When Free Isn’t Really Free with BT YouView

Written by Karen Bryan

BT LogoBT are promoting a free YouView set-top box for new TV service customers. But is it really free if you have to pay a £49 activation fee? In my opinion, this is misleading pricing. If something is free, it should be free to use, not require you to spend money in order to use it.

You need to have the latest version of the BT HomeHub for the YouView box to work. Existing BT broadband customers who need to upgrade their router have to pay a £6.95 delivery charge.

There’s also a minimum £5 a monthly “TV Essential” subscription fee (although this is free for the first year on new bundled BT Infinity packages). Why is there a subscription fee when you don’t seem to get anything for this additional £5? The YouView box lets to you watch FreeView channels; well, we can already do that through our FreeView TV. There’s 7 Day Catch Up TV and the ability to record programmes. Surely these facilites are part of the YouView box capabilites and there shouldn’t be a monthly charge for this?

If you want anything else such as movies or sport on BT YouView, you have to pay additional fees e.g. most movies cost £3.50.

It seems to me that the £5 “TV Essential” monthly subscription is just another way, in addition to the £49 activation fee, to subsidise the cost of the supposedly free YouView box.

It would cost us £115.95 to have a YouView box for 12 months (the minimum contract) ; the £49 activation fee, £60 in subscription charges and £6.95 delivery for a new router. While that may still be a good deal in order to get the set-top box, it isn’t free.

It isn’t clear to me whether you’d be able to keep using the YouView box to watch FreeView, Catch Up TV and record programmes if you cancelled your subscription after the period of the minimum contract ended. I susupect that BT could deactivate the YouView box.

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