BT launches streaming-only option for Freeview channels

UK telco BT’s TV Box Pro customers can now access the bulk of the operator’s TV service without the need for a terrestrial antenna via a streaming-only mode on its advanced set-top.

BT is also launching the BT TV Box Mini, a new multiroom compact TV box, which lets customers watch TV in an extra room of the house,

BT TV Box Pro is BT’s latest set-top box, which includes BT TV’s traditional hybrid functionality but also enables streaming-only mode, removing the need for a terrestrial antenna for linear channels. When customers set up the box for the first time, they’ll now be given the option in the set-up journey to either connect via internet mode or aerial mode.

The streaming option will give access to the main Freeview channels from the UK’s public service broadcasters, and a range of other channels, but will not include all the channels currently available over the air on Freeview.

Existing BT TV Box Pro customer will receive an automatic software update allowing them to reset their connectivity settings if required in the future.

In addition to the all-new internet mode, BT TV Box Pro provides BT TV customers with a range of features including 4K HDR, Dolby Atmos, and 1TB of storage, which is double the capacity of the previous BT TV box, with up to 600 hours of recordings.

The box comes with four tuners, allowing customers who continue to use its hybrid functionality to record up to three shows and watch a fourth simultaneously in antenna/aerial mode, and record up to four channels at once. Alternatively, in internet mode customers can record up to two channels at once.

The device also comes with a Bluetooth remote, Integrated search and enables pause, rewind, and record functionality.

Sharon Meadows, Propositions Director, BT said: “We continue to look for ways to enhance the TV experience for our customers. Removing the need for an aerial connection not only gives even more consumers the opportunity to take out BT TV, it also gives our customers even more flexibility with their TV set-up, allowing them to access great content, from anywhere in the home.”

New Mini box

Separately, the telco’s new BT TV Box Mini will enable BT TV customers to watch different shows, in a different room, at the same time as the box in the main sitting room is playing.

BT said that the BT TV Box Mini works like the BT TV Box Pro, connecting to the Smart Hub via Wi-Fi, so customers can watch linear channels without the need for an antenna. BT TV Box Mini is available for existing BT TV Box Pro customers for an additional £10 per month.

BT’s offer of a streaming-only option follows Virgin Media’s launch of a streaming-only service.

Virgin Media launched its Stream device in April, providng a mix of linear channels and on-demand apps via the internet. The service does not inititally include a multi-room option, however.

Sky meanwhile is planning to launch its existing Sky Puck streaming box as a standalone device by the end of this year. The puck is currently available as a bundled option with the Sky Glass integrated TV set.

Tags: BT, Freeview, UK

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