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BT UK Launch New Broadband TV Box Pro with HDR and WiFi

Friday, June 4th, 2021 (9:00 am) - Score 38,832

After a long wait, UK ISP BT has today finally announced the launch of a new set-top-box for their broadband-based Pay TV (IPTV) service – TV Box Pro, which among other things will finally add WiFi and High Dynamic Range (HDR) video support. But you’ll need a wait for the wireless networking to be ready.

Until now the best STB that BT’s YouView powered Pay TV service had to offer was their Ultra HD (4K) equipped YouView box (Humax DTR-T4000), but like so many other PVR-capable (Personal Video Recorder) devices on that platform it lacked WiFi and could thus only be connected via a wired (Ethernet / LAN) cable to your broadband router. The DTR-T4000 also lacked HDR support (a big oversight since BTSport can do HDR).

The good news, as hinted last year (here), is that BT’s new STB finally appears to be catching up with some of their rivals, at least on the technology front. Sky (Sky Q HDR) and Virgin Media  (Virgin TV 360) have both issued upgraded versions of their kit in the past year or so, which is something that BT can’t ignore. We actually expected this kit to surface last year, but COVID-19 is believed to have caused some development delays.

Otherwise, the new box will support 4K, HDR video quality, WiFi, 1TB of storage (double the PVR capacity of the previous BT TV box), Dolby Atmos audio, a Bluetooth remote, and it will integrate 4 Tuners (i.e. allowing customers to record up to 3 shows and watch a fourth simultaneously). On top of that, you can also expect a new image-led user interface (UI), which has been rolled out for both new and existing BT TV customers.

Similar to its predecessor, BT TV Box Pro comes with integrated search – helping streamline viewing and removing the need to remember which show is on which platform. BT TV’s set-top box also offers pause, rewind and record functionality.

Chandru Lakshminarayanan, BT’s TV and Sport Propositions Director, told ISPreview.co.uk:

“We’ve seen a huge growth in 4K HDR content and we’re excited that the new BT TV Box Pro supports such an immersive way of viewing.

We’ve seen such great feedback since launching our flexible TV plans and now the award-winning platform is about to enter the next generation of viewing. We’ve got lots more planned, which I can’t wait to share with our customers shortly.”

However, there are a few catches with today’s big launch, such as the fact that the new box will initially only be available to new customers taking a VIP package, but it will be added to other packages “in due course“. For £65 per month the VIP package includes a NOW Cinema, Entertainment, Sport Membership as well as NOW Boost (i.e. most of Sky’s key TV channels), plus BT Sport Ultimate in up to 4K HDR as well as Eurosport.

BT states that the new IP capable box is “designed to support the future of all IP streaming and works with BT Smart Hubs and Complete Wi-Fi as well as the BT TV mobile app,” so it may be that they’ll have further features to unveil in the future. Speaking of future features, the BT TV Box Pro is stated to be “Wi-Fi capable,” but this will only come with an “enabling update planned for later this year” (at launch you’ll only be able to connect it using wires).

A spokesperson for BT added: “We deliver exceptional experiences to our customers every day, which is why they trust us. Currently, WiFi functionality on the BT TV Pro box does not deliver that exceptional experience, so we have decided to switch off that functionality while we work on a fix.

Sadly, BT couldn’t tell us precisely why the WiFi won’t be ready at launch or when the update will be released, but we can speculate. Our sources suggest that the update will probably follow around September 2021, and we suspect that part of the reason for this delay may be because it will need to integrate with their next gen BT Ultrafast Complete WiFi system and Smart Hub 3 router (WiFi 6 / 802.11ax mesh) – these have yet to be announced.

Finally, and we haven’t yet been able to get this confirmed, but we believe the new TV kit is likely to be supplied via Sagemcom.

UPDATE 1:23pm

Credits to one of our readers (Yatta!) for finding the manual for the new TV Box Pro device (here), which confirms that it’s still based on the YouView platform and includes the following ports: Power, TV Aerial In, TV Aerial Out, SPDIF (Audio), Ethernet (LAN), HDMI and a USB port. Apparently, the USB port enables you to connect a keyboard to the box, but no other uses are mentioned.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
44 Responses
  1. William Wilkinson says:

    If it’s capable of wifi 6 I’d consider buying it, as long as it can be used with other ISP’s. I don’t and won’t have BT as my ISP.

    1. PHILIP ENGLAND says:

      As it’s branded BT I am guessing it’s for BT customers only, does your provider provide a streaming TV service?

    2. Yatta! says:

      The YouView platform is ISP agnostic, it should work (for non subscription functions) with any UK ISP.

  2. Stefan says:

    Will a BT Complete Wifi subscription be needed for the box to work wirelessly? That’s what I have inferred from the article.

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      No, I don’t believe so, but I suspect they’ll make it work as part of their mesh too to help boost coverage.

    2. mrproject says:

      The box is WiFi capable (2.4G and 5G but not wifi 6).
      WiFi feature is hidden at the current time. It will be available later on via updates

  3. Yatta! says:

    Would be interesting to know what software platform the ‘box pro’ is running, if the manufacturer is Sagemcom it’s unlikely to be YouView, which is a shame IMO.

    There are two variants of the DTR-T4000, all initial variants did come with a 1TB HDD, though BT appear to have downgraded recent units to 500GB.

    1. Stefan says:

      The software platform remains Youview

    2. Yatta! says:


      Do you have a source for that?

    3. Yatta! says:


      I found the manual, does appear to be YouView, which is a relief:


    4. Stefan says:

      Yeah – it has also been announced on the Youview Community Forum web page as well.

    5. Mark Jackson says:

      Good spot on that manual.

    6. Ribble says:

      Its Sagemcom model RTIW387

    7. Stefan McLees says:

      I have noticed on page 16 of the User Manual that there is a reference to Youtube. Hopefully, this will be available as an app on the new box

  4. David says:

    Will there be an option to move your recordings from your old box to the new box or will you lose everything?

    1. Ribble says:

      You will lose then

  5. Scott says:

    Would be good to know if it’s a traditional HD or SSD in the box.

    Confirmation of Hdmi 2.1 for future proofing would also be nice.

    When this gets into the wild it will be interesting to see if they have various apps pre-loading for switching (eg. NowTV on demand content loads immediately rather than having to wait for the app to load up).

    1. Peter says:

      It’s an HDD for recordings but there might be some kind of onboard cashe etc

    2. Matt says:

      Out of Interest what functions of hdmi 2.1 do you see as needed, to date I’ve not seen anything (outside 8k or some gaming features) that can’t be done using the newer 2.0 chipsets

    3. John says:

      Why would you need HDMI 2.1 on a DVR?

      There’s no content that requires HDMI 2.1
      That kind of bandwidth is only needed for high refresh rate gaming.

      HDMI 2.0 is more than capable of showing broadcast and streaming content.

      HDMI 2.0 has a bandwidth of 18.0Gbps.

      4K 60 4:4:4 (no HDR) = 17.82Gbps
      4K 30 4:4:4 10b-HDR (no 60fps) = 11.14Gbps
      4K 60 4:2:2 10b-HDR (no 4:4:4) = 17.82Gbps

      You can even get 8k30fps content over HDMI 2.0 with DSC.

      HDMI 2.1 is only really necessary for 4k 120fps content (gaming), of which there is no viewable content.

      4K 60 4:4:4 10b-HDR = 22.28Gbps (requires HDMI 2.1).

      I don’t expect to see manufacturers sticking an HDMI 2.1 port on a DVR.

    4. Jeremy Corbyn says:

      John says, “Why would you need HDMI 2.1 on a DVR?” – simple its called future proofing. Within a year 8k tv’s will be common and the norm in middle range tv’s. 8K 120 FPS SPORT will be the next big thing. It was only 10 or 15 years ago the luddites were arguing that analogue tv with a strong signal was better than digital tv. BT keeps claiming its at the forefront of broadcast technology so prove it — give us punters the access to your claims.

      BT a HDR10 BOX is not the latest tech.

    5. John says:

      What are you talking about?
      8k 120fps can’t even be done on HDMI 2.1!n

      Do you realise how much bandwidth that would take? 123Gbps!!!

      HDMI 2.0 is more than enough for all broadcast and streaming content that we will see over the next few years at least.

      HDMI 2.0 does 18Gbps… What could possibly be broadcast at that rate?

      The box can only play what comes over the internet or over the air broadcast…

      It has a 1Gbps Ethernet port.
      What does over that Ethernet port orange going to saturate the HDMI connection.

    6. John says:


      Even the UK’s fastest home broadband connection (10Gbps) does barely half the bandwidth of HDMI 2.0

      HDMI 2.1 is only needed on TV’s that display high resolution, high refresh rate content, or the machine that creates that content (graphics cards, consoles).
      You also find them on AV receivers that sit between those 2 devices.

      You will never get any internet, satellite or terrestrial broadcast being able to provide anywhere near that kind of bandwidth.

      HDMI 1.4 is actually enough for these boxes.

    7. A different John says:

      You can’t mix broadband bandwidth and HDMI bandwidth like that John.

      It’s correct that you can’t get 8k120fps down HDMI 2.1 though. Even 8k60fps won’t go down HDMI 2.1
      That is alright though because there will not be anything broadcast on 8k60 or 8k120 in the next decade.

      Most content is broadcast at 24fps or 30fps.
      None of the big players do 4k60fps.
      So 8k 120fps is dream land. Even 8k 60fps is dream land. It’s far more likely to be broadcast at 24 or 30fps.

      As mentioned above HDMI 2.1 is only necessary for computers that generate their own high resolution media and is unlikely to be necessary for any streamed or broadcast programming.

      By the time such media exists the CPU in this TV box will be obsolete. It won’t be able to do the hardware decoding necessary for the next generation of HEVC required for 8k content.

    8. Pete Buccanon says:

      Hi John,
      Version 2.1 of the HDMI specification supports a new signalling system called FRL (Fixed Rate Link) to enable higher bandwidth. With lossless compression (DSC), HDMI 2.1 supports up to 120 Gb/s bandwidth for 8K/120FPS, within the 48 Gb/s specified.
      Best explanation I have come accross in following link.
      Chart explains all. In fact upto 10k/120FPS possible.
      Please see Ultra# footnote.

      Remember we are talking about the future. Cannot say to much but you might be surprised of the advances in next year or two, and how quick it comes to market Jeremy hit the nail on the head.

    9. Scott says:

      Matt says:
      June 5, 2021 at 8:02 am
      Out of Interest what functions of hdmi 2.1 do you see as needed, to date I’ve not seen anything (outside 8k or some gaming features) that can’t be done using the newer 2.0 chipsets

      Hi Matt – whilst i don’t need it now, my outlook was that 8K will be the next sport upgrade as prices drop and the technology becomes more common. The bandwidth for 8k will become increasingly “available” as the Fibre revolution takes place and with boxes having a lifespan of at least 6 years i was thinking that it should be future proofed.

      If we consider the proof of concept for 8k broadcasting took place in Feb 2020 then you’d hope that the rate of technology refresh would see 8K adapted in time for the start of the new football season in 2022 or 2023 (so 2-3yrs) ?

  6. Bob Smith says:

    The current bt vision box absolutely sucks. Using amazon prime is like wading through treacle, the lack of apps is laughable and the ui is a complete disaster. In order to, say, go to the app you use every day you have to slowly scroll past a screen full of apps you’ve never used once in years.

    They’ve recently updated the ui and it’s even worse. I can’t imagine the new experience any better.

    1. Ribble says:

      It’s much much better than any previous bt tv box. Much quicker to navigate and response is vastly improved

  7. Jeronimo says:

    Their TV offerings are now basically NowTV and BT sports. What would be the compelling reasons to take their packages and the new STB, compared to subscribing directly to Now TV and BT sport and then streaming on the likes of Apple TV box? Oh, probably the AMC channel and that’s all?

    1. Roger_Gooner says:

      Do not assume that everyone just wants to stream content. There are plenty of people who want to watch and record the Freeview and BT Sport Ultimate channels.

    2. John says:

      My wife has zero interest in steaming anything and still insists on recording live TV. This is just up her street

  8. Jeremy Corbyn says:

    HDR, so it’s only HDR10, not HLG HDR, or Dobly Vision or HDR10+. BT SPORT app HDR10 pile of crap. Will Netflix have Dolby Vision, Amazon Prime HDR10+ (OR DV on Saturday Jack Ryan series 1), YouTube format for HLG and HR10 support. Back to Sky for me

    1. Ribble says:

      I’ve yet to see YouTube available on it.
      Would seem daft not to have it.

    2. Gary Morehouse says:

      Agreed any serious box will have HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision (plus support for player driven lldv profile 5), and HLG HDR support. Wonder why nobody else picked up on this and BT support for HDR10 support only being mobile phone driven, or lack of 4k programming. Most decent tv’s now support the above depending on manufacturer, unlike 5 TO 6 years ago when HDR10 was king. Remember BT boasting about being first with HDR, only to leave out that you needed another box, with BT app or Samsung tv. Plus BBC IPLAYER without HLG support. We need more info BT about specs of box and support for existing customers upgrades.

  9. Trev says:

    Will the Standard 1080p picture quality be improved upon from the current too of the range DTR T4000 UHD box which actually softened the HD image from its predecessor in order to show off the 4k sport channel?

  10. Jonathan Hill says:

    My main complaint with the existing BT Youview box is the glacial speed of the UI. If they can speed this up to similar to the Sky UI then I’d be interested

    1. Ribble says:

      It’s much, much faster

  11. John Newman says:

    Will there be mini boxes like Sky Q for multi room?

    1. David Ritchie says:

      you can get 2 box’s

  12. Stuart Kennard says:

    I’ve only been a customer for 2 months when will I be able to get one?

  13. Robert Harris says:

    How do I order one

    1. Adrian says:

      I suspect that if your already on the VIP deal- let it expire by a day and ring them up to get put back on with a new box.

      I had big sports and upgraded to VIP and it automatically allocated me a new Pro box (Plus the usual; tenner for delivery)

  14. Jeremy Corbyn says:

    Hi John,

    You were quick to slap me down about HDMI 2.1 8k/120 FPS. I noticed that you have not replied to Pete’s post:

    Version 2.1 of the HDMI specification supports a new signalling system called FRL (Fixed Rate Link) to enable higher bandwidth. With lossless compression (DSC), HDMI 2.1 supports up to 120 Gb/s bandwidth for 8K/120FPS, within the 48 Gb/s specified.
    Best explanation I have come accross in following link.
    Chart explains all. In fact upto 10k/120FPS possible.
    Please see Ultra# footnote.

    John you mentioned on 5th June “You can even get 8k30fps content over HDMI 2.0 with DSC.”, so you know about FRL/DSC. Do you or anybody else disagree with Pete’s info about the specifications for HDMI 2.1.

    On another note the HDR10 streaming via ORF (via VPN) app on my android box, far superior to BT HDR10 for the Premier League etc.

    Plus which HDR format will the new BT box have, as mentioned by another poster.

    Well bye for now or is this chat dead.

    1. Jeremy says:

      Jeremy here, my mistake I meant EURO 2020 HDR10 streaming via ORF (via VPN) app on my android box, far superior to BT HDR10 for the Premier League etc.
      Spain vs Sweden SHOWING currently, I have radio 5 live commentary via BT box connected to AVR, and Android box connect to TV. I hold pause Radio 5 LIVE ON kick
      off whistle and press play when OFF stream catches up.
      Tip do same for HD Live F1 live stream ORF or Servus TV app (they share rights).

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