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Online programmable thermostat

Buying guide

Hive Active Heating - app screenBritish Gas have recently launched Hive Active Heating – a control that works like a programmable thermostat but can be controlled from anywhere using a smartphone app or a website.

An ordinary programmable thermostat is installed in your home and connected to your wi-fi. You are also given access to a website and an app. From these, you can:

  • see the current temperature
  • adjust the desired temperature
  • set up temperature profiles for different times of day, and days of the week
  • request alerts for when your home gets too hot or too cold
  • control your hot water.

You can do this from inside your home or elsewhere. In theory, anyone who can use a computer or smartphone can get full use out of this product.

What do I need?

Technology: You will need to have wireless broadband in your home. You will also need a computer with internet access (for the website) or a smartphone or tablet (for the app).

Operating system: The website will work with most standard browsers, as long as you have the latest version. The app is compatible with Android version 2.3 and up, and iOS version 6 and up.

Accessibility software: The app and website are designed to work with accessibility software, such as magnifiers or screenreaders. However, our testers found some flaws in how they interact with screenreaders (see review). British Gas have told us they are working to improve on these issues in future versions. If you purchase the control and find that it doesn't work with your screenreader, there is a 14 day returns period.

Test results

Hive Active Heating (£199)

Note: We tested an earlier version of this product, the Remote Heating Control. It has since been updated and renamed. The functions are similar, but the layout has changed.

  • Testers felt it could provide more control and independence than traditional products, because the information is intended to be accessible to all.
  • However, some of the on-screen labelling had poor contrast and was difficult to align, particularly on the website. The new version has a different layout, but still appears to have these issues in some places.
  • Users of screenreaders (on the website) and iOS’ VoiceOver (on the iPad) found some tasks difficult or impossible to complete – there were problems with how on-screen items were labelled for the programs to read out.

Who is this suitable for? People who are comfortable using computers, smartphones or tablets and who want a lot of control over their heating.

Website score: 3 out of 5

iPad app score: 4 out of 5


Last updated: February 2014

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