Our televisual experiences look set for some major changes over the coming year. High Definition we all know about but video on demand has received far less attention. Step forward BT…
The former monopoly has announced a next generation TV service called BT Vision. A world first, it combines digital terrestrial TV with on-demand film, small screen, music and interactive services streamed over broadband.
The combination will be delivered using a software platform powered by Microsoft and a set-top box from Philips. The result will mean access to over 30 Freeview channels through a standard TV aerial and a raft of online services including a library of movies, comedy, music and kids shows that can be streamed at any moment. Previous episodes of popular shows will also be stored online and users will be allocated online space to save up to 80 hours of programming eliminating the need for tapes or hard disks.
Furthermore, considering the service is heavily Internet based, BT has plans to eventually integrate instant messaging, chat and video telephony and eventually give users the ability to control their BT Vision services wherever they’re online. There will be no mandatory monthly subscriptions either with customers able to purchase content as and when they need it.
The whole service will be enabled by the BT Hub: the device which the company has made the heart of its plan for a converged home. The hub will also allow wireless networking from family PCs and laptops and allow up to five different calls to be made simultaneously using VoIP technology.
We’ll have to wait until the Autumn before BT Vision goes live but we doubt it will be the only company to put forward such a scheme and it certainly suggests exciting times are ahead for goggle box connoisseurs.