NTL/Telewest Give Nod to VOD

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We’ve always known that cable offers a great deal for broadband, but when it comes to multi-channel TV, SkyDigital still wins hands down. However at last it seems there may be a compelling reason to get cable for its TV package.

Fuelling yet more speculation of an imminent merger between the two companies (surely it’s only a matter of time), NTL and Telewest have announced they are are to launch very similar Video on Demand (VOD) services.

This means rather than having to wait half an hour or more for the movie you want to watch to come around (as you do with Sky Digital) you can choose it instantly. Both companies have teamed up with FilmFlex which has a movie library of over 2,000 titles. In addition, NTL is rolling out separate adult, kids and music content to its customers. Meanwhile Telewest has confirmed it is to launch a hard drive Sky Plus recorder: further details to be announced later this week.

Often described as the holy grail of broadcasting, VOD has been talked about for over 10 years and been available in the US for some time. Now Telewest viewers in Bristol and NTL viewers in Glasgow will be able to try out the service before it’s rolled out to other regions. Telewest has announced its full roll out will begin in the Summer though NTL hasn’t committed to any dates yet.

Film Flex, which has deals with several major film companies (including all of Walt Disney’s and Sony’s companies), will provide viewers with movies of their choice for between £2.50 and £3.50 per 24 hour period. With both services will be able to pause, rewind and fast forward through the movie just as you would a DVD without needing any additional equipment.

Whereas Telewest is concentrating on a movie-based VOD service, NTL has got carried away and is also offering several other programming genres such as kids programmes (Spongebob Squarepants, Power Rangers, Rugrats) for between 20p and 50p a pop and music videos (Kylie, Madonna, Green Day) for between 20p and £1.50 each. Adult movies will cost the princely sum of £7 a time.

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