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BT Vision bites the dust

BT is to finally withdraw functionality from the last remaining BT Vision boxes still in service, as the company continues to concentrate on YouView-based TV services.

BT Vision was the original BT TV service, before YouView launched in 2012. Since then, new customers have been offered the YouView service, with BT Vision boxes becoming the preserve of existing subscribers. Three years ago BT withdrew support for its oldest, silver BT Vision boxes, with the remaining boxes to lose functionality, starting from next week:
  • 28th April 2017 BBC iPlayer will no longer be available on BT Vision
  • 31st May 2017 BBC/ITV/C4 free-to-air HD channels will no longer be available on BT Vision.
  • 31st May 2017 On demand service for ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 will no longer be available on BT Vision
  • Later in 2017: Full shutdown of the BT Vision service.

Affected subscribers are being offered a free YouView box. They will be sent invites to take up the offer. But some affected subscribers have criticized the offer, as it involves a new contract period and moving to a different pricing structure.

Since BT Vision was first launched, a number of alternative services providing a hybrid of online and Freeview TV services have become available. In addition to the YouView service, which through BT provides access to a number of extra pay TV channels including BT Sport, Freeview Play offers a purely free-to-use mix of linear channels and on-demand content from major broadcasters. Now TV offers a smart box combining Freeview with Sky's premium entertainment, sport and movie channels as well as on-demand content from major broadcasters. Alternatively, viewers can simply opt to plug in a dongle on their TV to access online content alongside Freeview channels through their aerial.

As for the BT Vision boxes still in circulation, as they are not compatible with the latest set of Freeview DVB-T2 broadcast standards, a workaround had to be provided to offer viewers access to Freeview HD channels, which BT is ceasing to support at the end of May. With a planned migration of more services to the DVB-T2 standard planned in the coming years, the boxes would have become redundant anyway.