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.