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Telecoms Giant Gets Serious over IPTV
February 15, 2006
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Telecommunications behemoth British Telecom has announced their intention to enter the 21M strong domestic UK television market.

Historically dominated by analogue terrestrial broadcasting which is due to be withdrawn in stages from 2008, this market is being rapidly supplanted by terrestrial digital services accompanied by subscription offerings from Sky (satellite) TV and various cable operators.

Endemol, the Dutch production company whose UK arm have inflicted such seminal delights on an unsuspecting British public as “Big Brother”, “Ground Force” and “Ready Steady Cook”, have been recruited as part of BT’s ambitious plans to launch their ipTV service in October this year. "This deal with BT underlines our commitment to remaining at the forefront of digital media and developing new ways of entertaining people," said Peter Cowley, director of digital media at Endemol UK

The growing portfolio of content providers already signed up includes BBC Worldwide, Paramount, Warner, National Geographic and Nelvana and HIT Entertainment, specialists in children’s programming.

British Telecom, better known as BT, are the largest UK ISP with 23% of the market, and have a virtual monopoly over the declining fixed line telco market. They are planning extensive trials of ipTV services this spring, and it has been reported that they intend to offer a catalogue of films, music, television programming, in addition to interactive and extensive communications services, all free to existing BT broadband customers.

There will also be an optional pay-per-view service to users, with the intention being to attract the growing number of people reluctant to commit to subscription services by allowing them to add the cost to their existing phone bills.

The intended launch could have major implications for bandwidth, with British Telecom restricting their current offerings to 2M. Obviously this will have to increase to meet the demand of users.

Ian Livingston, chief executive BT Retail enthused “Our services will be a world first and will place power in the hands of the viewer. No longer will BT customers be reliant on TV schedules. They will be able to watch what they like when they like”

BT have also signed an exclusive contract with Philips to supply 80G PVR based set-top boxes capable of receiving existing free-to-air terrestrial digital tv, in alliance with Microsoft who will be providing their “Microsoft TV IPTV Edition” as the software platform. Pricing of set top hardware and other details including even a name for the intended service, were unavailable at the present time.

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
Technology News :: Organizations/Initiatives
Technology News :: Software

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