We present an overview of the new family of semiconductors BiTeX (X = I, Br, Cl) from the perspective of angle resolved photoemission spectroscopy. The strong band bending occurring at the surface potentially endows them with a large flexibility, as they are capable of hosting both hole and electron conduction, and can be modified by inclusion or adsorption of foreign atoms. In addition, their trigonal crystal structure lacks a center of symmetry and allows for both bulk and surface spin-split bands at the Fermi level. We elucidate analogies and differences among the three materials, also in the light of recent theoretical and experimental work.