Best YouView Boxes And Recorders For Free UK TV In 2024

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YouView, the “hybrid” over-the-air and broadband TV service, offers an interesting mix – at its core lie the 80+ Freeview channels we all know, but it also adds two on-demand layers: A 7 days catch-up service for some of the main channels, and the ability to add subscription-based content from providers such as NOW TV and Netflix.

And while there’s no monthly cost for the basic YouView service, you do have to buy a relatively expensive box – such as our Editor’s Choice, the BT Ultra HD YouView Box.

It’s also worth noting that YouView seems to be slowly fading away – at least as a standalone service that consumers can get directly.

While some of BT TV (now known as EE TV) and TalkTalk’s set-stop boxes are still based on YouView – it’s not easy to purchase a YouView box directly from a retailer (or even get support for it). Therefore, some of the set-top boxes are only available second-hand at this point.

In this YouView review, I look at the service, the added features, and the best YouView boxes you can still buy without a subscription, detailing the things you need to consider before buying a box.

Cord Busters’ Best YouView Boxes For 2024

Best YouView Boxes and Recorders

What Is YouView?

YouView, launched back in 2012, was a project backed by the major UK telecommunications companies and broadcasters.

Even though Freeview (the service offering free-to-air channels via a tuner and an aerial – see our full guide) was already around for years, the companies were looking for an “upgraded” service – one that’ll offer both free channels, a catch-up service, and the ability to pay for TV “add-ons”.

YouView offers access to most Freeview channels and radio stations (BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and many others) via an easy-to-use Electronic Programme Guide. The YouView box connects not only to your aerial, but also to your broadband, so it adds internet-based on-demand programming: you can catch up on shows from the past seven days, and order paid, on-demand content from some providers.

Currently, the broadband-based players available on YouView are:

  • BBC iPlayer, ITVX (only on some boxes), Channel 4, My5: The on-demand apps of the major broadcasters
  • Netflix – The behemoth streaming video service (See our Netflix UK Review)
  • Now (TV) – Sky’s contract-free streaming service – but only on some devices (Also see our NOW review)
  • milkshake! – Channel 5’s shows for pre-preschoolers.
  • UKTV Play – Free catch-up from Dave, Yesterday, Really and Drama.
  • STV – On-demand shows from the Scottish channel.
  • S4C – On-demand shows from the Welsh-language channel.

Note that some of the old YouView boxes no longer support some of the mentioned apps – ITV Hub, for example, was removed from some, without being replaced by ITVX.

Furthermore, the once-popular Humax T1000 YouView box lost ALL of its apps in 2023.

If you’re a BT/EE or TalkTalk subscriber, you can get more paid-for content through them.

And, on EE TV’s 4K Pro Box, which has YouView underneath – you can watch the Freeview channels via broadband instead of an aerial – but it’s only available directly from BT or EE.

EE TV Box Pro Cabinet
The EE TV Pro Box (Only available via EE / BT)

In the distant past, YouView also had the Sky VOD Store as an app – but Sky removed it in 2016.

The picture quality on YouView goes up to HD on supported channels, and can even go up to Ultra HD 4K on the newer boxes – but there are no 4K Freeview channels yet, so 4K would only work with some limited on-demand content.

TV With YouView

How Do I Get YouView On My TV?

The components you need for YouView (other than a telly) are:

  • A YouView Set-top Box – This is the main receiver that connects to your TV. The YouView+ boxes also have a hard drive for recording content.
  • A TV Aerial – The free channels are broadcast over the air, so you need an aerial that can intercept those signals. It can either be an outdoor aerial (usually on your roof), or a cheap indoor aerial. Take a look at our guide for buying the best indoor aerials.
  • An Ethernet Connection: The catch-up and on-demand features of YouView work via your broadband connection. The boxes, however, do not support WiFi – so you need to connect the box directly to your broadband router (or via a Powerline Adapter – see our review of the best ones)

Do note that a broadband connection is a MUST – you can’t even setup the boxes without connecting them to the internet first. If that’s an issue for you, you might want to look at getting a Freeview Box instead.

You can get a YouView box in one of two ways – either as part of a bundle from BT / EE or TalkTalk (combining broadband, YouView, and optional extra TV channels), or by buying the box directly from a retailer. 

As a cord cutting advocate, I, of course, prefer the retail route, which comes without any contracts or monthly subscriptions – but alas, YouView is slowly moving away from that option.

In 2023, YouView shut down its support forum, and the focus now is on the boxes you get from EE and TalkTalk, and some Sony TVs that come with YouView built-in.

BT, for example, launched their new 4K TV Box Pro in 2021, which supports Ultra HD (4K) with HDR picture quality, Dolby Atmos for advanced immersive audio, four Freeview tuners, 1 TB of storage (for up to 600 hours of recordings), and more.

In 2023, BT TV transformed into EE TV, but it’s quite similar, and the box is the same – you can learn more about EE’s plans here.

YouView VS Freeview – Which is better?

When YouView launched back in 2012, it had one significant advantage over Freeview – its broadband connection, enabling the catch-up service and a selection (albeit limited) of apps, both from the major broadcasters (such as BBC iPlayer) and streaming services such as Netflix.

At the time, Freeview only offered over-the-air programming using somewhat “dumb” set-top receivers – so YouView had a clear advantage.

Eventually, though, Freeview introduced “Freeview Play” on higher-end boxes: a very similar (to YouView) service, that offers a mix of over-the-air channels with a 7-day catch-up service and a selection of apps. Sounds familiar?

With YouView and Freeview Play being so similar, it really depends on the specific boxes and features you’re looking for. Some advantages for YouView:

  • An integrated search engine, to find programmes and movies from all the different channels and services (Some Freeview boxes already have something similar)
  • Adding a BT/TalkTalk subscription adds a lot of channels (including sports)

On the other hand, basic Freeview boxes can be bought for lower prices than YouView. And the higher-end Freeview boxes have a more impressive selection of TV apps, including Amazon Prime Video – so that’s a thing to consider.

That being said – YouView has long been trailing behind Freeview, with the newer and more advanced boxes being released on that side of the fence (at least those you can get directly in retail stores).

If you’re not confused enough yet, there’s also Freesat to consider, where you would need a satellite dish outside your home – but you do get more channels and better reception.

And, of course, there are the internet streaming devices that, while don’t offer Freeview directly, can “imitate” some of that functionality with catch-up apps (BBC iPlayer, ITVX, etc.), and broadband-based Freeview apps such as the official Freeview App for smartphones.

Later this year, we’re also going to see Freely, the broadband-based replacement for Freeview and Freesat, which is coming from Everyone TV, the company which runs those services.

YouView is one of Freely’s technology partners – but it’s too early to know what effect it will have on the YouView service.

Why Does YouView Need An Aerial?

YouView’s over-the-air channels rely on signals that come, well, over-the-air. If your indoor aerial isn’t good enough, or if you live in an area where the signal is too weak – you won’t get good quality on your TV, or worse – won’t be able to watch YouView at all.

You can check the estimated coverage in your house with the Digital UK Postcode Checker. You put in your postcode and house number, and the site gives you some details about the estimated reception in your area.

Because reception is such an issue (both with YouView and Freeview), many buyers blame their boxes or indoor aerials for their lack of reception – while often, the weak signals are to blame.

The bad news is that there’s no way to know for sure what reception looks like in your house until you buy the devices and give them a try. 

If you need an indoor aerial, check out our Best Indoor Aerials review roundup – the required aerials for Freeview and YouView are the same.

Buying A YouView Box – What Do I Need To Know?

Truth be told, there aren’t a lot of YouView boxes out there, so making a choice is – for good and for bad – not that complicated (and at this point, some are only available second-hand).

Still, because the boxes aren’t cheap, you should look carefully at their different features (which is what we’re here to help with).

The boxes come in three distinct flavours – YouViewYouView+ and YouView+ Ultra HD.

All the YouView boxes come with all the standard features: Over the air channels (some in HD), 7-day catch-up on selected channels via the Electronic Programme Guide, the major broadcasters’ catch-up apps, and the ability to pause and rewind a live broadcast. You can also add premium (paid-for) channels via BT, TalkTalk and Plusnet.

YouView+ boxes are also Personal Video Recorders (PVRs), adding a Hard Drive to the mix, so you can record and save programmes from the live channels (either directly, or by setting future recordings via the EPG.) All the boxes I cover in this review support YouView+ – so they come with a hard drive.

YouView new interface apps

YouView+ Ultra HD adds 4K support – but remember you also need a telly that supports 4K. The 4K content is limited at the moment – you get some 4K content from Netflix (provided you have their highest subscription tier), and from BT (if you pay for it.)

The BBC also offer a limited selection of 4K content.

There are currently TWO primary YouView boxes manufacturers – Humax and Huawei. There are boxes that come with BT and TalkTalk branding (even if you buy them from a retailer such as Amazon), but despite the branding, these boxes are also manufactured by Humax (BT) and Huawei (TalkTalk).

Then there are boxes that come without the BT/TalkTalk branding, arriving directly from Humax and Huawei.

Does the branding matter? Not really, but some users do get annoyed at seeing the BT or TalkTalk logos each time they boot-up their device, without being subscribers. Other than that, you should mainly focus on the features and the price, and choose the best YouView box that fits your needs.

Pricing: You can either get the box directly from a retailer (such as Amazon), or in a bundle from EE / TalkTalk. Remember that while paying monthly to one of these companies might look cheaper, it might ultimately be higher if you keep the box over a long period of time.

And remember that even with the boxes you buy directly from Amazon, you can still add the “Premium” BT channels later, so I would usually go for the no-contracts and no-monthly-subscriptions offer.

Best YouView Boxes 2024

 Best Overall  

Generous recording space, 4K support and catch-up apps

BT Ultra HD YouView Box UHD DTR-T4000/500GB with Twin HD Freeview and 7 Day Catch Up TV

Editor's Choice



BT Ultra HD YouView Review

The best YouView box you can get at the moment (at least without a BT subscription), with a very decent price, this is the only box that also features Ultra HD (4K) capabilities.

The 4K comes with a catch, though – you need a telly that supports it, of course, and you also need 4K content – which, unfortunately, currently only comes down here to Netflix (with their upper-tier subscription level) and BT Sports (which requires a BT subscription.)

The box has all the other YouView features you would expect – Good user interface and EPG, catch-up service, all the major apps (it’s a shame Amazon Prime Video is not included, as they also offer 4K), dual tuners, and either a 500GB or a 1TB Hard Drive.

There are no Scart or Composite connections for older TVs – but why would you buy a 4K box for an older TV? Instead, you get an HDMI 2.0 connection.

All in all, this is an excellent YouView box, and even if you don’t have a 4K TV yet, you might as well future-proof yourself with this box – since it comes at such an excellent price.

Excellent performance and picture quality at an affordable price.

HUMAX DTR-T2000 500GB YouView Receiver with HD




Humax YouView 500GB Review

An excellent YouView box with a decent hard drive (500GB), The Humax box does everything right – all the catch-up services, the standard EPG guide (7 days back and 8 days forward), watching catch-up shows via the EPG, and easy recording. YouView’s universal search really shines here, letting you search for a specific show/movie across all the channels and catch-up services – and it does it fast (although the interface does get laggy on some of the menus).

Unlike the TalkTalk and BT boxes, this one has no branding on it other than its manufacturer’s – Humax, so when you load it up, you don’t have to keep seeing useless BT notices that do nothing (if you don’t have their subscription.)

Many reported the box is noisy – which is understandable with a hard drive inside, but other boxes managed to be quieter. All in all it’s a great HD YouView box, at an excellent price.

Fast interface, good performance and a decent price. 




TalkTalk YouView DN372T Review

The “TalkTalk” branded YouView+ box, manufactured by Huawei, is a great little box – as with all other YouView boxes, if offers a good user interface (and a speedy one – though starting up takes too long), a 7-day EPG with a catch-up service for some of the channels, and dual Freeview tuners (so you can record two channels at the same time.)

The hard drive is only 320GB, which is on the small side – and you can’t extend it via an external USB stick/HD. An annoying interface issue is that you can’t tell the recorder to record extra minutes before and after a live show – so you’re at risk of losing the end of shows that ran late.

As with the BT boxes, adding TalkTalk content requires a contract with them – which is a shame.

If you’re looking for a “basic” YouView recorder that does everything right without too many bells and whistles, and you don’t mind the TalkTalk branding – this box is a good choice.

Good performance, but not UHD and a bit costly

BT Youview+ Set Top Box with Twin HD Freeview and 7 Day Catch Up TV, No Subscription




BT YouView HD 500GB Recorder Review

The HD model of the BT YouView+ recorder (manufactured by Humax) has a lot going for it – the 7-days EPG works great, the box is small, pretty and very quiet, all the major TV catch-up apps are installed, as well as Netflix – and you don’t need an active BT subscription to use it.

However, if you want to add BT’s extra channels – such as BT Sports, you can’t do it on-demand (a-la NOW TV Cinema or Netflix), but you need to be a BT Broadband/TV customer – which is a shame, as you lose the flexibility this way (with BT losing cord-cutting customers!)

The box also has dual-tuners (so you can record/watch two separate channels) and a 500GB hard drive – so why is further down in the list? Simply because the newer model, which offers Ultra HD (4K), is better and costs almost the same. If you get this box during a special sale, or refurbished (Click to Check on Amazon) – then it’s a great catch.

15 thoughts on “Best YouView Boxes And Recorders For Free UK TV In 2024”

  1. I wondered – is there either a Youview Box or Freeview Play box with HDD recorder which will enable you to ‘edit’ recordings (to remove commercial breaks, etc) and that also has a ‘remote’ record facility – where you can ‘programme’ it to set recordings from a remote location via Android App?

    I used to have this facility but sadly the app was ceased.


    • Re YouView boxes, you can’t edit out adverts, but you can skip over them while watching those programmes.

      They have a remote record setting capability which is now provided by the BT TV app; BT have kindly allowed certain aspects of this app, including the EPG, to be used by YouView box owners, even TalkTalk ones, who are not BT TV subscribers.

      An issue we now have with YouView boxes is that retail sales have recently ceased altogether, so to buy one, you will need to go on eBay or Amazon, which do still have some brand new ones, as well as pre-owned.

      BT now have a new UHD/HDR box, even better than the UHD T4000, made by Sagemcom, but it’s strictly premium BT TV customers only at the moment, and is likely to remain subscriber-only, and not available retail.

      Can’t answer for Freeview, but pretty soon (2022) it’s going to be Freeview Play only. And with the commercial channels being stakeholders, I can’t see you being able to edit out ads on these either.

    • Short answer – No.

      Long answer – No, YouView requires a terrestrial aerial (a regular ‘TV aerial’) but Sky uses a satellite dish.

      There’s a service called Freesat that gets free UK channels off a Sky dish, and has an EPG (electronic programme guide) that makes it look nearly but not quite like Freeview, just as the channels nearly but not quite match the Freeview ones that YouView gets.

      You need a Freesat box or recorder to connect to this, but for someone with a dish who doesn’t want to pay for Sky any more and doesn’t want to pay for a TV aerial installation – or who can’t get any terrestrial channel reception, or only gets a limited number of channels (Freeview Lite) – it’s an option to consider.

  2. Hi all. Any ideas how I can watch the tv recorded on my main tv with the number 3.option here (the talk talk DN372T/ Huawei) and watch the recording on my 2nd bedroom ‘dumb’ tv.
    If I got a second box and used same log in would this work?

    A no cables option would be really appreciated. Thanks

    • The ‘TV recorded on my main TV’ isn’t recorded on your TV, or even from your TV. It’s recorded on your YouView box; which may be connected to that TV by HDMI/SCART, and possibly by a passthrough aerial cable, but otherwise isn’t associated with that TV in any way during recordings.

      Recordings on any YouView box can only be watched on the box that made them. So to watch the recordings on your second TV, you would need to:-
      Carry the box they were recorded on up to the second TV, and connect it there;
      OR use a very long HDMI cable/HDMI extender to get the signal upstairs (and then have issues being unable to control it with a remote, unless you ran an IR extender in the opposite direction):
      OR record every programme you might want to watch in either location separately on each box;
      OR use a Slingbox (if Slingbox are still going) to place-shift the recordings upstairs.

      We used to Slingbox YouView recordings to Spain (it has a back channel for the virtual YouView remote it provides), and it’s doable, but perhaps a bit overkill just for going upstairs.

      Oh, and I don’t think a YouView box actually has a login, does it?

      • Thanks so much for your reply. I had seen else where that if you get 2 boxes and use same login you could what same recoding. I couldn’t work out how this was possible. They must have been talking about another box with a log in. Thank you help me understand what’s possible and what’s not with this box. I really appreciate your time. Take care.

  3. Your last comment is confusing. Do they not all have dual tuners so you can watch one programme and record another at the same time? Or even record two others, as on our current Humax box?

    Thanks for a very helpful article

  4. The splash screens are retained despite the ISP you use. If you are not contracted to BT or TT the box interface will be YouView branded, but the splash screens (when rebooting the boxes) are unchanged from when they were issued. Our BT Humax has always has the BT logo on restart and the TT Huawei always has the TT logo at the same point.

  5. You aren’t quite right about the branding issues. These divide into two – what is printed on the box and what appears onscreen. Boxes, from BT, TalkTalk, Humax Retail and Huawei Retail, have BT, TalkTalk, Humax and Huawei respectively branding on the actual boxes. But this is pretty unobtrusive.

    As regards what appears onscreen, this is purely down to which ISP you use; if your ISP IS BT, your onscreen branding will be BT. Whether or not you are a BT TV subscriber, and no matter what branding is printed on your box, or who made it. same with TalkTalk as your ISP; TalkTalk onscreen branding. All other ISPs (except PlusNet, which is a BT sub brand) will have neutral, retail, branding.

    Again, no matter where the box came from; even the BT ones will be neutral.

    So you avoid unwanted onscreen branding only by choosing a suitable ISP, not by choosing a certain make of box.

    • Thank you for adding this information. This might also have to do with certain models or versions, as in the past I have seen BT splash screens without being a BT subscriber – but if it now works “correctly” (depending on your ISP), then that’s good news.

      • Hi Or

        You get the BT branding if your ISP is BT, whether you are a subscriber to BT TV or not. This is a subtle but important difference.

        On a different note, you say you get a separate signal booster with the TalkTalk model. That’s news to me, and if true, would indicate a weakness with these models. Are you sure it’s true? Did you perhaps mistake the separate power brick you get?

        • Regarding the “signal booster”, thank you for the catch – I had to rebuild some of these review boxes, and that line was from a different review altogether… Sorry about that, fixed now.


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