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BBC, ITV and BT to collaborate on next generation broadband television
Thursday 11 December 2008 16:02:02 by John Hunt

The BBC, ITV and BT are joining forces to deliver the next generation of on demand TV over broadband. The proposal is to create a standards based open environment for broadband connected digital receivers which would help content providers and Internet Service Providers adopt the technology.

The good news is that the devices are to be subscription-free and will carry free to air channels as well as a huge selection of on demand TV, films, and interactive content in both standard and high definition. There is no schedule as to when the new devices are expected to be ready and plans are subject to the BBC Trust approval and public consultation. The group are hoping to involve a wider range of partners by launch.

How much will be based on the current technology used with the BBC, ITV and BT is yet to be seen. BT Vision, the on-demand broadband television service from BT already features a cut down version of BBC iPlayer (the on-demand service from the BBC) known as BBC Replay. Hopefully, more service providers will get on board soon to help ensure that this new platform will have the ability to work for everyone and not just those who get broadband from BT. With new technologies in the pipeline such as fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) from BT, and competing providers such as H2O in the process of deploying fibre through the sewage network, we hope the devices will prove to be cross-platform and have the ability to take advantage of the benefits that the faster services can provide.


Posted by AndrueC over 8 years ago
Maybe the government will allow BT to do it this time. Shame they kiboshed it in the 1980s :-/
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
1980's ?? :D wow man, only thing I did then was music and chicks! :D

AFAIK, early - mid 90's was the orig. homechoice - wasnt selling 'cos it had no licences from paramount etc... by the time it had them, SKY was taking over, and no freeview yet...
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"The good news, is that the devices are to be subscription-free"

Pfft with BT involved that doesnt mean much i bet rather than the "DEVICE" costing a subscription you will have to pay per programme.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
How much are you betting, and with who?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
^^^ Nobody yet, a satisfied told you so will make me happy enough when the service starts.
Posted by AndrueC over 8 years ago
From what I remember, shortly after BT was formed it offered to roll out cable everywhere so that it could act as a broadcaster. Unfortunately the government didn't want that and so the plan was cancelled. They didn't like the idea of it having a monopoly.

Thankfully we now have Virgin (not often I get to say that) so perhaps the government won't object.
Posted by mishminx over 8 years ago
I thought ISP's were crying foul and telling us how BBC iplayer had doomed the entire internet not so long ago. Where is the extra bandwidth for HD content coming from then?
Posted by bosie over 8 years ago
With BT involved, i've already stopped reading about it.
Posted by whatever2 over 8 years ago
such as H2O in the process of deploying fibre through the sewage network

are they though?

It would be an interesting article to see how far they've got with this because there's a 7 month old story on their website, I've heard nothing locally, and there's no mention of who will support it or costs.

Posted by munrob over 8 years ago
Hope they come clean on whether P2P is involved in their architecture. I was not very impressed when I found Kontiki's kservice.exe comes along with I-Player (read the T&Cs!). Hammers your PC and DSL.
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
the 'problem' with H2O is that it is not doing retail, it just sells to ISPs.. If you know better, show us the *direct* link so we can sign up!! :)

The article reads very much 'blue sky' chatter - eg lots of hopeful words, but no schedule, subject to approval, etc, etc... take out the internet bits, you would think they were talking about freeview a few years ago...
Posted by zyborg47 over 8 years ago
There is a flaw in this idea. A lot of cheaper ISPs will either block it, if it is P2P or they will just shape it so much, it wil be impossible to use.

What makes me laugh is that Bt have something to do with this and yet BT love shaping their customers connection.

As for FTTC it is not going to happen for years, in fact I be surprised if it happened at all apart from maybe new builds.

BT will not spend the money, so this is just a fire in the pan idea.
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
Isn't this effectively further development of BT Vision?
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
FTTC will eventually happen but the chances of it been a privately funded BT rollout is diminishing by the day. I predict a eventual government rollout in 5-10 years followed by a sale to BT who get it on the cheap.
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
in regards to the article there is already a standard that is widely used by various countries, but why am I not suprised BT want a custom standard, since they provide a custom standard adsl service. The tried and tested next gen on demand tv service is IPTV, it works fine providing the backhaul is there and decent connectivity to the end user, oh yeah I forgot we still running on last gen copper and the backhaul isnt there on ipstream. :(
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"Isn't this effectively further development of BT Vision?"

Could indeed be right there, just further evolution to BT Vision... Oh hang on isnt that pay per view for the good stuff also? ;)
Posted by KarlAustin over 8 years ago
The backhaul is there, the problem right now is how the network functions ala BT Centrals. With proper full-fat 21CN the ISPs have connections at the super-nodes and can make much better use of multicast etc. from my understanding as they are taking the connections closer to the exchange themselves.
Posted by nige1h over 8 years ago
Oh, no, no, no! The necessary network capacity is just soooooo not there today, or at any time in the foreseeable! You want asynchronous full res HDTV via the net, with full control over start time, pause, rewind, etc - do the math. Then work out how many SERVERS will be needed. Consider the peak data output rate available from ANY server today, and consider disk array to memory to I/O bandwidths!
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
this is sooooo BT for you.. Big hopes, etc... looks very much like they are trying to 'get on' VM's game.... BUT! see my last post.....

IF they get it going in 5 years, they will then be where VM was in 2000.. (when it was Telewest etc...)
Posted by cyberdoyle over 8 years ago
Lancaster university is running a prototype trial, leading the way in next gen applications. Set top boxes will be deployed in 2009. They are concerned that rural areas will have no access to next gen networks and are also working on a solution to that. Power to the people. It will have to be P2P - otherwise where would the storage live? Yep, in 5 years we should see big changes.
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
karlaustin the backhaul defenitly isnt there on ipsteam :( currently ipstream can just about handle web browsing and occasional downloading, it would have severe problems if people started streaming (proper) tv en masse. 21CN in theory the backhaul is there but the cost to use it isnt much cheaper than current ipstream so isp's wont freely utilise it without charging a premium.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"karlaustin the backhaul defenitly isnt there on ipsteam"

Indeed some overcrowded ipstream services cant even play a youtube clip without stuttering like it has a nervous condition.
Posted by jacknicholas over 8 years ago
If the cables for this service are to come through the sewers does this mean that we will get even more poo from the Beeb than we are already getting? Also, who will get the licence money?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
^^ Er the service is optional, you dont have to use it
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