BritBox has launched

After what seems like a very, very long time, BritBox has launched.

There’s a 30 day free trial, and in a few months EE subscribers will get free access too. BT only got involved in the last few days so sadly they weren’t ready today.

I thought it was going to look a bit rubbish but I had a browse and it’s really nicely laid out, feels like a tidier netflix, sensible categories, some celeb ‘playlists’ of their favourite shows. I’ve already found about a dozen which I’d wanted to catch up on but they’d gone from iPlayer and never showed up on Netflix, so I’m probably going to spend a bunch of time using it in the next month before deciding if it’s worth keeping.

(Some of my faves: Shetland, Happy Valley. Broadchurch. Marcella. Last Tango in Halifax. Life on Mars. W1A. Unforgotten)

I’ve seen a lot of criticism already around people ‘paying the BBC twice’, what’s your thoughts on this?
We pay our TV license for BBC content, and now we have to pay a subscription on top?

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The way I see it, Netflix have stuff that arrives, stays for a few months, then disappears, so paying for something like this service (whether TV licence, Netflix or Britbox) doesn’t mean you get access in perpetuity.

Edit: I’m presuming these things are not on iPlayer now.

I am concerned on what is happening here in all honesty. I can see the value in launching this in other countries to easily broadcast British TV but does this mean that some BBC’s shows will be only available on the BritBox?
If yes, I am not sure why we are paying for TV licence. :thinking:


The BBCs response to this was BritBox is like owning the series on DVD, which kind of makes sense :man_shrugging:


This might make it worth it for me :raised_hands:

If I get it free with my EE contract that’d be great.


It makes no sense - we don’t have a right to all BBC content in perpetuity. If they had to put their entire archive on iPlayer and exist only from license revenue, they’d be bankrupt. They’ve always sold VHS, then DVD, then iTunes copies of their content. All new stuff is on iPlayer, now its up to a year, and after that their commercial arm is well within its rights to commercialise that content. If they didn’t get involved in this, people wouldn’t bother. I think it’s great to see so much content on there. Honestly, I’d rather pay for something like this than a license fee, knowing its putting money into UK based productions.


It’s only older series, once they’ve gone from iPlayer. The BBC lobbied hard to extend the length of time they could put stuff on there, it was limited by regulations set by government, not their own decision. Stuff will be on iPlayer for up to a year.

There’s other stuff like music licensing in shows, some might require payment for every viewing, which means they can’t stream it free forever, it needs to be sold to pay those fees, and as BBC outsource almost all productions now, the terms they’ve agreed with each production company will be slightly different. It’s not as easy as they pay for a show and own it and all its rights to give away forever sadly.

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This opinion article is anti-Britbox but does answer the question in a better way than I just tried to!

A third common objection – that BBC licence-payers have already paid once for this stuff, so should see it for free – is preposterous. We cannot expect a single annual payment to confer viewing rights in perpetuity on all platforms, any more than buying a hardback book makes you eligible for a free paperback.

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Thank you for the explanation! From what I have read they have 600k customers in the US, I’m curious to see how many they are going to get in the UK.
I guess they will take all their shows back from Netflix and other streaming services once the contracts ran out.

This is a very good point, thank you!

Hmm no android TV support, which makes it a no from me. I haven’t got the time to be faffing about with multiple devices to watch things.

Disappointed you can’t see the lineup without signing up too.

Edit: Also no chromecast support… so you’re expected to watch on a 5 inch phone screen… :o

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No Android TV, no Chromecast, no deal. Tried it today and the service looks good, but need AndroidTV & Chromecast support before the trial ends otherwise ‘it’s a cancel from me’


No integration with the TV app on Apple TV either.

Funny it says apple tv is supported

They have an app but it doesn’t work with the TV app, basically an aggregator for all streaming service but few (e.g. Netflix).

I’d forgotten about that :joy:


Well that’s stupid :unamused:

I wont be getting it but I do think that because we already pay monthly/quarterly/yearly to tv licensing we should have implicit access to bbc owned stuff. If we stopped paying the license (aka a subscription) then we would lose access. The top up fee effectively to watch it on britbox is a big ask. Also removing their stuff from other partners like netflix to force you to pay the top up fee is dirty.
It would be fair enough if you could pay extra to watch other channels content included with it.

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I don’t pay for a TV licence (don’t have a TV or watch iPlayer) but I may pay for this and cancel my Youtube Premium subscription if it has classic BBC, ITV and (soon) Channel 4 content I buy on iTunes. If it turns out to be their full catalogues it could be years of programming to watch.