BT today launched its next generation television service, BT Vision. This service puts the viewer in control by combining the appeal of TV with the interactivity of broadband. 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.
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’.
The service 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.
In the summer of 2007 BT Vision will launch its new sports service. Following a deal with Setanta announced today, BT Vision Sport customers will have access to the Setanta Sport channel and its 46 live FA Premiership games, 60 live games from the Scottish Premier League and a great deal of other sport. They will also have access to the 242 “near live” on-demand FA Premiership games secured by BT earlier this year. That means three quarters of all FA Premiership games will be available in full to BT Vision Sport customers.
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.
Ian Livingston, BT Retail chief executive said: “BT Vision is all about giving control to the viewer – control over what they watch, when they watch it and how they pay for it. We believe that broadband can transform television and take it into a new era. BT Vision is ideal for people who want more choice than Freeview delivers but who want that extra choice without being tied to a pricey, long-term subscription.”
BT Vision is set to become even more flexible, personal and interactive. From 2007, the service will use broadband to deliver more special interest programming and there will be new interactive services based around audience participation, voting, gaming, gambling and communications enabling customers to chat with each other or use video telephony to talk face to face whilst watching programmes. BT Vision will also provide a platform for user-generated content so customers can share their videos, photographs and music with a wider audience.