BT will soon be offering a free YouView PVR to customers who take out a new subscription to its BT Vision Essential or BT Vision Unlimited streaming video services, along with a BT Infinity or BT Broadband subscription.

As you may have seen on the current TV advertising campaign, YouView is a hard disk-based personal video recorder for Freeview that, in addition to the usual pause and rewind functions for live TV, also incorporates catch-up TV viewing over a broadband connection.

In other words, if you forget to record something in the usual way for later viewing, you can simply skip back through the programme schedules for the last seven days and watch it via the appropriate channel’s video streaming service (BBC iPlayer, 4OD and so on) — a feature YouView calls “ScrollBack TV”.

A YouView box normally costs a hefty £249.99, although no ongoing subscription is required other than the usual TV Licence.

BT’s offer only applies to new customers and existing customers who are no longer bound by a BT Vision or BT Internet contract — but they must sign up to a new one as part of the offer. Existing customers still bound by a BT contract appear to be out of luck.

The “free” offer actually costs £55.65 once the delivery charge and inevitable ‘activation’ fee have also been applied, but it’s still a good deal.

BT Vision starts at £4 per month and the cheapest BT Internet subscription is £13, and BT line rental can be had for £10.75 a month.

Better still, BT Internet customers also get unlimited use of BT OpenZone Wi-Fi hotspots, which can be very useful when you’re away in the ‘van and can’t get 3G mobile internet coverage.

See BT’s YouView page for more details.