BT is finally hopping on the HDR bandwagon, with a new TV box that was announced today: the BT TV Box Pro, which is being offered to new BT TV customers.
The new YouView-based box 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.
For now, however, the new box will only be available for a select few – those who subscribe to BT’s VIP package.
BT’s standard set-top box, the G4, did not support 4K, while BT’s more advanced BT TV 4K (The G5) only had Ultra HD support – without HDR.
HDR (“High Dynamic Range”) helps improve contrast rates, making the picture more accurate. Additionally, it provides a larger colour palette and more colour shades.
Some would go as far as saying that HDR is an even bigger improvement than 4K – but what you get also depends a lot on your TV, and whether it supports – and uses well – HDR.
The BT TV Box Pro – What Do You Get?
In terms of technical specifications, the new BT TV Box Pro offers:
- 4K HDR
- Dolby Atmos support
- 1TB of storage for recordings (Double that of the standard BT TV Box)
- 4 Tuners – Record up to 3 shows on separate channels, and watch a fourth (or a previously recorded one)
- Record, pause and rewind live TV for up to two hours
- A Bluetooth remote, so you don’t need line-of-sight to your box.
- An HDMI Port (no SCART!)
The supported streaming and catch-up apps (some require a separate subscription) are:
- Sky’s NOW Memberships (Entertainment, Cinema, Sports and Kids), including NOW Boost for Full HD (1080) content
- BT Sport
- YouView’s catch-up apps: BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All4, My5, UKTV Play, S4C, STV Player, BBC Sounds
- Streaming apps: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Britbox, BT Player, Milkshake, VOD365 (includes YAAS, Ketchup Kids, Planet Knowledge & Sports Channel Network)
Since this is a YouView box, getting the Freeview channels will require an aerial (see our recommended indoor aerials), as well as decent reception at your house.
The rest of the content relies on broadband, and you will have to connect the box via an Ethernet port, for now.
Strangely, while WiFi is finally supported (it was sorely missing from the previous boxes), the WiFi support isn’t turned on yet, with “an update planned for later this year.”
- Update: Four months later, BT finally opened up WiFi on the TV Box Pro.
The new BT Box Pro also comes with an updated user interface, and a new home screen that “showcases content in a slick, image-led view”.
There’s also a new unified search function where you can search across all apps and live TV.
Who Can Get The New BT TV Box Pro?
It will be added to other packages in due course.
It’s worth noting that while the VIP package highlights Sky’s NOW channels, those channels DO NOT support 4K / HDR for now, and only get up to 1080p (with the included NOW Boost membership) – though there are plans to add 4K to NOW at some point in the future.
Therefore, to enjoy 4K / HDR on the new box, you would need a suitable subscription to Netflix or Prime Video. BT Sport Ultimate also features 4K content.
And since we’re a cord cutting site, always remember that you can also get Freeview separately (for free), and subscribe to Sky’s NOW service without a long-term contract. See our full TV cord cutting guide here.