reading this article, so we're pleased to say that at the time of writing around 83 of the films available in the PPV Box Office section are available in HD. However, with 571 Box Office titles in total, that makes the HD proportion around 20%. Which isn't as high as we might have hoped.

Luckily that's not the end of the HD film provision if you're an Unlimited subscriber, though. For the Vision Film section of archive titles features 116 HD films, out of a total selection of 250 titles. That's a much more impressive 50% or so HD hit rate for the back catalogue movies.

One bit of bad HD news is that there aren’t currently any HD TV shows on BT Vision, which is a shame given how many shows are available in HD via Netflix, for instance.

BT Vision

Finding films you want to watch is reasonably straight forward, thanks to the provision of plenty of genre based filtering options, and a solid if not exactly state of the art text search filter.

Highlight films

Among the Box Office titles that caught our attention at the time of writing were Arthur Christmas, Men In Black 3, The Lorax, The Hunger Games, Warrior and Prometheus.

Running through the other key content categories aside from the Box Office and Vision Film categories, the Kids section contains around 158 titles taking in such classics as Scooby Doo, Angelina Ballerina, Chowder. and Ben 10.

The TV section comprises 302 titles divided into Ambient (!I), Comedy, Drama, Documentary, Lifestyle, Nature, Reality, Sci-Fi and Fantasy, Stand-up Comedy, Animation, Crime, Adrenaline, and Late Night themes. Channels covered include BBC, ITV, National Geographic, History, Sony Retro, Comedy Central, Warner TV, ABC, MTV, Discovery, CBS, Eden, World of Redbull, Sony Entertainment, TNA Wrestling, Really, Good Food, Home, Crime and Investigation. Though in many cases there aren't many titles available from each broadcaster.

TV talk

The TV section also features a few 'boxsets' of full and sometimes multiple series. Key titles here include Dark Blue, The Forsyte Saga, Reaper, Spooks, The Shield, Ashes to Ashes, Vampire Diaries, Dirty Sexy Money, League of Gentlemen, The Killing, Black Adder, Doctor Who, and Grey's Anatomy.

The Music section is a bit weird. It has this week's top 40 as its main attraction, which is fair enough, but outside of that you only seem to get around 1000 videos. This might sound a lot, but it doesn’t take much exploring to realise that it’s far from comprehensive.

BT Vision

The biggest problem with the music section, though, is that each video you want to watch costs 50p. And this only gets you a 24-hour 'rental'. This hardly makes commercial sense when you consider you can buy tracks permanently for not much more than that on iTunes!

Sports stream

Moving swiftly on to the Sport section, this has 195 streamable titles. But most of the content is very niche; think wrestling, poker, extreme sports and so on rather than mainstream sports fare. To be clear, this sport channel is not to be confused with the Sky Sports offering available with the Sports pack.

More weirdness is in store with the 'Essentials on Demand' section. This seems to be a repository for anything that can't be classified anywhere else, such as Karaoke versions of Frost the Snowman and Last Christmas';and a Happy Mondays Call the Cops concert. Items here cost around £1.70 each.


Exploration over, it's time to see how the BT Vision service performs. Streaming three or four of the headline titles and TV shows (you don't download them anymore like you used to have to with the old BT Vision system), we were mostly pleasantly surprised with the results.

BT Vision

For starters, the streaming is impressively solid and stable - provided your connection is up to the job, of course. Speaking of which, if you choose to watch an HD title, the service runs a speed test on your broadband service first to see if you're likely to be able to watch HD content satisfactorily.

Smooth streams

With our national average 6Mbps broadband connection there was a pause for three or four seconds after we’d selected a title, but then it started streaming smooth as silk with none of the sort of stuttering and glitching you can get with some rival services in the early moments of a stream. In fact, we suffered not even a momentary buffering pause throughout our tests - even while watching the HD version of Prometheus. Simultaneously using both an iPad and laptop for Web browsing also failed to disrupt the stream’s quality.


October 19, 2013, 12:12 pm

I have been a BT customer for a number of years now.

I recently up graded my BT package. This was due to be
activated on the 7th October.

All the equipment arrived as agreed, i plugged the equipment
in and found i could not connect my BT Vision box to the internet via my power
line adapters.

I contacted the technical department and they confirmed the
power line adapters were faulty and i would need new ones, the operator told me
he could not place an order until 6pm and that he finished at 4.30 pm so i
would need to phone in the following day and it would be sorted out straight

I contacted BT the following day and was told as the order
was still active and new power line adapters could not be ordered and i had to
phone in 24hrs later.

This i did to be told that the order was still active and i
would have to phone back 2 hours later.

This i did and was told the order was still active and there
was nothing the operator could do, he said he would transfer my call to the
correct dept, he cut me off and at this point i had enough of being messed

I contacted BT again and explained the situation and that i
wanted to cancel the order, i was told i could not as i needed to give BT a reasonable amount of time to sort the problem, i asked what a reasonable amount of time was, i had been paying for a service for four days, spent hours on the phone trying to sort the problem out and had been fobbed off several times. The operator could not find the definition for a reasonable amount of time even after asking his manager.

I was asked if i could give BT one more chance to sort this
problem out and to give it 48 hrs and he would call me back with a solution. To
his credit he did phone back, the order had been closed and he ordered me what
he said was the latest power line adapters.

The adapters arrived on the Tuesday and i installed them and
they worked.

On the Friday the power line adapters failed and i contacted
BT again, i was put through to the faults department and it was confirmed that
the adapters had failed. The operator asked me to describe the adapters and
then stated that those are the old ones and i will send you the up to date
ones, even though i had already been told i would be in receipt of these previously,
they are due to arrive this coming Tuesday.

This will mean that in two weeks of paying for this service
i have only had little over three days of full service.

BT vision is advertised as an easy and quick way to get on
line and to start watching catch up television, that is false advertising that
i will take up with the office of fair trading.

The service i have paid for has not been provided and i will
also take this up with consumer rights for a refund of my money.

BT is a land mark company that people put their faith in to
supply a service second to none, to be reliable, to sort any problems out
within a fair time frame and to be honest and open. This is not the BT i have


A very unsatisfied customer

Alistair Green

November 4, 2013, 7:41 pm

As a user very poor. box crashes at least once a day. On demand service freezes and is practically unusable. Have spoken to other BT customers who have similar issues. Counting the days to the end of my contract so I can go elsewhere. Yes - it is that bad


November 4, 2013, 11:32 pm

Hi Alistair I also have the Vision box and am not at all impressed. Constant crashes and slow downs. I didn't realise others experienced the same issues. Will keep an eye out and ask BT about it.

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