BT Ultra HD YouView box review

Be warned, once you try UHD you'll struggle to accept relatively soft HD channels...

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Our Verdict

It's only available to BT Infinity subscribers and involves a significant financial commitment, but this Humax box takes broadcast TV pictures to the next level, serving up spectacular 4K images. But its greatest strength is also a weakness, making Full HD seem mediocre.

For

  • Amazing UHD clarity and detail
  • Easy to operate
  • Slick menu system
  • YouView 7-day rollback EPG

Against

  • More UHD content needed
  • Only available to BT broadband users renewing annual contract
  • Slow to boot up
  • HD channels look soft

The BT Ultra HD YouView has now been around for a number of years, piping out 4K UHD broadcasts to anyone with the kit and money to be able to watch them.

More technically known as the Humax DTR-T4000, it certainly lives up to the hype surrounding UHD. With compatible systems now on the market from the likes of Sky and Virgin Media though, does the BT option still hold up?

The Humax DTR-T4000 is a YouView+ box, virtually identical in appearance and functionality to the YouView from BT box, except with a 1TB hard disk capable of storing 60 hours of UHD content.

BT Ultra HD

With live UHD content still thin on the ground, you might well be filling the BT Ultra HD YouView box with HD or even SD shows, giving 250 hours and 600 hours respectively. Another difference is that this box is fan cooled, which makes it a bit noisy when the TV's been switched off but is totally necessary as it runs hot enough to fry an egg on.

To watch in BT Sport in 4K Ultra HD you'll need a compatible screen with at least one HDMI 2.0 input that can handle HDCP 2.2 content protection and a picture resolution of 2160p (50Hz). Most modern 4K TV screens will play nice with the UHD channels.

Incidentally, you can also watch 4K channels downscaled to 1080p on a non-4K screen, which is something to bear in mind if you've got an older set.

What does it cost?

First up, you need to be a BT Infinity broadband customer (with a minimum 40Mbps connection) and a subscriber to BT TV's top-level Ultra HD packages, which start at £15 a month.

You'll also have to pay £50 for the box (free to new customers), line rental of £16.99/month and an installation fee of £44 if a BT Engineer is required to get you going.

New BT customers will have to pay £6.95 for a BT Home Hub router too.

Note that the IP content including BT Sport will not work if you use a different make of router, and that the Humax box isn't wireless. BT does supply a 10m Ethernet cable, but you could try a Powerline connection.

You get 248 channels including 47 premium entertainment, documentary and lifestyle channels. Freeview channels are delivered via an aerial, the rest via internet.

BT Ultra HD

Nearly 50 channels are in HD, 13 of which are premium ones (including seven BT Sport Extra channels). You also get the BT Sport Pack (BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2, BT Sport Europe, BT Sport ESPN) which includes all of the UEFA Champions League and a number of Premier League games.

Some of these will be shown in 4K on the Ultra HD channel (number 434 on the EPG). Aside from the odd live broadcast there's very little to UHD, just a slew of short promo films designed to show off the format.

Netflix's Ultra HD content has now arrived to add some much-needed extra 4K content. You can also subscribe to Sky Movies, Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2, but only in HD.

To operate the box you use the humungous remote control, which is a touch unwieldy but at least the operating system is pleasing to look at and logically laid out, with carousels of menu options appearing in narrow bands at the bottom of the screen.

BT Ultra HD

YouView+ means you get an EPG that scrolls back seven days as well as forwards and allows you to record shows from the past week so long as they are also contained within the relevant on-demand engine (iPlayer, ITV Player, All 4, Demand 5, BT Player, Now TV, Milkshake!, UKTV Play, Sky Store, Quest, S4C), plus two apps (BBC News and BBC Sport), with Netflix now joining the party.

There are also scores of movies, TV shows (including box sets) and music videos to rent or buy from the likes of Sky Store, BT TV, Curzon Cinema, Nat Geo Wild, E!, SyFy, Universal, Animal Planet, Investigation Discovery, Sony TV, Discovery, TLC, History, Fox, Comedy Central, MTV, and more…