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BT Vision
Type Pay TV and Download Service
Founded 2006
Headquarters United Kingdom London
Industry Media & Telecoms
Products Pay TV services
Programming
Owner(s) BT Group
Website www.btvision.com

BT Vision is a service provided in the United Kingdom supplied by BT Retail. It provides digital terrestrial television channels using a Freeview decoder and on demand film, TV, sport, kids and music programming delivered via broadband through a hybrid DTT/IP/PVR set top box also known as the Vision+ Box.[1] BT Vision is an example of telecommunication convergence.

Contents

Launch of BT Vision

BT Vision was launched on 5 December 2006.[2] Initial reaction by the industry was positive although there was some criticism that set up costs were expensive and it was noted that BT Group were entering a competitive market.[3] In May 2007, BT Group launched a national advertising campaign for this service.[4] The aim was to attract "hundreds of thousands" of customers by the end of 2007 and 2-3 million in the medium term.[5] BT Vision provides digital TV channels using a Freeview decoder. A digital television recorder enables 80 hours television programmes to be recorded while films, TV programmes and sports events can be viewed on demand via broadband. The service is described as providing a range of on demand content without compulsory subscriptions. However, a BT broadband connection with a guaranteed line speed is required. A self-install version and a technician install version of BT Vision are available.[6]

In January 2008 it was announced that the Microsoft Xbox 360 will be able to download and view BT Vision video content, however as of november 2009 is it not yet available [7] and that Motorola would supply the next generation of BT Vision+ box.[8]

Content

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BT Vision Music

BT has agreed deals with:

who provide a range of music videos, concerts and music documentaries on demand. The concert programming covers a wide variety of genres including rock, pop, urban and ‘alternative', jazz and opera.

The music line-up includes names such as Avril Lavigne, Coldplay, Duran Duran, Fatboy Slim, Oasis, Queen, Phil Collins.

BT Vision Film

BT Vision has signed deals with the following studios to provide classic movies and the latest blockbuster films:

All films are available on a pay-per-view basis.

BT Vision Sport

BT won the rights to carry 242 same-day (but not live) FA Premier League football matches per season. The three year deal covers the 2007-8, 2008-9 and 2009-10 seasons. BT has acquired the rights in a joint bid with BSkyB. BT Vision also have the right to offer on demand coverage of 125 matches each season from the Football League and Carling Cup. These matches are available from 10pm on the evening that the game is played.

In addition to the football above, BT Vision is building an archive of classic matches from a variety of sports.

All of this on demand sports content is available on a pay per view basis, without the need for an upfront television subscription. Alternatively, customers can take a monthly viewing package allowing them to watch as much content as they like.

Between August 2007 and June 2009, Setanta Sports was available through BT Vision, via DTT and a smart card, offering Live Barclays Premiership and Clydesdale Bank Premier League games, as well as other sporting events such as US PGA Tour Golf and Magners League Rugby. BT Vision has now made a deal with American sports giant ESPN[9] for carriage of its new channel which replaced Setanta on DTT.

BT Vision Sport intends to encourage the inscription of customers who do not wish to pay a high monthly subscription for sports.[10]

BT Vision TV & BT Vision Kids

TV:

Kids:

On Demand

  • Channel 4 on Demand (4oD)
  • BBC on Demand. From late May 2008, BT discontinued free access to BBC TV replay, instead requiring Vision users to take out a £2.93 a month subscription.
  • Demand Five. From early October 2008, BT have added Five to their £3 Replay package.
  • ITV Catch Up, available from December 2008.

Background

When British Telecom (BT) was privatised in 1984 it was barred from providing television broadcasts over its telecommunication network, which meant that it was not possible for BT to provide a cable television service. The ban was designed to protect the new smaller telecommunications companies and the small cable television networks in the United Kingdom as it was felt that BT had an unfair advantage because its pre-privatisation monopoly meant that its equipment was already installed in virtually every home and business in the United Kingdom. In January 2001, the ban was lifted.[11]

Technical details

The BT Vision+ set top box, is a Philips DIT9719 operating Microsoft Mediaroom software, and requires access to a BT Broadband internet connection for normal function. Whilst it is only officially supported using BT's own router, the BT Home Hub, users have reported success using alternative equipment.

The set-top box is connected to the hub via an Ethernet cable either connected directly to the BT Home Hub, or to one of a pair of Comtrend Ethernet adapters. The Comtrend UPA adaptors use the mains wiring in a house to create an Ethernet network. A second adaptor is plugged into the mains and connected to the BT Home Hub via an Ethernet cable. These plugs are provided as part of the BT Vision package. These powerline adaptors, however, are known to cause disruption and interference to radio services, in particular Amateur and CB radio. There are groups that have been set up to try and have the adaptors taken from the market and banned.

In addition to Freeview broadcasts, customers can choose from a variety of "paid-for" content, which is delivered on-demand via their broadband connection.

The operating system in the STB (Set-Top Box) is Microsoft Windows CE

Only one Set-Top Box can be used at a time to connect to BT Vision using a single Home Hub / Broadband Line.

BT have agreed that the next version of the BT Vision decoder will be made by Motorola, instead of Philips.

References

External links


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