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  • Writer's pictureSimon Salvin

My Troubles with BT Hardware

Updated: Jan 27, 2022

It was 2 weeks of tech madness. At the time it seemed like a good idea, but looking back at the whole situation it was all just a stupid decision.

It all started looking for a new deal. I’m always looking to save a penny or two where I can and ensure I’m always on the best available plan. For BT, giving a little means a whole lot more to them as it ties their customers into longer deals. I was slap bang in the middle of my current two year contract so they don’t like to give a lot away, if anything at all. But just by chance I happened to stumble upon an offer presented within my account.

Last year in April they put up their prices, and this deal wiped away that price increase, its only a couple of pounds and will only apply until April when they increase the price again, and of course ties me in for another 2 years, but a saving is a saving. Instead of accepting the deal online I called, just in case I could squeeze anything else in this deal, what I was offered is their new BT TV Pro box for a small fee, so I accepted.

BT TV Pro Box & Bluetooth Remote
The all new BT TV Pro Box didn’t like my setup!

Then came the stupid decision!

I have a TP Link Mesh Wi-Fi system. Wi-Fi is turned off in my BT Hub and the first Mesh unit is then connected to the Hub via Ethernet cable.

BT’s Mesh system is known as Complete Wi-Fi, and the Hub becomes the first unit in the mesh negating the need for an additional unit. I had resisted the additional monthly fee but the draw of freeing up a plug socket in my cluttered cabinet got the better of me and I gave in, so a new Hub and two Wi-Fi mesh discs joined the TV Box landing on my doorstep just a few days later.

BT Complete Wi-Fi, Smart Hub and Extender Disc
BT’s complete Wi-Fi was problematic from the start

The first change was meant to be the easiest, my current BT Humax UHD TV Box out, the new Pro Box in. Could I get a picture on the screen…..NO! I checked every cable, replaced the HDMI, nothing. Plugged in to another TV, fine, no issues, back to the living room, unplugged the HDMI and back in again, and there was the picture, got through the setup, made the changes I like to personalise the guide and settings, rebooted a couple of times to check it would come on, and all looked good, until the very next day.

switched on, no signal! Unplugged the HDMI and back in again and the picture reappeared.

This continued for the rest of the week until I couldn’t take it any more, I think I did quite well to last that long.

A technician was sent this time with a new TV Box tucked under his arm. He switched them over, it booted up first time and he made a sharp exit. Rule number 1, never let them go until you’ve tested it. 1 minute later and a number of reboots, the issue was still there.

That meant one thing, The Philips Hue sync box it was connected to either didn’t like the Pro box or the Pro box didn’t like it, the latter seems more feasible as everything else has always worked perfectly and continues to do so.

In the mean time I’d received a letter through the post from BT, advising me that my contract was near renewal. Hold on a minute? I was mid contract? Off to the website in the letter to be offered three months TV for £1p/m, thank you very much and click on accept. Sorry you can’t have this deal because you recently upgraded, you can change to this deal in 3 weeks time. But the website was only giving me 7 days to accept.

Back on the phone, I’d like to return my TV Box, I’m happy with the old one, please refund the additional fee I payed and whilst you’re looking at that I’d like the deal you’ve just offered me in the letter.

Three phone calls later and I was credited the total amount of the deal and the box fee as they weren’t able to apply the deal.

Back on track and time to change the router and Mesh units, again a straight forward swap, jump in to the hub to configure it to my liking.

Within minutes I was having Wi-Fi connectivity issues, closely followed by my wife experiencing similar issues the same evening, having to regularly switch to airplane mode and off again or reboot our devices completely, not a fluid, rock solid performance experienced with the TP Link system.

Back to the TV for some evening entertainment, our remote control system is run from our iPads, when opening the app or simply picking up the iPad ready to change volume, channel, or a simple pause command for drinks, snacks or toilet breaks, the app would make a connection to the controlling hub with a maximum delay of 1.5 seconds, but usually milliseconds. Oh NO, not any more, constant rounds of unable to connect, re scan network, connection still failed, reboot, and finally two minutes later reconnection and I could pause. I don’t think I lasted the week this time. Back on the phone, please revert me back to the previous package and arrange for these Mesh discs to be returned. And to be fair it was the easiest call I had to make to BT, by which point my 14 day cooling off period had expired yet with such understanding of the issues it was swiftly resolved.

TP-Link Deco Mesh Wi-Fi system
My TP-Link Deco Mesh Wi-Fi system has always been rock solid

All this to gain an additional plug socket! Which had now been taken by the nice new lamp I purchased, better make that two lamps, I love the first lamp but it didn’t suit the room, so I moved it to my office and bought another!

I just needed a simple solution, take out the eight socket extension in my cupboard, and replace it with a new twelve socket tower extension.

At least it gave me a weekend job to strip out the whole cabinet and re-cable everything, re-instate the TP-Link Mesh, be neat, tidy and at peace with the Wi-Fi and remote control once more.

All for the princely sum of £24. If only I’d thought of that in the first place 🤦🏻‍♂️. Oh well……

All my equipment neatly organised
My entertainment and home automation neatly reorganised in the sideboard cabinet

And the kit to be returned, still on my desk waiting.

** Update **

Garry from the BT social team picked up this article and contacted me. Returning the broadband package to its former state hadn’t been completed as I was led to believe, so Garry jumped on to this. He also wanted to forward the article to the TV developers so that consideration could be made in to looking at the difficulties with the Hue Sync Box.

He also provided me with a further credit to the account for the issues raised. This is great customer service, thanks Garry, its much appreciated.

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