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BBC, ITV and BT Prep Open Broadband TV Standard

Posted: 11th Dec, 2008 By: MarkJ
The BBC, ITV and BT have today joined forces to promote a common industry approach and consumer offer to deliver on demand TV over broadband (IPTV). The proposal, which is open for all public service broadcasters, device developers and ISPs, aims to develop a standards based open environment for broadband connected digital television (DTV) receivers.

The standard could bring about a new generation of subscription free devices, carrying free to air (Freeview) channels and a huge selection of on demand TV services like BBC iPlayer and ITV Player, as well as the potential for films, shows and interactive content from a range of other providers in standard and high definition:

Mark Thompson, Director-General of the BBC said: “Audiences tell us that they want more services through their television set. I am pleased that the BBC is working with industry partners such as device manufacturers, ISPs and other content providers on proposals which will bring real benefits for consumers. We are building on a history of collaborating with and supporting the industry in research and development which includes NICAM stereo, Teletext and Freeview.”

Michael Grade, Executive Chairman ITV said: “This proposal will bring catch-up from the PC to the TV set in your living room, and all for free. This makes convergence a reality. It will also future-proof our free-to-air platforms, Freeview and Freesat. We are delighted to be working with the BBC, BT and other ISPs to bring this idea to fruition for viewers.”

Ian Livingston, CEO, BT said: "Television and broadband are a compelling combination. Together they can offer live TV along with an unrivalled choice of on demand content and interactive services. It will mean that you can watch what you want whenever you want on your television. We are looking forward to working with The BBC, ITV and other internet service providers to support an open standard for the free to air market in the UK."

The idea of standardising Freeview style TV and Internet TV (IPTV) services into a single box is interesting, although it's unclear how this would fit in with existing IPTV services from Tiscali TV and BT Vision.

Such a service/device could support a wide range of content providers and be promoted by all Internet Service Providers. The plans are currently subject to BBC Trust approval and public consultation. Details remain thin on the ground.
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