BT Ultra HD YouView Box User Review

  • soupdragon
    Finally - high quality football!
    Review of BT Ultra HD YouView Box Personal Video Recorder by soupdragon, Oct 1, 2015.
    Please note - In my ratings, I rated UHD using the HD section, and HD using the SD section

    UHD was 10
    HD was 7
    SD was 5 (although I've never actually watched a full show in SD as I'm a self confessed resolution snob)

    I'll start this review by saying that if you are a football fan, and you have the required BT infinity speed, then you really should do everything you can to get one of these boxes. You don't actually need a 4k display to watch the box (although I'm not sure if BT will insist on you having one prior to installation)
    The reason I say this is because whether you watch in on a 1080p or UHD display, you will still see a good improvement regardless. I've been watching on my Panasonic 50CX700 UHD TV and also on my 104" projector screen, driven by a 1080p Sony HW50es. As a football fan for years watching on my projectors and TV's, I've got a pretty engrained reference of what 1080/50i football looks like but this BT UHD box takes it to a new level.

    The typical speed for the live UHD stream is around 29mbps from what I understand, which is well above what netflix use for their UHD transmissions, approx double. While I enjoy the UHD Netflix shows (watching Daredevil at the moment) I'll admit that I'm not completely wowed by it. The UHD from BT however, does give a much cleaner picture and virtually none of the artifacts that I get with Netflix from time to time. Its really impressive.

    When I watch it on my 4k TV, the sharpness and detail really stands out. I don't know if any of you seen the UHD World Cup clips in Currys last year, showing really clean looking football clips of Brazil, England etc.... I remember seeing the demo's (and also when I seen them on a demo of the Sony VW500es projector) and I hoped that one day, we would get pictures like that, live to our homes. That day has now arrived.

    The BT box seems to be as good as the World Cup demo's that I seen (well, at least as far as I can remember!)

    The only problem I have is which display to watch it on. My 50" TV gives it the cleanest, sharpest looking picture, obviously because its a native 4k panel. On the projector, at 104", you get the benefit of the sheer size of the image, but because its downscaled to 1080p (the BT boxs does a decent job of downscaling it), you don't get the same sharpness benefit that you do on the native 4k panel.

    When comparing Sky HD1080i v BT UHD box 1080p on the 1080p projector, the BT box wins by a significant margin. This is why I recommend one of these boxes even without a 4k display. The transmission is simply so much better. Comparing Sky HD1080i v BT UHD box 2160p on a 4k display - well, its not even a fair comparison. The Sky HD transmission can't compare.

    So thats the UHD channel covered, and hopefully that gives a little insight. Onto the box itself. I've only ever used Sky so I can't compare with the previous BT box but in terms of Box v Box, I prefer Sky due to its slick operating system and functions. One big niggle I have with the BT box is the rewind/forward functions. You can only go forward 1 minute at a time, or back at 15 seconds at a time. I much prefer the Sky method where you can forward/rewind X2, X6, X12, X30.

    I will say though, that the BT box is still very simple to use and very user friendly and most people will have no issues navigating their way around the menus. Its really fast too, so no lag to deal with. I just think Sky edges it, and is a bit more pleasing to use that the BT box. Partly because I've been a sky customer for years so the familiarity benefit is also a factor here. Start up times could be quicker, but both boxes are probably equally as slow from a power off to power on boot up. From standby, no issues.

    For HD channels, I think the boxes are quite close to each other and for SD channels (which I hardly ever watch) I think both are equally as poor in this regard!

    I'll maybe come back and update this review later as I've not spent too much time with this UHD box since I've owned it. Apart from playing around with it a bit when I first got it, I basically only use it for watching the champions league now. For everything else, I am still using my sky boxes.

    It is also worth mentioning the install. I was a BT infinity one customer with 38MB max...I am still an Infinity one customer but I'm now getting 77MB for no extra cost. Once I signed up for this (12 month contract, £15PM) they increased my limit for no extra charge. The installer was also a nice guy too so I was very pleased with the overal BT service in this respect. Still not enough content though to make me drop Sky TV. Maybe if they can secure some live Golf and a few UHD movies a month then I might reconsider. Until then, I'll have to pay for Sky, BT and Netflix for all my various content - not cheap!

    If you can get this all in one place Mr BT then you are onto a winner in my book...you've got a box capable of UHD so lets see some UHD movies too in the future please.

    I also understand that BT are looking into HDR and 3D audio. As I understand, they are working with Dolby (Live Dolby Atmos sports perhaps?) and I wouldn't be surprised to see an anouncement in time for next seasons football calendar. Exciting times!
    This item was purchased for Free with £15 per mo from BT. The reviewer still owns this product.

    Pros

    • Quality picture from the UHD channel
    • The live alerts during C League games lets you watch goals as they happen
    • Easy to use operating system

    Cons

    • The rewind/forward function

    Build Quality

    9

    Design

    9

    Connectivity Audio/Video

    8

    Remote Control

    9

    Ease of Use Menus/GUI

    9

    EPG

    9

    Recording Flexibility

    9

    Recording Reliability

    9

    Picture Quality HD

    10

    Picture Quality SD

    7

    Other Features

    9

    Value for Money

    10

    Verdict

    9
    1. morrig, Manni01, mcspongy and 2 others like this.
    • visionrider
      I fully agree I had BT UHD box from start football is amazing I have BT Infinity 2 and Sky HD Sony 4K TV picture is excellent the recordings it does on UHD are excellent there is a few odd sports films in UHD in BT Sport Library which are in UHD if you scroll to bottom of list which are worth look.
    • garreth64
      Thanks for the review. I've just signed up for BT UHD to replace Sky. I'm interested in the quality of HD channels as I will be primarily using a LG EC930V OLED display which is HD not 4K.

      In the first paragraph below you say BT 1080P is better that Sky 1080i. Is this referring only to when the UHD channel is output as 1080p, or all of the BT HD channels?, as you say in the second para that for HD channels the boxes are quite close to each other.

      If the standard HD channels are similar, what resolution are they output if not 1080P?

      "When comparing Sky HD1080i v BT UHD box 1080p on the 1080p projector, the BT box wins by a significant margin. This is why I recommend one of these boxes even without a 4k display. The transmission is simply so much better."

      "For HD channels, I think the boxes are quite close to each other and for SD channels (which I hardly ever watch) I think both are equally as poor in this regard!"


      In the other review posted, 'meansizzler' also said the following:

      "The quality on Sd and HD IP channels are lower than that of Sky, very low bitrates nowhere near as good as the ones transmitted on satellite."


      I haven't had opportunity to view BT HD before viewing, but I was hoping the HD channels would be at least as good if not better than Sky. I'm wondering why they are using lower bitrates when there is plenty of bandwidth available.
    • soupdragon
      Hi Garreth

      on the box, you can select various outputs. For your 1080p OLED TV, I have no doubt you will see a pleasing benefit when watching the UltraHD channel - even though it will be downscaled to 1080p. Its a very clear improvement over the SkyHD 1080i football that you will be used to.

      Having lived with the box for a while, I would say for regular HD, the Sky box has the edge on BT. I watched the Arsenal v Bayern on Tue on UltraHD on my 1080p projector and the picture, as always, was brilliant. Last night, I watched Man United v CSKA and in comparison, the picture was dissappointing, not as good as a premiership sky game.

      With that said, Its hard to compare SkyHD v Regular HD on the BT box as they both show different content and I haven't been able to do a side by side (I've got 2 sky HD boxes and the UltraHD box running but the content is never the same)
      The CSKA content came from Russia and the pictures will have been provided by the host broadcaster over there and things like that, camera's used etc... can all change the quality from game to game as well.

      I'll continue to run sky and BT together (plus netflix) for all my content which is expensive, but necessary if you are a sports fan like me, who watches a lot of golf on sky. I'm not sure if you've ditched sky yet, but you will miss a lot of content if you do. The overall content from BT isn't where it needs to be yet IMO.
    No comments have been posted on this review yet.
  • Loading...
  • Loading...
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice