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BT Videophone 2000

This page contains information and a review of the BT Videophone 2000.

 

On this page, you'll find information on the BT Videophone 2000 product, which was launched in 2006. We also review this product, explain how to set it up, and answer questions asked by visitors to this site. If you're interested in using video calling, this page could be useful to you.
BT Videophone 2000

The BT Videophone 2000, pictured to the right, uses a Broadband connection for voice and video calls over the Internet. The phone uses something called High definition Sound (Hi-dS), and can be used with the BT Broadband Talk service.

 

What is the BT Videophone 2000

This is a pretty powerful communication station that handles voice and video calls over a Broadband Advice Internet connection, and also has a built-in web browser.

The phone has a 3.5 inch colour screen with a built-in video camera. To use it, you need to have a BT Total Broadband account, and be signed up to BT Broadband Talk (which is free if you're with BT Total Broadband).

The phone can be used as a standard voice phone (you get a second phone number), as well as a videophone, and as your calls are routed over the Internet, you can benefit for very low cost phone calls.

The BT Videophone 2000 can connect to your home Broadband connection either via a wired connection, or using Wi-fi.

Features:

  • Voice and video calls over the Internet
  • Hands-free
  • Privacy option (turn off vision and/or sound)
  • Address book (300 entries)
  • Alarm clock with four alarms
  • Import phone numbers from a mobile phone's SIM card
  • Copy audio video and images to/from an SD memory card
  • Record your own ringtones
  • Picture-in-picture video calls
  • Take still photos of video calls

Availability:

  • The BT Videophone 2000 was last listed at £49.98 from BT Shop, but is now listed as discontinued.
  • We recommend you search "BT Videophone" at Pricerunner for alternative providers, or try eBay.co.uk

BT Videophone 2000

We've been reviewing the BT Videophone 2000 throughout September 2006, using it to make video calls to the lesser-specced Videophone 1000. Before reviewing these phones, we were a little sceptical - having dealt with videocalling via phone lines some years back. We're pleased to report that using BT's 2000 and 1000 phones has been pretty straightforward, and we've been pleasantly pleased with the results.

The Videophone 2000 is a little more feature-packed than the Videophone 1000 - it has a basic built-in web browser, and can connect to the Internet wirelessly (via a wi-fi enabled hub such as the BT Home Hub). Speech quality through the phone is excellent (it uses something called Hi-dS, high definition sound), and for voice-over-Internet, it's pretty impressive when compared to something like VoIP from Skype.

If want to compare the audio difference for yourself, take a listen to the audio tests we did in Show #08 of Frequencycast, our very own online radio show.

Before we look at the Videophone 2000 in action, lets look at setup. Out of the box, the BT Videophone 2000 comes with a manual, ethernet and phone leads, and a mains transformer power supply.

BT Videophone 2000 box contents
BT Videophone 2000 box contents

 

Setting up the BT Videophone 2000

Here's what we had to do to set up the Videophone 2000:

  • You have the option to connect via wi-fi (wireless), or via a wired connection, If going 'wired', you need to plug the videophone into a spare ethernet socket on your hub / router
  • Plug the phone into the mains
    Rear of Videophone 2000
    Back of the Videophone 2000
  • The colour screen then prompts you to set the connection to the Broadband router - you're presented with the option to connect wireless (Wi-fi) or wired. We went for the Wireless option. After selecting the network, we were promoted to enter our wi-fi network's WEP key (wireless security)
  • Next, we're asked to register for the service, by entering our BT Broadband Talk account details (BT Broadband Talk phone number and password, as advised when we signed to BT)
  • The phone then checked for a new version of software, found one, installed it, and was ready for use.

The above assumes that you've got a fairly standard network setup at home, using DHCP to assign a unique address for your phone. if you have a more complex setup, there's an option to allow you to take greater control of your phone's network settings - you can use a dynamic (DHCP) or static IP address (specifying IP, subnet and gateway address). From Settings > Network settings, there's a Bandwidth profile to allow setting of how much of your broadband bandwidth is allocated for video calls.

Once set up and connected, there are six menu options to play around with, including:

  • Call list: Displays missed calls, received calls, and dialled calls , and offers the option to delete the contents of the calls list
  • Web browser: Access to the web browser (with four favourite sites)
  • BT Services: Access to the following preset BT services: 1571, Helpdesk, BT 118500, option to withhold number and option to display own number
  • Images and sound: Allows you to take and view photos, record audio messages (max of 20 seconds), record and playback video (recording max of 20 seconds), delete images/video, or copy files to and from an installed SD card
  • Settings: This has thee sections:
    • Phone settings: Ringing, Audio volume, Date and Time, Alarm, Display (wallpaper, menu colour, screen saver), Technical (version numbers, check of software update) and Reset
    • Video settings: Video call view, Video monitor, Refresh rate, Local view, Mirror image, Camera settings
    • Network settings: Connection profile (wireless or wired) , Bandwidth profile and Service registration (Broadband Talk account settings)
  • Phone book: Allows you to view, add, list, delete and search through phone book entries, as well as to import phone numbers from a mobile phone SIM card

Video calls

Making video calls is simplicity itself. Assuming you know someone with a videophone to connect to, you press the Video button, and enter the phone number. After a few seconds, the call goes through, and if the other end accepts your call, you'll see their video. If concerned about your privacy, or what you look like early in the morning, there's the option not to send video, just to have one-way video, or to stick with voice-only.

Call in progress

 

Pictured above, is the Videophone 2000 in mid-call, with the video in picture-in-picture mode. There are a few other modes, such as remote-end only, or (as we're technical), the side-side-by with technical info view, as shown below:

Call in progress
Side-by-side technical view

 

Surfing the net

The BT Videophone 2000 also supports web browsing, although this is pretty limited, due to the screen size and the navigation controls on the phone. The phone has a five-way navigation control on the keyboard that allows for scrolling around a page, and to select on-page links. Browsing in this way on a phone like this isn't much fun, and with some sites, navigation wasn't easy (or in some cases, possible), so it's unlikely many will find this useful. We're guessing that BT chose to include it, not for its usefulness, but because they could. After all, it's an Internet connected device, so why not enable Internet browsing? Regardless - it's useful in a crisis, but it has a lot of limitations.

Surfing on a 2000
Browsing our site on the BT Videophone 2000

Media features

SD cardThe other selling point of the phone is that it can be used as a digital camera, digital camcorder and an audio recording device. Again, we're guessing this is "because it's possible", rather than for a killer use case, but we're guessing to could be handy for some. You can take a photo from the phone's video camera, and set it as wallpaper, assign it to a contact in the address book, or copy it to an SD card in the SD card slot to the right of the phone .
You can also record, save, copy and playback video files, and also record sound clips of up to 20 seconds, that you can use as ringtones.
The Videophone 2000 supports WAV, JPG, MIDI and 3GP file formats.

Listen to the FrequencyCast UK online radio show
FrequencyCast Podcast IconPODCAST FEATURE: We featured video and voice calling in Show 8 of our online tech radio show.
Listen to the show online, or download it to your MP3 player.

Listen to Show 08 | What is FrequencyCast? | Add us to iTunes

 

Summary

The Videophone 2000 from BT is well built, very easy to use, looks good on a desk, and integrates well into a home network. Clear audio and video, plus cheap calls over a Broadband connection is, of course, a good thing. Overall, we rate this phone higher than the VideoPhone 1000, as the wi-fi connectivity is a real boon, it's a sleeker looking phone, and the screen really is crystal-clear.

Those with long-distance families and friends will find this a great asset and a great way of keeping in touch and making face-to-face contact with loved ones.

Sadly, the number of people out there with videophones, is pretty low, so until a few more people get online with video calling, it's still in the realms of a gadget, rather than a mainstream device just at the moment. The good news is that it's not necessary to know someone with a videophone to make use of this - it's perfectly usable for voice. Also, anyone with a PC loaded with BT's PC-based SoftPhone and a webcam can make use of the video and audio services.

Got a question on the BT Videophone, or on videocalling in general, let us know

 

BT Videophone 2000 FAQ

Availability

Order nowThe BT Videophone 2000 is available for £49.98 from BT Shop (originally £199)

Problem connecting and signing up Using a PC that's connected to the Internet via the same hub / router as the videophone, go to www.bt.com/bbv, and follow the option to configure router / hub
Standard voice calls

The BT Videophone 2000 is intended to be used to route voice calls over Broadband, but it is possible to route calls over the standard phone network if required. If the Videophone is connected to a standard phone line, or to the Internet via the BT Home Hub, then pressing 5 on the keypad should change from Internet to standard phone line (you should notice a change in dialling tone).

On the subject of connecting to a standard phone line, the manual states that in the event of a power cut, the Videophone 2000 can still be used to make voice calls. You can do this by plugging the telephone line cord into the Line socket on the BT Videophone 2000, and connecting the other end to the telephone line wall socket.

Wireless connection

Site visitor Mr Cheesley asks: "Can the BT Videophone 2000 be used in any room of the house by wireless connection to the router, i.e. not connecting the videophone to the router by cable?

Yes - the Videophone 2000 allows wireless connection using Wi-fi to a wi-fi enabled Broadband router (such as the BT Home Hub). The Videophone needs to be in range of your wi-fi network, and correctly configured to access your wireless network (Wi-fi help)

 

Demo of audio quality? If you're interested to know more about the audio quality, and hear our team discuss BT Videophones in more detail, take a listen to our online radio show, where we reviewed BT Broadband Talk, and videophones. Listen online, or download the show from www.frequencycast.co.uk/cast08.html

BT Broadband Talk

To use video calling with a BT Video Phone, you need to be signed up to BT Broadband Talk. BT Broadband Talk is free to BT Total Broadband customers, or £2.99 to non-BT broadband customers.

If you're not with BT for your broadband, you have two options: Switch to BT Total Broadband, or sign up at the non-BT Broadband rate of £2.99 a month. More details at www.bt.com/btbroadband

SIM card slot? Videophone 2000 SIMThe Videophone 2000 comes with a SIM card slot. You can use this slot to extract the phone numbers on your mobile phone SIM card to populate the phone's phonebook (which holds up to 255 entries).

General Videocalling questions? Try our Videocalling FAQ

Got a question on the BT Videophone, or on videocalling? Ask in our Tech and Telecoms Forum

 


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