A set-top box to be launched next year will be a gateway to thousands of hours of archived TV programmes and films.
BT’s broadband customers will be able to buy a box which will combine a Freeview decoder with a video recorder as well as giving access to a library of films over the internet
The box, which will be made by Phillips and use Microsoft software, will be able to show high definition TV and should be available across the UK from late summer 2006.
Services available at launch or shortly afterwards will include:
- entertainment on demand – an extensive library of movies, TV and music all available instantly on a pay-per-view option
- catch-up TV – programmes from the previous seven days will be available on demand without the need to record
- no mandatory subscriptions
- a video recorder capable of storing up to 80 hours of programmes
- more than 30 digital terrestrial TV channels
- interactive services such as online games, shopping and community services.
BT Retail’s Chief Executive, Ian Livingston, described the services as a ‘world first’.
The company could not say how much the set-top box would cost. However, a spokesman said it would be considerably cheaper than the current 160 GBP high-street price for a set-top box and video recorder.