Broadband is set to gain a larger presence in peoples living rooms as the various on-demand TV packages launch. The BBC has published a round-up of the on-demand services that are available now and will appear shortly. The article can be found on the BBC News website.
One on-demand service with a bit of a difference will be the changes to the Sky+ service expected in March 2007, where hidden hard disk capacity on newer Sky+ boxes will be used to store material automatically downloaded over the Sky satellite service. We presume rather than presenting hours of makeover shows to Sci-Fi fans it will look at viewing habits and download appropriately tagged material. The big advantage is that a satellite delivery mechanism does not use up any broadband connection allowance.
The subject of the impact of video over broadband on peoples usage allowances is hard to evaluate. Average usage may turn out to be 3GB (GigaBytes) per month (source: Ofcom report on new iPlayer service), but if you have a small 2GB allowance and are charged £2 per GB above that, then even free on-demand content could prove expensive. The previously announced price changes by BT Wholesale may help when they come into effect later this year, hopefully allowing providers to improve usage allowances. Service providers should be watching usage patterns closely and have plans afoot to add new capacity to cope as usage patterns change to these newer services. The days of when high usage could simply be labeled as illegally sharing masses of copyrighted material via peer to peer networks are coming to an end. One hour a day of on-demand content for 20 days a month soon mounts up to nearly 7GB of data downloaded.