Soft launch initially for BT Vision product
Details of the expected soft launch for the BT Retail BT Vision product can be found over at informitv.com. It seems we can expect a soft launch to a limited number of customers next month, with the big push not happening until Spring 2007.
BT Vision is a combined FreeView, Personal Video Recorder (PVR) and TV over broadband set-top box that works in conjunction with the BT Home Hub. The service will deliver broadcast content using the existing FreeView transmissions, which limits the usefulness of the device to the parts of the UK able to receive digital FreeView signals.
Some technical details have emerged on the TV over broadband side of the device, BT is planning to use a 1.5Mbps data rate for the video delivery with the H.264 codec (MPEG-4 compression). While this is a lot lower than a DVD manages which uses MPEG-2 encoding the advances included in MPEG-4 mean the picture quality should not be that different to the normal FreeView transmissions.
BT Wholesale has recently detailed to service providers various quality of service options, that allow the provider to give customers the option to select a better than normal quality of service (QoS). In otherwords at peak times people can choose to pay a bit more to receive a bigger chunk of the available capacity. For video over broadband to gain acceptance the problems people have now with video of re-buffering in the middle of a stream will need to be addressed, and hopefully QoS controls will go some way to helping.