YouView set-top boxes have been on sale for a while now. They combine a Freeview HD PVR with an internet connection for streaming catch-up TV.
BT will offer YouView boxes in October
BT has been involved with YouView for a long time, but has finally revealed details about when customers can get a YouView box, and how much it will cost.
Existing BT broadband and Infinity customers will have to pay a £56 fee including delivery, but the offer applies only if their minimum contract term has expired. So, if you signed up for Infinity or standard ADSL broadband less than 12 months ago, you'll have to wait until the 12 months is up before applying for a YouView box.
New customers signing up for BT Infinity broadband will get a free YouView box, with deliveries starting on October 26th.
However, it isn't strictly free as you'll have to pay a £49 'activation fee' and a £7 delivery charge. Still, new Infinity customers don't have to take out a BT Vision subscription - they can opt to use BT's on-demand Vision service to watch TV shows and films on a pay-per-view basis.
Those not living in an area where Infinity is available can still get a 'free' YouView box for £49 plus delivery, but must sign up for a new broadband package plus at least the cheapest BT Vision TV package, Essential, which costs £4 per month, rising to £5 per month in January 2013.
With both offers, the broadband and BT Vision must be taken on a minimum of a 12-month contract.
What do you get with YouView and BT Vision?
The Humax-manufactured YouView box has a 500GB hard disk for recording up to 125 hours of HD programmes, or 300 hours of standard-def TV. With twin Freeview HD tuners, you can record two different channels at once.
With YouView, you get seven day catch-up TV by scrolling back through the electronic programme guide (EPG) and choosing a show you've missed from channels including BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.
There's also a search facility where you can browse available shows by name or genre.
The box also provides on-demand content from BBC iPlayer, ITV player, 4OD, Demand5, Milkshake and NowTV with more content providers on the way.
As with BT's current Vision set-top box, the new version also provides access to the same library of over 5,000 programmes and movies, including some in HD.
How to get a YouView box from BT
If you want to be one of the first to get a BT YouView box, you need to register (with no obligation) at www.bt.com/youview, and will then have the opportunity to order a box between October 19-26th.
If you're not confident setting it up yourself, you can pay an additional £35 for a BT engineer to install the box, and you'll save on the £7 delivery charge, too.
We'll bring you a full review of BT's YouView box and Vision service as soon as we get our hands on one in the next few weeks.