Well we knew it wouldn’t be long before some serious broadband player announced an IPTV service (Internet Protocol TV, or TV via broadband to a set top box) and here is the biggie.
BT has confirmed today that in conjunction with box maker Philips it is to debut a broadband IPTV/digital TV hybrid service in summer 2006.
The box itself will feature a digital terrestrial decoder, so that it can access all the Freeview digital TV Channels, but it also uses Microsoft’s TV IPTV Edition as the software platform on which it delivers some interesting services.
For starters user will be able to access a large video on demand library, watch “catch-up TV” which is basically programmes that have been on early in the week (this will be on demand) and access a range of interactive services.
The Philips box will also feature a 160 Gigabyte hard drive capable of storing 80 hours of Standard Definition programming and probably around twenty of High Definition footage.
Trials for the service start soon with a full roll out expected next summer.
It certainly looks like a smart move for BT to pair digital TV and broadband services. The gauntlet has been thrown down to Sky, who as you may remember recently invested in broadband company Easynet, and the newly merged cable companies.