Industry Pay television
Founded December 2006 (BT Vision)
October 2012 (BT YouView)
2013 (BT TV)
Headquarters London, United Kingdom
Area served
United Kingdom
Products Digital television
Owner BT Group
Parent BT Consumer

BT TV is a subscription IPTV service offered by BT; a division of United Kingdom telecommunications company BT Group, and was originally launched as BT Vision in December 2006. As of the end of 2015, BT TV has 1.4 million customers.[1]

BT TV provides on-demand content, 28 extra entertainment channels (18 of which are available in HD), 9 extra children's channels, 11 Movie channels (Sky Movies) and 5 live sports channels (BT Sport & Sky Sports). BT Sport channels are available in SD and HD through IPTV signals. BT Sport, ESPN and AMC from BT are now available in non-fibre areas over IPTV using copper multicast where available.

As BT TV transmits channels and content through IPTV, BT requires customers to sign up to the BT Broadband internet and phone service to use BT TV, with connection via BT's official router, BT Home Hub.

BT started rebranding its TV services – Vision and BT's YouView service as BT TV between May and August 2013.[2] On 11 April 2014, BT announced that the original Vision service will be closed down as of 30 June, with all customers getting a free upgrade to its modern YouView service.[3] The Vision service was, after August 2013, solely used to broadcast Sky Sports, as well as BT Sport for non-Infinity customers. Sky Sports 1 & 2 were made available to YouView customers on Tuesday 16 December 2014 following an interim ruling from the Appeal Court backing Ofcoms ruling that YouView is to be included in the Wholesale Must Offer of the channels.



When British Telecom (BT) was privatised in 1984, it was barred from providing television broadcasts over its telecommunication network, which meant that it was not possible for BT to provide a cable television service. The ban was designed to protect the new smaller telecommunications companies and the small cable television networks in the United Kingdom as it was felt that BT had an unfair advantage because its pre-privatisation monopoly meant that its equipment was already installed in virtually every home and business in the country. In January 2001, the ban was lifted.[4]


BT Vision was launched on 5 December 2006, competing with Sky, Virgin Media (then known as NTL:Telewest) and TalkTalk Plus TV (then known as Tiscali TV).[5] Initial industry reaction was positive although there was some criticism that set up costs were expensive and it was noted that BT Group were entering a competitive market.[6] In May 2007, BT Group launched a national advertising campaign for BT Vision.[7] BT Vision was the second IPTV television platform in the UK, after Homechoice TV.

The aim was to attract "hundreds of thousands" of customers by the end of 2007 and 2–3 million in the medium-term. However, adoption was slow and by February 2008 BT Vision had just 150,000 customers.[8]

Premium sport deal

BT acquired the rights to carry 242 same-day (but not live) Premier League football matches per season in a three-year deal covering the 2007–08, 2008–09 and 2009–10 seasons in a joint bid with BSkyB on 25 May 2006, prior to BT Vision's launch.[9] BT Vision also have the right to offer on demand coverage of 125 matches each season from the Football League and League Cup. This service ceased prior to the start of the 2010–11 season.

Between August 2007 and June 2009, Setanta Sports was available through BT Vision, via DTT and a smart card, offering Live Barclays Premiership and Clydesdale Bank Premier League games, as well as other sporting events such as US PGA Tour Golf and Magners League Rugby. BT Vision made a deal with American sports TV company ESPN[10] for carriage of its new channel which replaced Setanta on DTT.

The company announced the pricing of their Sky Sports packages in July 2010, following the outcome of Ofcom's review into pay-TV pricing in March, which directed Sky to reduce the wholesale price it charges for the Sky Sports channels.[11] The price charged to customers signing up for broadband, calls and TV with BT for a two-year contract results in the organisation making a "significant loss on the service",[12][13] allowing them to undercut the price charged by Sky to its own customers.[12]

Microsoft deal

On 7 January 2008, BT reached a deal with Microsoft where the latter's Xbox 360 console will provide BT Vision on demand content. The service was due to launch in mid-2008 but never materialised.

Sky Sports deal

On 28 June 2010, BT and Sky signed an agreement where Sky Sports 1 and 2 will be available for BT Vision customers.[14] This came a year after BT stopped offering Setanta Sports 1 & 2 on Vision after Setanta lost the rights to broadcast Premier League football.[15]

UKTV deal

On 22 March 2012, it was announced that BT would offer UKTV original content on-demand from later in the day. Featured programmes include, James Martin's Mediterranean (Good Food), Choccywoccydoodah (Good Food), Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (Home), Celebrity Fantasy Homes (Home), Tool Academy (Really), Bridezillas (Really), Amazing Planet (Eden) and Life on Fire (Eden).[16]

As part of the deal, UKTV started streaming linear channels to BT Vision set top boxes later in 2012. The first three were Watch, GOLD and Alibi further channels, Good Food, Eden and Home were to launch at a later date.[17] Dave, Really and Yesterday will likely not launch on the service as they are already available on Freeview, which is available through the BT set-top boxes.

Fox deal

On 11 April 2012, BT and Fox International Channels announced that from late 2012, BT Vision customers would be able to watch FX (now known as Fox) as a linear channel. BT Vision customers were also able to watch many of the top shows, up to seven days after transmission on-demand and watch library programmes on-demand.[18]

As of 1 March 2016 Fox was removed from BT TV.

National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo Wild deal

On 12 June 2012, BT announced that National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo Wild would be coming to BT Vision as linear channels in late 2012. The deal also includes a seven-day on demand catch up of programmes.

Premier League football rights

On 13 June 2012, it was announced that BT had acquired a share of the rights to Premier League football television coverage for the 2013–14 to 2015–16 seasons.[19][20] As part of the deal, BT acquired the live rights to 38 games, including 18 of the 38 "first pick" games, for a total of £738 million.[19][20] BT simultaneously announced plans to launch a Sports Channel on all platforms, including BT Vision.

Premiership Rugby rights

On 12 September 2012, BT agreed a £152 million four-year exclusive rights deal for the broadcast of Premiership Rugby from the 2013/14 season.[21]

British Eurosport deal

On 8 November 2012, BT signed a contract with British Eurosport to add British Eurosport 1 and 2 to its line-up of linear TV channels. The deal also includes sporting content to watch on demand. Eurosport on demand content is no longer available on BT but the Eurosport channels are still available in both SD and HD. [22]

Sky Movies deal

On 14 October 2013, BT signed a deal with Sky for the carriage of their Sky Movies channels and on-demand content. The channels will be available to customers from 26 October.[23]

Netflix Deal

On 10 November 2014 BT and YouView announced that the Netflix player had been made available on BT & retail Humax YouView boxes. In addition BT announced a tie in deal with Netflix, where you can subscribe to Netflix and pay through your BT TV bill. [24]

AMC Deal

On 4 August 2015 BT and AMC Networks International announced that they would be launching the AMC channel for the first time in the UK exclusively for BT customers. The channel launched on 28 August 2015 and is available to order free of charge on all BT TV packages and to Sky TV customers who also subscribe to BT Sports Pack.[25]

YouView from BT

On 21 September 2012, BT, one of the partners of YouView, announced that they would provide a free YouView box to its broadband subscribers. This new service will allow customers to access BT Vision's on demand content, YouView's EPG technologies such as 'scrollback', and Now TV. This came weeks after TalkTalk launched its new YouView-based TV service TalkTalk Plus TV. YouView from BT launched on 26 October 2012.

On 27 June 2013, the CEO of BT's TV division, Marc Watson, said that BT Vision will be rebranded as 'BT TV', together with the YouView service under an umbrella brand. BT aimed to offer sports on the YouView service. However, on 1 August 2013, BT was refused by rival BSkyB to broadcast Sky Sports on BT's YouView service.[26] This meant that the Vision+ box would continue to be distributed for the purpose of Sky Sports and the extra linear channels (as of 27 June), as long until these features would be finally available on BT YouView.

On 9 August 2013, the 18 extra linear channels from BT Vision were successfully added to the BT YouView EPG and ready for streaming.[27] Just two days prior to this, both BT and TalkTalk asked Digital UK to expand the streamed IP channel range from 400–499 to 400–599, as they both claim to launch over a hundred new streamed channels via YouView.

Vision+ PVR

The Vision+ is a set-top box, similar to Sky+ and V+, that enables 100 hours of television programmes to be recorded while watching other live programmes. The service is described as providing a range of on-demand content without compulsory subscriptions. However, a BT broadband connection with a guaranteed line speed is required. A self-install version and a technician install version of BT Vision are available. This box can access standard definition Freeview broadcasts where available, on-demand SD and HD content from BT, along with linear VOD channels through BT Infinity.

The original silver Vision+ box is a Philips DIT9719 running Microsoft Mediaroom software for the IPTV signals. The OS is Windows CE. The next generation Vision+ box was made by Motorola from 2008. The new black Vision+ box is made by Pace. Only one Vision+ can be used at a time to connect to the BT Vision service using a single Home Hub Broadband Connection.

BT released a new Humax set top box in late 2012 offering Freeview HD services, linear VOD HD channels through BT Iinfinity, and on-demand boxsets, catchup TV and other new features as part of the YouView service.

The original silver Vision+ boxes will be no use after 30 June 2014. All customers will get a free upgrade to YouView, worth £199, if they recontract for 18 months. Users of the black Vision+ boxes are unaffected.[28]

Launch packages

The newly rebranded BT TV had three packages as of 10 August 2013: TV Essential, Essential Extra, and Unlimited Extra. All packages came with a YouView box with Freeview television and radio channels, catch-up TV and the ability to pause, record and rewind live TV. A Vision+ box was provided for Sky Sports customers, until 30 June 2014.

Vision TV, Music, Kids and Sport were on-demand. All cost 50p a show with TV Essential, and were free and unlimited with TV Unlimited. Vision Filmclub was available for free with TV Unlimited, and is not available for TV Essential.

Vision Box Office was on a pay per view basis, available with both TV Essential and TV Unlimited.

April 2015 packages

On 24 April 2015 BT TV launched revised packages as follows:[29]

BT customers without Infinity broadband can only obtain the Starter package, with BT Sport only available on Starter via IPTV in certain areas. Entertainment packages are only available to those with Infinity broadband.

Unicast IPTV streaming bolt-ons for Netflix, BT Kids (children's content) or BT Music content can be added to all packages. Multicast IPTV Bolt-ons for Sky Sports 1 & 2, Sky Movies and HD channels can only be added to Entertainment packages.

BT Sport and AMC channels are available free of charge for customers with BT Infinity fibre-optic broadband. For customers who don't have access to BT's fibre-optic network, these can watch these channels via DTT on a Vision+ box. On 24 January 2014 BT ceased to sell BT Sport via DTT, and subsequently ceased provision of BT Sport 2 via DTT on 1 January 2015. BT Sport 1 ended on DTT on 2 June 2015.[30]

IPTV channels

The following is a list of live TV channels on the BT TV platforms with their EPG numbers, correct as of 3 October 2016. All channels are offered to the viewer via IPTV:

Entertainment Plus Pack
HD Extra bolt-on
Sky Sports bolt-on
BT Sport Pack
Entertainment Ultra HD Pack
Sky Cinema bolt-on[23]
BT Kids bolt-on

These IPTV channels are only available to customers who have access to BT's Infinity fibre-optic broadband (excepting limited channels over ADSL2+ connections - see below).

The channels became available on BT's YouView service in August 2013, with new EPG numbers in the 4xx and 5xx ranges, instead of the odd 8xx and 9xx ranges which BT Vision had before. The EPG numbers are the same on rival TalkTalk Plus TV, as both run on (and are maintained by) YouView.

The Sky Movies and IP children's channels were launched during the Autumn/Winter of 2013. These are at additional cost as 'bolt on' packs to the available TV packages.

Vision Catch-up

Vision Catch-up, formerly Vision Replay, is the name of the catch up TV services, which is available free of charge on any package.

From late May 2008, BT discontinued free access to BBC TV replay, instead requiring Vision users to take out a monthly subscription. However, In November 2010, BT announced that BT Vision subscribers would be able to access the BBC iPlayer from the end of June 2011.[31] This service was built by Pushbutton for Microsoft Mediaroom.

ITV Player has been available since December 2008. Demand 5 was removed on 6 October 2010, but was reinstated in May 2011.

On demand

BT Store

Content is provided by:

BT Sport

In addition to the BT Sport channels, an archive of football, wrestling, boxing, martial arts, motor sports and extreme sports matches available on-demand, with a few on a pay per view basis. This used to be called Vision Sport but has subsequently been merged with BT Sport for on-demand content and the name Vision Sport is no longer in use.

BT Kids

BT has agreed deals with:

who provide hundreds of children's programs on-demand.

BT Filmclub

BT Vision has signed deals with the following studios to provide classic and new films:

BT Box Office

Vision Box Office provides a library of the latest blockbuster films on a pay per view basis.

Films on Vision Box Office mainly come from the following content providers

BT Music

BT has agreed deals with:

who provide over 1,500 music videos, concerts and music documentaries, on-demand. The concert programming covers a wide variety of genres including rock, pop, urban and alternative, jazz and opera.


  2. Rebranded BT TV will deliver Sport over YouView boxes
  3. "BT to switch off original BT Vision service". 11 April 2014. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
  4. BT to begin broadcasting, BBC news report, 27 May 2001, retrieved on 2 June 2007.
  5. BT Vision – passing you the control, BT Group news release, 4 December 2006, retrieved on 2 June 2007
  6. Hi-tech world assesses BT Vision, BBC new report, 6 December 2006, retrieved on 2 June 2007.
  7. BT Vision unveils national advertising campaign, BT Group news release, 10 May 2007, retrieved on 2 June 2007.
  8. BT profits hit by restructuring – BBC News
  9. BT and BSkyB win football rights – BBC News
  10. Setanta. BT Vision. Retrieved on 3 February 2012.
  11. Sweney, Mark (31 March 2010). "Ofcom orders Sky Sports price cut". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 8 July 2010.
  12. 1 2 Wray, Richard (1 July 2010). "War breaks out between BT and Sky over pricing of Sky Sports channels". London: The Guardian. Archived from the original on 4 July 2010. Retrieved 8 July 2010.
  13. "BT Vision to offer cut price deal on Sky Sports channels". Daily Record. 2 July 2010. Archived from the original on 4 July 2010. Retrieved 8 July 2010.
  14. Sky Sports 1 and 2 available to BT Vision customers – BBC News
  15. BT Vision stops selling Setanta – BBC News
  16. "UKTV creates its first IPTV content deal – first linear channel deal for BT Vision". UKTV. 22 March 2012.
  17. "UKTV agrees on-demand, channels deal with BT Vision". Digital Spy. 22 March 2012.
  18. BT Vision signs popular FXUK to build linear offering
  19. 1 2 "Premier League lands £3bn TV rights bonanza from Sky and BT". The Guardian. 13 June 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  20. 1 2 "ESPN lose out to BT in bidding for Premier League broadcast rights in £3 billion deal". The Telegraph. 13 June 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  21. "BT lands exclusive UK television rights to show live rugby union". The Guardian. 12 September 2012. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
  22. "BT Vision signs linear channel deal with British Eurosport". 9 November 2012. Retrieved 9 November 2012.
  23. 1 2 Clover, Julian (14 October 2013). "BT reaches Sky Movies carriage agreement". Broadband TV News. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  25. "AMC to launch for the first time in the UK exclusively to BT customers on 28th August". BT Group. 4 August 2015. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
  26. Williams, Christopher (1 August 2013). "BT loses battle over Sky Sports wholesale deal". The Telegraph. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
  27. Farber, Alex (9 August 2013). "YouView's IP channels go live in EPG". Broadcast. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
  28. ""Original BT Vision service" to close this summer". a516digital. 11 April 2014. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
  29. "BT Forum posting about April 2015 BT TV packages". 24 April 2015. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  30. "BT letter about closure of BT Sport on DTT and migration to IPTV". 1 December 2014. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  31. "BBC iPlayer on TV in your living room: update". BBC. 5 April 2011.

External links

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