Telewest confirms video-on-demand HDTV plans

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Brit cable company Telewest Broadband has today unveiled its TV on demand plans as well and dropping a few hints about its upcoming HDTV service.

It hopes to offer TV on demand, where the user choose a programme from a menu and then can watch it whenever they want, to all its one million digital TV
customers by early 2006.

It is also widening the range of on-demand programming
available, boosting the existing movie service, which now shows over 200
current and library titles. 

The extended service will include the best
of the previous week’s programmes, including 60 hours of BBC content, at no
extra cost to customers. 

The TVOD service gives customers instant access to a vast library of films
and TV programmes, available via the remote control and existing set top
box. It provides the same controls as watching a DVD or video – once a
programme is selected, customers can watch it when they want, pause, fast
forward and rewind.

Telewest customers can also look forward to a 160 Gigabyte sky+ style digital video recorder in the summer. The device, which includes three tuners, will apparently be HDTV
compatible.

Full release after turn

Telewest Broadband sets out its telly vision
TV-on-demand expansion and analogue switchover plans confirmed.

Telewest Broadband today announced plans to transform its TV service, giving
consumers greater access to, and control over additional digital programmes.

Key elements of the transformation include:

* Completed rollout of TVOD by early 2006
* Significant expansion of on-demand programming; and
* Phased analogue switchover

The cable company outlined the expansion of its television-on-demand (TVOD)
service, following its initial launch in January, confirming that it intends
to complete the national rollout of TVOD to over one million digital TV
customers by early 2006.

Telewest Broadband is also widening the range of on-demand programming
available, boosting the existing movie service, which now shows over 200
current and library titles.  The extended TVOD service will include the best
of the previous week’s programmes, including 60 hours of BBC content, at no
extra cost to customers. 

There will also be a mix of free and subscription services including popular
TV series, music videos and niche content. Additional agreements are
confirmed with Flextech, Nickelodeon and adult programming (including
Playboy and TVX Fantasy channels), while negotiations with other programmers
continue apace.

Following the initial launch of TVOD in Bristol, Telewest Broadband will
make the service available region by region throughout the second half of
this year, starting with 26,000 customers in Cheltenham who are set to
receive the service in early July.

Telewest Broadband also announced a phased analogue switchover programme,
aiming to migrate its remaining 171,000 analogue TV customers to digital by
the end of 2006, supporting government plans to switch off the national
analogue TV signal by 2012.  Telewest Broadband has the highest percentage
of TV customers taking digital, currently 87%, of any cable company in
Europe and North America.

Eric Tveter, president and chief operating officer at Telewest said: "We are
transforming TV as we know it by giving consumers both a superb choice of
programmes and the flexibility to watch them whenever they want.  We don’t
ever want to hear our customers say there’s nothing on the box or that they
have missed their favourite programme.

"And while digital TV goes from strength to strength, analogue has finally
had its day."

Out of those customers who already have access to the TVOD service, over
half have already watched a movie. Saturday evening is the most popular time
to choose a movie and the top selling films to date are The Stepford Wives,
50 First Dates and King Arthur.  The highest selling evening to date was
Valentine’s night, when our romantics in Bristol chose The Ladykillers as
their number one movie choice!

The TVOD service gives customers instant access to a vast library of films
and TV programmes, available via the remote control and existing set top
box. It provides the same controls as watching a DVD or video – once a
programme is selected, customers can watch it when they want, pause, fast
forward and rewind.

Telewest Broadband is investing around £20 million in the development of
TV-on-demand and personal video recorder (PVR) services in 2005. 

Telewest
Broadband’s 160Gb PVR service, which includes three tuners and is HDTV
compatible, will be available in the second half of 2005.

Consumers can find out more about Telewest Broadband’s bundle of digital TV,
broadband internet and telephone services at www.telewest.co.uk.

Ends

Notes to Editors:
Telewest, the broadband communications and media group, currently passes and
markets to 4.7 million homes and provides multi-channel television,
telephone and internet services to 1.8 million residential customers.

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One thought on “Telewest confirms video-on-demand HDTV plans

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