Review was updated on 16th July, 2019
As our TV viewing is increasingly a shared experience between our big-screen TV at home and the convenience of a mobile phone or tablet when we’re out and about, instant access to our favourite shows and channels is a must at all times. And if you’re like most people, you’ve already got a bunch of TV catch-up apps on your portable devices, leaving you to figure out which program is on what app and on which day it’s playing. If you’ve got a BT TV service at home, though, your life can be a whole lot simpler thanks to the service’s dedicated app for iOS and Android. So what can it do for you?
What Is BT TV?
One of the largest broadband providers in the UK, BT TV makes sure that when you get set up for fast broadband, you also get loads of TV to watch via their supplied YouView box. Alongside the massive collection of standard Freeview channels, BT TV adds some special sauce on top – and that sauce comes with a variety of flavours. From the basic “Classic” bundle which adds BT Sport and AMC to your available channels, through to the Entertainment bundle for a few pounds more which adds 21 premium channels including National Geographic and Comedy Central, you get to tailor your TV exactly how you want it. Up at the top end, you can get the latest 4K-enabled YouView box as part of a Max 4K bundle that gives you HD and 55 premium channels, as well as BT Sport in 4K and the ability to stream Netflix, AMC and Amazon Prime Video at the highest quality as well.
It’s that top bundle which also comes with BT App Extra – something that enhances the BT TV app’s functionality in a significant way.
What Can the BT TV App Do
No matter which bundle or subscription tier you have with BT TV, you can download and use the app for all your viewing on the go. Along with the ability to watch shows live from your subscribed premium channels when you’re out and about, you can also keep up with your favourite shows on the BT Player. Anything you watch on the BT Player is synced with your box at home – so you can start an episode on the bus, then watch the rest from the comfort of your couch at home, without having to dig around to figure out where you were up to.
An even handier feature of the app is the ability to set recordings on your box at home remotely. Most of us have had that sinking feeling when we’ve headed out for the night only to realise we forgot to set up a recording for a show we want to watch. Now, with the app, you can of course just stream it live wherever you are, but that’s not always going to work – after all, it’s probably not polite to stream TV while you’re out at dinner! Using the BT TV app you can command your box back at home to record that show or movie for you, so it’s ready for you when you get back.
Start Watching BT TV the Moment You Subscribe
Another great feature of the app that’s not obvious to many is the ability to get watching as soon as you sign up. If you’ve just subscribed to BT TV, and you’re waiting for the broadband to be connected and your box to be delivered, you can log in to the app and get watching right away, seconds after signing up. There’s nothing worse than waiting for access to the service when there’s a show, movie or match on you don’t want to miss, and thanks to the app working right out of the gate, you don’t have to.
Advanced Features – BT App Extra
If you subscribe to the top end 4K Max bundle, you get access to BT App Extra as part of your package. This is where the BT TV app really comes into its own. For starters, App Extra unlocks the ability to download shows to your phone or tablet, so you can watch them on the go without using up your precious mobile data or searching for a wi-fi hotspot. You can even download BT Store content that you’ve bought or rented.
But that’s just the tip of the extras iceberg. App Extra unlocks the ability to watch your BT TV service in multiple rooms at the same time, using the app to send your shows to a Chromecast, or accessing apps available for Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Samsung Smart TVs. You’re allowed to register the app on four devices for extra flexibility.
If you don’t want the top-end bundle, don’t worry – App Extra is still available to you for a modest monthly fee. For the way it enhances the usability of the BT TV app, we’d say it’s well worth the extra.
Is it Worth the Download for BT TV Users?
Even if you’re just on a basic BT TV package, the free app gives you access to live and on-demand streaming and, even better, remote recordings. For that alone, it’s a must if you have a BT TV service – but it’s definitely worth thinking about spending the extra five quid for the full app experience.