YouView unlocks full Now TV functionality



All YouView box users will be able to benefit from the enhanced Now TV service, not just those on BT's service.

YouView users previously only had access to a limited Now TV service, without many of the live channels available to Now TV users on other devices.

On the day a new cross-supply deal between Sky and BT goes live, YouView has confirmed that the enhanced Now TV service is going live across its box range. This will mean that all Now TV passes (Entertainment, Sky Cinema, Sky Sports, Kids & hayu) can be used on a YouView box. Users can also access live channels included with the different passes through the NOW TV Player.

  • BT YouView users will see Now TV channels integrated in the channel list, starting at channel 340 and will have the option to record the live channels. Details of the new service and how to subscribe to Now TV via BT can be found on the new BT website: https://www.bt.com/broadband/retention/offers/tvret-newtv
  • All other YouView users will be able to access live and on-demand channels through the Now TV app. 

YouView boxes also support the recently introduced Now TV Boost, meaning an option to watch Now TV programmes in HD is now available. Among the sports channels, Sky Sports Main Event, Premier League and F1 are available at 50 frames per second via the boost.

TalkTalk exception

TalkTalk YouView boxes T1000, T1010 and DN370T are still awaiting an update. So boxes not on software version 72.48.87/60.42.87 will only have access to the Sky Cinema pass until the box updates to the new software version.

Older 1st generation YouView boxes have already lost support for Now TV.


Analysis - the long path to getting full Now TV on YouView

YouView until today only had access to a cut-down version of Now TV. Unlike other devices that support streaming services, live entertainment and sports channels from Now TV were not available.

Technical issues were blamed for the restrictions which affected all YouView users, regardless of whom they had the service from - BT, TalkTalk, Plusnet or direct from a retailer - ever since Now TV was first launched back in 2012, months after YouView itself hit the market.

However, it should be noted that BT and Sky were until 2018 at loggerheads over access to each other's channels, which left BT as the only main pay TV provider in the UK without access to Sky's entertainment channels and most of Sky's sports channels.

Had the Now TV app on YouView boxes carried live streams of Sky's channels, this would have provided a way for Sky to allow BT customers to circumvent BT's premium channel offering, selling direct to customers, in the same way BT circumvented Sky on satellite, selling BT Sport access directly to Sky customers.

Before today, only Sky Cinema Now TV channels have been available as a live service on YouView - unlike sports and entertainment, those channels were already available on BT TV.

With this in mind, it's no surprise that the full Now TV service has only opened up to all YouView users once BT had finished the process needed to integrate the service into its own platform and internal systems, even though those YouView users not with BT won't benefit from that full integration.