Everything you need to know
YouView was designed by terrestrial broadcasters, BT (www.BT.com), TalkTalk (www.TalkTalk.co.uk) and the telecommunications company Arqiva.
What is YouView?
It is basically a set-top box for your television that combines two over 70 basic digital television channels with catch-up and on-demand services over a broadband connection. You can pause and rewind live TV, and if you buy a YouView + box, you can record programs as well.
YouView is available either as a stand-alone box or as part of a TV package from BT or TalkTalk, which gives you access to even more channels. It is also possible to save a little dough by including it in a plan with telephone and broadband.
One of the best features of YouView is that it is incredibly user-friendly. Catching up, for example, is built right into the TV guide – just go back in time to the episode you want to watch.
You can browse programs by genre or channel, or select the handy “more episodes” button if you like what you just watched and want to see more of.
It also has many accessibility features to make it easier for everyone to use. There’s a TV guide zoom, high contrast color scheme, easy access to subtitles, signed TV, audio descriptions, and an interface optimized to work with screen reader apps on your smartphone. .
How do I configure my YouView box?
Before you begin, YouView recommends that you verify that you have the following:
- YouView box
- Remote control
- Power cable
- HDMI cable
- Ethernet cable
- Overhead cable
After checking you have everything:
- Take the overhead cable and connect it from the ariel socket in the wall to the Input / Antenna on the back of your box.
- After that, connect the HDMI cable from the back of the HDMI port of your box, to the back / side of your TV.
- Then, to connect to the Internet, insert the Ethernet cable from the back of the YouView box to the Lan port on the back of your router.
- Finally, blow up the power cable on the back of the box and insert the plug into your wall outlet.
Now all you have to do is turn on the box using the buttons on the back and you should be good to go.
What channels can I get?
A basic YouView box gives you access to more than 70 digital television channels, including:
BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and many entertainment, news and radio channels. You can also add tons of them with BT TV or TalkTalk TV, like Sky 1, Nat Geo, Comedy Central, and Disney Channel.
You will also benefit from catch-up and on-demand – if you connect it to a broadband connection – from:
BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, All4, Demand 5, UKTV Play, S4C, Milkshake and the Netflix and Now TV apps.
Cinephile? If you get TV via BT or TalkTalk, YouView is also there for you. A monthly Sky Cinema Pass will give you unlimited access to Sky Movies, and you can also subscribe to Now TV or Netflix. Plus, there are hundreds of movies to rent or buy through the Sky Store, including some of the latest blockbusters.
How to get YouView?
You can get a YouView box on its own from most major electronics retailers such as John Lewis, Currys, or Argos – perfect if you don’t want to be tied to a contract, although the box itself can be a bit pricey. .
On the other hand, if you want even more channels and features, you can get it in a package from BT or TalkTalk.
For YouView alone, all you need is a YouView decoder, TV, and aerial socket – and a broadband connection if you want to watch catch-up and on-demand TV.
What broadband speeds do I need to watch YouView?
Your broadband will need a minimum download speed of 3MB, but that’s just basic on demand – for everything else, like HD programs, it will need to be even faster.
For example, TalkTalk Boosts require 5MB, and BT Sport needs at least 6.5MB, while a whopping 44MB is recommended for comfortably streaming Ultra HD content without buffering. Plus, faster speed will result in better service and less charging time.
And don’t forget to think about your monthly download limit, if your broadband contract has one.
An hour of watching catch-up TV will consume around 1GB of data – and that can easily add up if you watch it every few nights.
Also watch out for the slower speeds you get at peak times, especially if your provider is handling web traffic. We recommend a truly unlimited broadband plan for YouView.
Unsure of your broadband speed? Try our speed test and find out.
YouView with BT
BT offers three main options for TV with YouView, and they are all available as part of a package with phone, broadband, and mobile as well.
- Entrance includes a basic YouView box with over 100 channels, catch-up and on-demand, and you can add BT Sport (as long as your broadband has a download speed of at least 6.5MB).
- Entertainment has all of the above except a YouView + box so you can also record your programs – and 10 additional channels.
- Max is the biggest TV package of all, with YouView + Ultra HD box, 141 channels, BT Sport HD and the ability to watch 4K Ultra HD content. It is only available with BT fiber, so be sure to check you can get a fiber optic connection in your area using our postcode checker.
Find out more in our guide to BT TV.
Or take a look at what exactly you’re getting from our full list of BT TV channels.
YouView with TalkTalk
TalkTalk offers two TV options:
- TV comes with a YouView box with more than 70 catch-up and on-demand channels, and the free TV2Go app for your mobile or tablet.
- Television Plus includes all of the above, but with a YouView + box and 14 additional entertainment channels.
You can also add Boosts …
Talk Talk TV boosts
These are additional channel packages available on an ongoing monthly basis. Examples of Boosts include Sky Sports, Sky Cinema, Entertainment Channels, Kids TV Channels, Asian Channels, and more.
One of the best things about TalkTalk TV is that these Boosts are really flexible. If you decide you don’t want Sky Sports anymore, for example, you can just cancel those channels at any time. This way, you can continually shape your TV service so that you have the channels you really want, when you want them.
You can see a list of Boosts and learn more about them in our TalkTalk TV Boosts guide.
Keep in mind that you can only get TalkTalk TV as part of a phone and broadband plan – read more about this in our TalkTalk TV guide.
Which is better: BT or TalkTalk TV?
Advantages and disadvantages
A YouView box has many advantages, including …
- It is widely available
- simple to configure and very user-friendly with many accessibility features.
- It’s an extremely easy way to use services like Netflix on your TV and catch up on shows you might have missed.
- It is one of the few ways to get TV without a monthly subscription.
- The box itself isn’t cheap and a YouView + box can cost up to £ 100 more than the cheaper no-registration model. The upfront cost is lower if you get a subscription from BT or TalkTalk, as the YouView box is usually included at no upfront cost.
- TV fans won’t be happy with the number of live channels on offer – the 70 you get are TV coverage and radio, and pales in comparison to the huge range you can get with Sky (www.Sky.com) or Virgin Media (www.VirginMedia.com).
- You’ll also need to make sure your broadband connection is fast – and more importantly stable – enough to manage all this streaming on demand and prepare for the disappearance of your data allowance if you have a usage limit.