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BT Unveils Internet TV Product - BT Vision

Posted: 04th Dec, 2006 By: MarkJ
BT has today launched its broadband based Internet television service, BT Vision. The terrestrial 'Freeview' based service couples the usual digital TV channels to commercial video-on-demand (VoD) content:

Customers will be able to watch what they want when they want and not be tied to TV schedules. The service does not require a regular monthly subscription.

BT Vision is the first widely available TV service of its kind. Customers will have access to an extensive library of on-demand content via their broadband and will also receive more than 40 Freeview channels through their aerial. The library will enable people to watch programmes at their convenience rather than the schedulers’.

BT Vision is delivered through a new set-top box, the V-box. This contains a personal video recorder (PVR) able to store up to 80 hours of content, pause or rewind live TV and record programmes at the touch of a button. The box is also HD ready. BT Vision also features a “Replay TV” service, allowing customers to catch up with some of the broadcast TV programmes they may have missed during the previous week.

BT is giving away the V-box – worth £199 - for free to existing and new customers who sign up to a new contract with BT Total Broadband. The box will be installed by a BT engineer. There will be an installation fee of £60 and a connection charge of £30. BT will introduce a self-install version of BT Vision next year.

BT Vision’s unique library of “on-demand” content is delivered over broadband and includes entertainment to suit every taste. There will be current and library movies, music videos, concerts, kids’ programmes, recent and classic television including drama, comedy, documentaries and other genres.

BT Vision requires no subscription or minimum monthly payment differentiating it from other services on the market. Customers can subscribe to genres of content should they wish or pay as they go. Movies will be available on a pay per view basis with current titles offered at lower prices than satellite, cable and high street video chains (see notes to editors). Subscriptions for other types of content can be for as little as one month at a time providing customers with great flexibility.

Existing BT Total Broadband customers will be the first to experience BT Vision, beginning with those who pre-registered their interest earlier this year. BT will start to fulfil orders from that customer base from mid December, initially connecting thousands of customers then hundreds of thousands by the end of 2007. BT aims to have two to three million BT Vision customers in the medium term.

It will be interesting to see whether or not BT Vision takes off, certainly there's a lot of interest, although it doesn't immediately jump out of the screen as a 'must have' product.

Ultimately BTV has to compete with the likes of Sky and Virgin Media (ntl:Telewest), both of which are able to offer a vast array of channels and content. We'll have to see it in use before knowing quite whether the product is a worthwhile investment, not to mention the concerns over data consumption.
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