Questions from a would-be BT Youview box owner

#1
Apologies in advance if this topic has been aired elsewhere, but please forgive me as I’m a newbie to the forums.

I'm considering replacing my existing Panasonic FreeviewHD PVR as it's just starting to get a bit temperamental, and I rely on it for a lot of time-shifting. Having not been impressed with Panasonic's support recently (com7/8 issues), my first thought was to go for a Humax 5000T. However, it seems that the box is not all that it could be, and whilst the triple tuner aspect sounds good, that's about the only good thing about it from what I can make out.

My attention has been drawn to BT Youview boxes. I understand that these can be used without having a BT internet connection (with a loss of some service provider supplied features, which doesn't bother me), but it does have a number of benefits, including the NowTV app. (more of that later), which saves me having to get a separate box. Having seen the BT boxes in the past (my mother-in-law had one) I'm familiar with them, but have a couple of questions which I'd appreciate answers to please.

The box that I’m considering is on the John Lewis website (sorry, can't post external links yet). However, I’m not sure if the UHD model might not be a better bet, which is up for grabs on Amazon. My questions, in no particular order, are these:

1) I know that there's no option to add padding to recordings. In real terms, how accurate are these boxes when it comes to recordings, both one-offs and series? Obviously, some issues will be broadcaster-based, but in general?

2) When playing back recordings or watching live TV that has a full 5.1 audio stream, is that delivered over the HDMI connection, or is only a stereo stream presented?

3) As in (2) above, will I get full 5.1 audio from the Netflix app. via HDMI?

4) I have other Humax kit. Can I change the remote control channel on these boxes to avoid clashes, or must it be done on the Humax kit?

5) As I don't have a BT internet connection, how are core firmware updates handled? OTA, USB? (My ISP is VM.)

6) What about updates to the embedded apps. — iPlayer, All4, Netflix, NowTV, etc.?

7) Any other 'gotchas' or caveats?

I did post something similar on AVForums recently and was directed here, which, with hindsight should probably have been my first port of call.

The NowTV thing is of interest, not so much now, as the picture and audio quality don’t currently match the likes of Netflix. However, later this year Sky is supposed to be updating the service to give better picture quality (no word on better audio quality though). Assuming that the embedded NowTV application is updated then not having to buy and integrate yet another external box is a big plus point.

At face value, the BT box looks to be a good compromise between the Panasonic and Humax offerings. I don't use the padding option on recordings now, and in real terms my requirements are just for a reliable PVR, with occasional use of the extra apps.


TIA, Clem
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
#2
YouView boxes all do the same thing and have the same interface, because YouView control the software (whoever makes or provides the box).
 
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Clem_Dye

New Member
#3
Thanks, I see. But what about the specific questions that I have? My 'net searches pretty much came-up empty, other than perhaps the NowTV app. may only support the films and entertainment packs -- as I'm after only the entertainment pack that should be OK.

Clem
 

gomezz

Well-Known Member
#4
The brutal truth is that if it were not for MotoGP I would have no qualms in ditching my BT Youview box. My NowTV needs (sport) are better served by my Android tablet and a Chromecast dongle than the crippled offering on the Youview box.
 

Luke

Well-Knwοn Мember
#6
My attention has been drawn to BT Youview boxes. I understand that these can be used without having a BT internet connection (with a loss of some service provider supplied features, which doesn't bother me)
Correct

The box that I’m considering is on the John Lewis website (sorry, can't post external links yet).
If it is the BT badged box then that would be the DTR-T2110 which has the same software and hardware as the DTR-T2100 that I occasionally play with.

However, I’m not sure if the UHD model might not be a better bet
I got rid of mine.
The fan is too noisy.
PVRs can get very hot to the touch but this one worried me. The case is just a hand me down design from the DTR-T2100/T2110 and was not redesigned for fan use.
There is also an additional issue with the remote and having other Humax kit which is not present on the DTR-T2100/T2110.
The start-up time from full standby is only about 60 seconds but given it is that long it doesn’t make that much difference to me. With it taking 60 seconds I would still just turn it on and come back a bit later.

However, I’m not sure if the UHD model might not be a better bet, which is up for grabs on Amazon.
‘On Amazon’ but not from Amazon.
The UHD is not a retail model so what you are buying, even if sold 'new' is either second hand (and hopefully unused) or via some sort of grey market.


1) I know that there's no option to add padding to recordings. In real terms, how accurate are these boxes when it comes to recordings, both one-offs and series? Obviously, some issues will be broadcaster-based, but in general?
Although mine is installed in a dual transmitter area I manage to tune into just 1 transmitter and I find reliability based on the broadcasters data is extremely good. Not all broadcasters support Accurate Recording and some only for some of their channels. For me not having any form of padding is a show stopper. The HDR-FOX T2 with ability via the custom software to pick and choose AR/padding channels is the winner.
A disadvantage of all youview boxes was that there was no in built manual control over tuning. This used to cause identical issues to Humax freeview recorders when using their 'auto' retune. Last year there was a leap forward with youview boxes and many of the record/watch situations which triggered recoding failures with both Humax freeviw and Humax youview no longer failed with Humax Youview. There are still some situations which will fail and I am not hopeful that this will be resolved. On the other hand an HDR-FOX T2 (and probably any other Humax freeview recorder) with manual tuning to 1 transmitter was better and it still is better.
In the past few months there has been a noticeable increase in reported recording failure with Humax youview boxes. Youview claim that the issue has been identified and are now issuing updates to some boxes

2) When playing back recordings or watching live TV that has a full 5.1 audio stream, is that delivered over the HDMI connection, or is only a stereo stream presented?
I don't know for sure so won't answer in case I confuse matters.

3) As in (2) above, will I get full 5.1 audio from the Netflix app. via HDMI?
I haven't used it myself but from other posts it appears very clear that the answer is 'yes'.

4) I have other Humax kit. Can I change the remote control channel on these boxes to avoid clashes, or must it be done on the Humax kit?
It must be done on the other Humax kit.
If you were to buy the UHD (DTR-T4000) then you will find that any remote for HD/HDR-FOX T2s, HDR-2000T/1800T will switch it on whatever the remote mode the other Humax kit is set to. Also the remote for the PVR-9200T/9300T/9150T will also switch it on. It has been like that for 4 years so I guess Humax will never ever fix it.

5) As I don't have a BT internet connection, how are core firmware updates handled? OTA, USB? (My ISP is VM.)
There is no OTA. The service provided by the DTG has ceased and youview never used that service and so I doubt that they would setup a more expensive alternative.
USB is out of the question for the normal updates. The boxes can be updated via USB but the use of that is heavily restricted.
Updates are by an internet connection. With the internet the badge on the equipment used to access the internet via your router does not have to match the owner of the internet site that it is trying to access. I have seen a VM router used to update a youview box. Providing the router is not setup to bar internet access for the youview box that should be OK. (The youview box attempts to send *everything* you do to youview; there is no opt out.)
Updates for a particular model are over a number of weeks (6?). The box will check overnight and download if it is your turn. If you attempt to action a manual download on day 1 it will update even if it is not your turn. BT control when the roll-out period is.
Having said that the youview software does check who your internet provider is and if it recognises that your ISP is one of the youview ISPs it will make additional style and clutter modifications to what you see.

6) What about updates to the embedded apps. — iPlayer, All4, Netflix, NowTV, etc.?
All done in the overnight housekeeping or can be forced via the menus.

The NowTV thing is of interest, not so much now, as the picture and audio quality don’t currently match the likes of Netflix.
The NowTV app is currently NowTV Cinema only. For BT Youview customers this will expand to the full NowTV sometime in 2019. Unlike Amazon Prime where youview have 'given away' that it will be rolled out to the latest 2014 models, to my knowledge youview have not commented on NowTV. When BT talk about their BT TV service they mention youview's updates as if they weren’t youview update but instead purely for BT. Unfortunately for NOW TV it may be just BT customers who get the full app. Sky's announcement of the agreement just concerns BT, it does not mention youview, although it would be through the youvew box for BT customers.

However, later this year Sky is supposed to be updating the service to give better picture quality (no word on better audio quality though).
Have you got a link for that? Is it for the Now TV boxes and all versions of the app on all devices? Will it cost extra if it can be used by the box/app?

7) Any other 'gotchas' or caveats?
Loads.
- No manual tuning.
- No padding.
- No USB archive.
- No custom firmware.
- No DLNA server.
- No DLNA client.
- Basic PVR. E.g. No slow motion, no recording from buffer, no bookmarks, no wrap round series list etc.
- If you don’t like spyware Youview wanting to know everything that you, your spouse and your children do. Possibly the announced Alexa for youview will help them in that aim
....
 
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Clem_Dye

New Member
#7
Thanks all for the detailed replies. It seems that my Youview box idea is not so smart, and the Humax 5000T may have to be my friend. As for the com7/8 issues, it was/is something that seems to blat Panasonic PVRs. Once a re-tune event to cater for com7/8 has taken place, the box demonstrates a fault whereby HD material just won't record, either via a timed event or manual record. Panasonic has been pretty shabby dealing with the issue, but the people at Freeview point to Panasonic. The company denied this of course, but then mysteriously released updated firmware for the newer boxes, leaving owners with older boxes in the dust. There's something in the data that the boxes can't handle. For now, the issue seems to have been addressed, at least for my TX, Bilsdale, but my box hasn't had a firmware update, so I have no idea how long it will work before dying again. The recent re-tune has blatted boxes getting stuff from Bluebell Hill - there's a long thread about this going back to December 2017 on AVForums.

Clem
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
#8
As for the com7/8 issues, it was/is something that seems to blat Panasonic PVRs. Once a re-tune event to cater for com7/8 has taken place, the box demonstrates a fault whereby HD material just won't record, either via a timed event or manual record.
We had something reminiscent of this on HDR-FOX a while back. We had a CF work-around, and some time later Humax came up with a firmware update.
 
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Clem_Dye

New Member
#9
I think that Panasonic has fixed the issue too, but not on all of its kit. They've drawn a line at how far back they'll go supporting their hardware, and that's excluded my PVR, hence the search for a replacement.

Clem
 
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