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BT Vision - A Cheap Alternative
Member Name: Daisy_ttfn
Advantages: Cheaper than Sky, Easy to use, catch up service
Disadvantages: Basically a freeview PVR, Selection of programmes is old.
BT Vision is an On-Demand TV service from BT. I decided to join them when I moved into a new flat and the landlord was very picky about having holes drilled into his walls. I would have preferred sky, but because of the no holes policy and Virgin not available in the area it was either Freeview or BT Vision. Thinking I would be bored with Freeview I went for the BT Vision option.
When you order the service from BT they send you a set top box (just like Sky and Virgin) which has to be plugged into your router. To have BT Vision you have to have BT Broadband. It will not work with any other broadband service. This isn't too much of a problem as they do packages for the TV, Phone and Broadband and it doesn't work out too expensive, especially if you are a new customer. If your router is not in the same room as your TV (Who does?) and you don't want cables running through your house, the fear not you are supplied with a handy solution. In your package you will receive two devices that plug into your normal wall sockets, one next to your router and one next to your set top box. You then connect your router and set top box to the devices and they wirelessly sent information between themselves, meaning your set top box and router are wirelessly connected.
Once you have the set top box and router connected the rest of the setup is easy, you just follow the onscreen instructions and your done.
The set top box is basically a freeview PVR. You can watch freeview, set up recordings, pause live tv and even rewind it if you were already on that channel. The bit the subscription pays for is the On-Demand service. They currently have 2 different subscriptions. The cheapest one is £4 a month, but you have to pay for each programme you watch. The second one is £12.50 a month but you can watch as many on-demand programmes as you want (except for Box Office films).
There are loads of programmes and films to choose from. They are split into main categories and the sub-categories such as; TV (split into; Drama, Comedy, Documentary etc), Film (also split into Drama, Comedy etc), Kids, Music and Sport. There is also the Box Office which shows newer films but they are Pay per view on all the subscriptions and can vary from £1 to £5 depending on if its HD.
The menu system is easy to use. The freeview part has a onscreen guide where you can see what's on in the future and set up recordings. You just choose what you want to watch and press select on the remote. The on-demand section is also easy to use as it is split into the categories as before. You just find the programme you want to watch and select play.
Even though there is a wide variety to choose from most of the programmes are fairly old. This is one of the downsides of the service. There are a few newer programmes but the majority are a few years old and so you would have probably already seen it.
Another part of the on-demand service is the catch up. You can access the full version of BBC iPlayer and a selection of programmes from ITV Player,4OD and Demand 5. This service is great especially the iPlayer. If you forget to set up a recording you can watch it anyway using the catch up service. The other channels however don't have their full service on here, but I have found that all of the popular programmes from the last week are available, so chances are it will be there.
What I Think
I think that BT Vision is a good cheaper alternative to Sky and Virgin. However it has nowhere near as good selection of programmes, and you are basically just getting a freeview PVR. The catch service is good, but you could just watch it on you computer without paying a subscription.
Summary: A good cheap alternative, but nowhere near as good
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