The UK’s first broadband TV platform in the UK has launched on Freeview which will be available to around 5.5 million UK homes.
The new service from Connect TV will launch with around 45 internet TV channels which will be available to be accessed from one of the 7 channels that will be featured on the electronic programme guide (EPG) on the users Freeview HD TV or set top box. To access the content the TV or the set top box must be connected to their broadband internet connection but apart from that the interface for finding the TV channels will be no different than users currently need to do to find channels via Freeview.
It is likely that more niche TV channels will be available to viewers as channels like Sports Tonight (Freeview HD channel 112) and CCTV (the Chinese national broadcaster) along with a range of other foreign language broadcasters will be able to offer TV channels to UK viewers.
Along with standard TV channels the service will be able to offer video on demand content channels and subscription based channels or even pas-as-you-go TV channels.
For more information or to view the available channels for Connect TV, visit: www.connect-tv.tv/channels
BT Vision customers will now be able to watch Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2 after a deal between BT and BSkyB will see the wholesale supply of the channels.
BT Vision is BT’s broadband based TV service (IPTV) and will be able to offer subscribers the two Sky Sports channels from the 1st August, with sign ups for them being taken in early July. This comes just in time for the new Premier League football season which is due to kick off on August 14th.
The Chief Executive of BT Retail, Gavin Patterson said:
“We are delighted to have reached this milestone, which means that we can be certain of offering Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2 to our customers before the football season kicks off. We know our customers will be keen to sign up for the two channels.“
There is currently no pricing for how much it will cost to take up these channels with BT Vision but they will be announced soon. For a basic BT Vision subscription it costs £7.50 per month for BT Broadband customers.
BT is calling for the BBC to pay up if they want their iPlayer content to be available over their network. BT say the cost in terms of bandwidth is huge for delivering content for the iPlayer. The iPlayer allows users to watch BBC programmes online via their broadband connection and as it’s popularity continues to grow and more aqnd more broadband users make use of it the more it is costing in bandwidth bills.
BT was found to be throttling iPlayer traffic between 5pm and midnight when demand on the network was at it’s greatest, with users reporting that their broadband speeds dropped considerably when using iPlayer. It is not only BT who have done this, with many other ISPs also doing the same with many also saying that the BBC should pay contributions to the cost for delivering their content.
It would not just be the BBC with the iPlayer that contributions would be requested from, YouTube and other very high traffic video steaming sites could also be asked for contributions.
It is not unfeasible to see that the iPlayer could in future be delivering many peoples television direct into their living rooms as people choose exactly what they want to watch and when they want to watch it.
One thought is the fact of net neutrality, why should one sites data be throttled and limited to customers and users just because it is popular and other sites get all their data sent at full unrestricted speeds which makes it an un-level playing field.
Tiscali broadband who are being acquired by The Carphone Warehouse are to launch a new Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) for it’s Tiscali TV service.
The new EPG is to be launched on 10th June and uses HD graphics, widescreen, faster and has (according to Tiscali) the most user friendly and personalised interface.
Some differences include when the user turns it on it will announce “Hello Mark” or the name of who turns it on, and then the menu system to find what the user wants to watch longer has 40 options but a new icon bar that will help users get to what they want form the 110 channels, 19 radio stations, Catch-Up programmes 5,000 hours of on demand and up to 1,000 movies, and 8,000 music videos.
A new text message type search has been integrated to let users search for what they want to watch from current and recorded programmes, the search will find anything from programme titles to the credits and programme synopsis.
Tiscali TV users don’t need to do anything as the update will automatically be sent to the set top box.