Our Verdict 
It’s intriguing, effective and worth a look – adding some HD programming and some price reductions would help cement its case
Affordable basic package
easy to use
good off-air performance
surprisingly effective ‘streamed’ video quality
good range of content
No HD or 5.1 (as yet)
some pricing seems too high
Reviewed on

BT's new Vision internet TV system combines free-to-air digital TV with access to a vast online library of movies, music videos and standard TV programmes.

The core component is the V-box, a Freeview video recorder with a 160GB hard-disk and twin tuners. It's free to BT Total Broadband customers (though installation costs £30), and includes both RGB Scart and HDMI outputs. There's also the option of a self-installation package for £90.

You can record one Freeview channel while watching another, set timed recordings to the hard disk and pause and rewind ‘live' TV. Off-air performance and recording quality are reasonably good, too.

Similar to renting a DVDThe V-Box includes an Ethernet port: link it to a BT broadband router – so it can connect to the internet – and so long as you've a minimum download speed of 2Mbps, you're away.

In-demand video content costs: new movies are £2.99, but £1.99 is too much for something aeons-old and and oft-repeated, especially when rental and retail prices are so low. But that's arguably better than paying a monthly subscription fee.

More after the break

Picture quality is surprisingly good – there's very little of the digital noise and pixellation you might expect. You don't get 5.1 surround sound, but as broadband gets faster BT expects to add both that and high-definition content in time.

This is a remarkably clever piece of kit. It's good to use, performs well and offers something genuinely different. Given time, it could evolve into a real winner.