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Message 1 of 12

BT Sport live HD video quality (1080p50) on large televisions


So, I have an ongoing issue with the HD video quality on BT Sport (live broadcasts 1080p50)

I have no problems with UHD Premier league video quality, which is excellent.

Note that I have a 65” TV. Users who are watching on small devices phones/tablets etc. may find the quality acceptable.


BT Sport Expert “DarrenDev” has checked and confirmed that I am receiving the best quality streams for HD (up to 7.3 Mbps) and for UHD (31 Mbps). This should be the case anyway, as I have fast and reliable FTTP broadband (500 Mbps)

7.3 Mbps should be easily enough for very good quality HD, but it is not, on BT Sport at least.

I think the problem here may simply be the source video quality is simply not very good. Either that, or the video encoders used by BT Sport are very poor, but that seems unlikely to me.

But whatever the cause, as a user, the effect is the same. Very poor video quality, that is nowhere near as good as, for example, Sky Sports, where you never see the kind of issues/artefacts that I am seeing.


So, I’d like to know if others are seeing the same kind of issues as I am.

To give you an idea of what I’m seeing, I actually filmed some BT Sport video with my iPhone camera of my TV, and also grabbed a couple of stills from it.

Obviously doing this encodes the video again, so there is some reduction in quality due to that. However,  what you see here is still a fair reflection on what I’m seeing on my 65”LG  OLED TV. The iPhone hasn’t added significant extra artefacts to the video.




Test image 1 

This is an image near the start of the video. Video quality not too bad.


Test image 2 

This is an image about 5 seconds into the video. Notice that there is virtually zero detail in the grass.

You would never consider this to be a remotely HD image. This is not acceptable quality in my opinion.


Original 9 second video 

For reference, this is the original video, straight from my iPhone. Download the video before playback, as Dropbox will probably lower the video quality noticeably. The file is only 44MB.


So, in image 2 above, the quality is terrible. The difference here is that the camera is panning at the time.  It seems that the picture quality degrades terribly whenever there is any camera motion. 

Now considering that the HD streams are up to 7.3Mbps, you wouldn’t expect this kind of severe degradation.

I’ve seen the same kind of poor video quality on the MotoGP live broadcasts too.

On the other hand, the UHD premier league transmissions are absolutely spot-on.

I do not see this kind of HD degradation on any other services I use (including Sky, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple TV).

What I would like to know is if other large TV viewers are also seeing this poor quality (in my case I’m viewing via the BT Sport AppleTV app)

My suspicion is that the problem here is at the source, i.e. the video stream provided to BT Sport.


But as a subscriber, I think it is fair to expect much better quality than this.


Thank you for any help



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Message 2 of 12

Re: BT Sport live HD video quality (1080p50) on large televisions


What I would like to know is if other large TV viewers are also seeing this poor quality (in my case I’m viewing via the BT Sport AppleTV app)

Edited as I missed this bit above.

I have used the BT Sport app on an Apple TV 4K feeding a 55" OLED and the HD streams were excellent on a 48Mbps connection. 

I have Sky Q now and subscribe to BT Sport on that, apart from the last Premier League game I watched (Aston Villa v. Arsenal), I have always found the BT Sport picture quality on HD better than the much softer Sky Sports offering. 

On that last game I found the picture washed out, and the on screen graphics looked like they were made in MS Paint, but that is not the norm in my experience.

  • Is the Apple TV wired or wireless?
  • Which version is it?
  • Is the software up to date?
  • Have you tried a different HDMI cable?
  • Do you have another device to use to see if you get the same experience?
  • Have you changed any of the picture settings on the TV? (often best to turn off all processing)


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Message 3 of 12

Re: BT Sport live HD video quality (1080p50) on large televisions

Have you turned off all video processing on the tv? It could be the issue is the tv trying to smooth out the picture and do other adjustments.

Fibre 2 Unlimited using BT Hub 6A with BT TV Box Pro (UHD/HDR).
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Message 4 of 12

Re: BT Sport live HD video quality (1080p50) on large televisions

Do you have any other devices kicking around that you could run the BT Sport app on to rule out the ATV interfering with quality? Even if it's a laptop with HDMI.

Obviously the ATV is upscaling so might be worth setting that to 1080 & let the LG upscale, just to see if there's any difference there.

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Message 5 of 12

Re: BT Sport live HD video quality (1080p50) on large televisions

Hi @stereohaven (and all)

In answer to the questions:

1) AppleTV is using a wired connection
2) Apple TV 4K (2021) 64GB
3) Yes, tvOS 15.4 (19L440)
4) Yes, changing HDMI cable made no difference (not really surprising as it was already perfect with UHD)
5) Yes, tried connecting my MacBook Pro 2021 via HDMI to the TV. Same poor video quality
6) Extra processing,  TruMotion etc, are already turned off in the TV. It's the first thing I turn off when I get a new TV, as I absolutely hate the soap-opera effect etc.

Other info:
1) AppleTV settings I normally use are Match Content Range & Frame Rate
2) If I manually set the Apple TV output to 1080p 50Hz, the same problem still occurs.

Please note again though that the problem doesn't affect BT Sport UHD. That works perfectly.
Also, I watch Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple TV+ all through the Apple TV, and none of these streaming services exhibit the same problem.

As time goes on I'm more and more convinced that the problem is with the source material itself, and there is going to be no fix for this. Unfortunately, in this time of people watching video on small devices, many people don't appear to care about video quality, otherwise maybe a lot more people would have reported these kinds of issues.

Let me ask another question.
When the sport is from different parts of the planet, are you reliant on the quality of video streams that you are given? Do you have any control over the source video content quality? I assume you don't use your own cameras.
Might explain why things like the Premier league are much better quality.
Note also, that if I watch Premier league games in HD and not UHD, they are also perfectly fine!

So there is logic to why say the Cricket (and MotoGP) look so bad specifically. It's about source location, and how the video was encoded originally at source.

I know that for highlight programs, your quality is reduced further to 720p25, which looks even worse of course (especially the jerky 25fps), which I believe you have no control over either? 25fps is really unacceptable for fast sports events in my opinion. Are there any plans to improve that in the future?


Message 6 of 12

Re: BT Sport live HD video quality (1080p50) on large televisions

Thanks for the comprehensive reply, I'm stumped on this, hopefully someone else will be able to give you some guidance. 

On the query about picture quality from sources in different countries, then yes I would agree they will be different depending on what the home broadcaster makes available.

You will very rarely for example find a Champions League game in UHD that isn't the home tie for an English team where the infrastructure is in place.

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Message 7 of 12

Re: BT Sport live HD video quality (1080p50) on large televisions

Hi @stereohaven 

Thank you for the reply,

I suspect therefore that the Sky Sports infrastructure is much more extensive than BT Sport's, which is why I don't see the same issue with "non-local" sports on Sky.

I guess that's just how it is for now. Would be nice to think though that over time, this will improve on BT Sport too.

As things stand, I really don't consider the recent Cricket on BT Sport to be "HD" at all. There are just too many video quality issues.

Thanks again.


Message 8 of 12

Re: BT Sport live HD video quality (1080p50) on large televisions

One thing I did do is flick to the cricket on BT Sport 1 HD today to check the DOG (the channel logo, top right), because I did notice that in your screenshots it doesn't mention "HD", but on satellite, it does.

Might be nothing, but could it be serving you up an SD stream for some reason?

BT Sport 1 HDBT Sport 1 HD

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Message 9 of 12

Re: BT Sport live HD video quality (1080p50) on large televisions

@MissLiz Have you tried the HDMI display input settings in the Picture and Sound menu? I have just fixed an error with britbox by changing the settings - I only have an HD TV but perhaps your setting needs to be UFD 50fps 8bit. It seems different apps work on some settings but not others perhaps BT TV needs the higher setting  - see the solution I've just posted - BBV3 Error britbox - also worth mentioning @zulu17 who prompted my solution.

Fingers crossed it works for you.

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Message 10 of 12

Re: BT Sport live HD video quality (1080p50) on large televisions

Hi @stereohaven 

I'm positive it is the HD stream.

When there's no panning occurring and the screen is relatively static, the video looks good, and there's clearly enough detail in the image to be considered HD.

The problems really happen when the camera is panning, and the detail just disappears.