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Message 1 of 20

BT TV fiasco...

Hello all,

This is my first post here and sadly it's not a particularly joyful one... 

Back in September I had a random cold call from the India sales team, regarding BT TV and BT Mobile offers. Long story short, I decided to make the switch to BT TV (and therefore FreeView) from my ‘clunky’ old Freesat system, which had served us well for many years but, as I said, was really ‘clunky’. So when BT called out of the blue one evening, I decided to make the change.
I needed a FreeView aerial as part of the new system, so opted for BT’s solution which sounded ok, and arranged a date for BT’s aerial sub-contractors to turn up and fit same. Meantime, all the various bits of BT TV kit turned up as stated so all was ready for the aerial bods when they turned up.

We live in a bungalow in a low valley in Herts, and all the houses here have a tall pole upon which their aerials are affixed, in order to gain maximum signal strength. So Aerial Bod 1 goes up the ladder, making a big point to impress me about how he used to fit sky dishes onto the sides of tall buildings and flats in Scotland and how he had a head for such heights and nothing scared him, blah blah blah…


Still with me? Ok…


At this point he attached the BT aerial to the existing aerial pole (firmly attached to chimney, so made sense), but only halfway up the pole, this being the comfortable 'reach point' from his ladder. I expressed my concern that this would probably be inadequate, as the BT aerial seemed rather small and would be better at the top of the pole, like the old non-working original aerial we inherited with the house.
His response was “Nah mate, it might be small, but it’s powerful…”, as he came down the ladder - and that was that - there was no way he was going back up to raise the BT aerial any higher. His parting shot was along the lines of: “If the picture starts to break up, you’ll have to buy a booster box and fit it behind the box to make it work properly…”.


There’s more yet…


Long story short again, I just wanted them out of the door. The BT TV kit was installed and the TV tuned to the new BT TV box. All was right with the world. Or so I thought.
Pretty soon, the picture quality on all the HD channels started to deteriorate into a pixelated mess, breaking up, buffering and many times, failing completely until I switched to ‘fluffy-vision’ or the non-HD channels. Then I’d go back to a HD channel and after a while the whole palava was repeated, time and again. Not ideal. This problem continued for several weeks and eventually I got so annoyed, I re-instated the Freesat box. In the meantime, I contacted India several times to try to solve the issue, spending far too much pointless time on my knees in front of the BT TV box, mobile phone to my ear, following their instructions in various attempts to get the problem solved, to no avail. We arranged for a BT engineer to call round to look at the issue, but while waiting for him to arrive, I very grumpily purchased a signal booster to see if it made any difference at all - and it seemed that it did. So I gave the BT TV box another go…


Then what?


At this point I did think I’d cracked it and subsequently cancelled the BT Engineer (took three calls, mind you…). However, soon afterwards the old buffering and pixelating issues returned, and have been getting worse by the week ever since - doesn’t matter what time of day or night, so it’s probably not related to broadband peak-time traffic hikes.


I did wonder if my ‘Unlimited Broadband with BT Infinity 2’ might be to blame, but having just done a speed test, I’m getting 67.41Mb/s download and 12.33Mb/s upload speeds, whatever that means, so it’s perhaps not that.

I probably don’t need to explain to any of you (those still reading and not reaching for the razor blades...) how irritating it is to be watching a really intense part of a programme, only for the action to suddenly go into slow-motion for no reason. Or to start breaking up. So today I’ve finally given up and have removed the BT TV box after three paltry months of terrible performance and sheer viewing frustration.

The (clunky) 6+ year-old Freesat box is back in service. No Pixelating. No sudden slo-mo. No picture loss. It’s a step backwards but it’s a step that works for me. In fact, I’ve never had a problem with it from day one.


All I want is to be able to watch TV in High-Definition, not old-school ‘fluffy-vision’. I don’t want to watch TV on a much-vaunted box of BT tricks that leaves me feeling frustrated, angry and, ultimately, cheated.

So here I am, about three months into a 12-month contract and I’m not using the supplied BT equipment because it just doesn’t work. I’ve spoken to BT (India again) to be told that if I cancel the contract, then under the terms of the agreement I will be liable for the cost of the box (around £220) and any cancellation/Admin fees. All very standard stuff.


So finally…


Currently it looks like all I can realistically do is forget about the BT box altogether - but carry on paying the monthly charge until September, then cancel the contract. Ok, it’ll have cost me £84 for a year of utterly pointless viewing misery, but I can at least use my Freesat system. I just feel really idiotic for agreeing to buy into what is patently a very poor system. But I’m not going to keep kicking myself over that! It was bad enough when I tried to use the BT Cloud as a secure off-site backup for my work files - never again! But I can say that I’m fairly happy with the BT Mobile contract I took out at the same time as the BT TV fiasco (albeit that the mobile app does not work…)


So, can anyone advise me where I can go from here, if anywhere?  It's been a shocking experience, never to be repeated.


Thanks for your patience.

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Message 2 of 20

Re: BT TV fiasco...

I have asked a moderator to provide assistance, they will post an invite on this thread.
They are the only BT employees on this forum, and are based in the UK.

Message 3 of 20

Re: BT TV fiasco...

Thanks Keith, appreciate your assistance.

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Message 4 of 20

Re: BT TV fiasco...

Hi @Paul_Goldmaxx, the pixelation that you get on HD channels - is that on the Freeview channels, BT subscription channels or both?


I don't have an aerial so I just use my BT box for the subscription channels, with a Humax Freesat box for the rest. It can be a pain switching between the two but it does give me the flexibility to record up to 4 channels at a time.

Message 5 of 20

Re: BT TV fiasco...

Hi @Paul_Goldmaxx


Thanks for your posts and welcome to the community!


I'm sorry that you've been experiencing pixelation on your BT TV service.  I appreciate that you've been on the phone quite a few times running through all the help tips without any success.


We can take your details to have a closer look and get things working as they should be.  Click on my username here >> RobbieMac << and you'll see our contact link on the left hand side underneath my profile picture.





Message 6 of 20

Re: BT TV fiasco...

Hi Andy, apologies for the long response time - it's proving to be a bit of a month so far...
I've not subscribed to any other BT channels so far, so I don't know if the issue I have affects those. I have no reason to think they wouldn't also be affected.


For the first time in a few weeks yesterday, I switched back to the BT YouView box so I could watch some catch-up TV on All4 (my old Freesat box can't connect to All4) and the moment the box displayed a HD channel after it had fired up, it was utterly unwatchable due to exterme pixelation and breakup. In the event, I wasn't interested in what it was showing, but it proves that the issue is still there...


I've switched over to my old Humax Freesat box too - no problems with it whatsoever, apart from the clunky old interface, but I'm assured that the new Humax Freesat boxes are much faster!  I can't stop kicking myself for being such a fool to go with BT...


Roll on August when I can cancel the BT TV contract and finally rid myself of this useless bit of skip-bound rubbish.

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Message 7 of 20

Re: BT TV fiasco...

You need a working rooftop TV aerial.


You haven't got one. 




1) Try to get BT to send someone out to refit one. Worth talking to your neighbours to see if they can actually receive Freeview through an aerial. If not, don't bother wasting your time, and proceed to 2) below.


2) Use Freesat.


If you're not subscribed to any on demand channels (which will be delivered through your internet connection rather than your aerial) then whatever contract you're on will be to cover the cost of the BT TV box - which is worthless to you as without subscribing to any BT channels is nothing more than a Freeview box/recorder for use with a decent aerial - which you haven't got.


So - sort out your aerial if possible, or buy a decent, less clunky than the one you have, Freesat box.



Message 8 of 20

Re: BT TV fiasco...

It sounds like your problem is more likely to be with the aerial rather than the BT Box if you don't have any subscription channels.

In Settings, what does it show for signal strength and quality?

Message 9 of 20

Re: BT TV fiasco...

You've not actually given BT a chance to fix the issues you're having have you ?. You cancelled the BT engineer remember ?? and as far as I can see you havent sought any help since apart from posting a lengthy diatribe which has resulted in being offered help by BT once again.


So, have you contacted BT as requested ?

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Message 10 of 20

Re: BT TV fiasco...

Hi Robbie,


Thanks for calling this morning to discuss the issues I've been having with BT TV, much appreciated. 


With your help, let's see where we go from here.




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