BT, Microsoft & Philips join hands to unveil BT Vision in UK

 MUMBAI: BT has announced the commercial launch of BT Vision, its new television and entertainment service. BT Vision uses the Microsoft TV Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) Edition software platform and an advanced Philips set-top box to deliver a next-generation digital television service to BT Total Broadband customers across the UK.

BT Vision combines more than 40 DTT (digital terrestrial television )-based freeview channels, digital recording capability and a library of video-on-demand content delivered over broadband. This gives viewers more choice without the need to commit to a compulsory monthly TV subscription.

An official release stated that BT, Microsoft Corp and Philips worked closely together to bring the full experience of BT Vision to the home. The Philips-designed set-top box offers advanced technology, including 80 hours of hard disk recording capability, two tuners, smart card reader, high-definition TV and numerous extension capabilities. The set-top box enables viewers to "time shift" programmes at their convenience, pausing live shows or recording them to watch at a later date. In addition, a "catch-up TV" feature gives viewers the convenience of viewing TV programmes they may have missed from the previous week.

"BT Vision is a ground-breaking television service, giving consumers choice and flexibility without requiring them to be tied to a monthly TV contract," said BT Vision chief executive Dan Marks. "Microsoft TV has given BT the power to build a service that we feel addresses a real market opportunity, enabling our customers to switch on to better TV."

BT Vision offers a variety of content combined with advanced television services. Further highlights include the following:

- Varied content from Disney, Sony BMG, Universal, DreamWorks, National Geographic, Viacom and the BBC as well as independent programmers.

- "Near-live" on-demand Premiership football action, starting in summer 2007.

-- Interactive services such as games.

-- Access to the phone book via the television.

"BT Vision is a revolution for TV services in the UK. BT's pioneering approach and Microsoft's next-generation IPTV technologies have enabled a unique TV service that lets consumers control their TV experience," said Microsoft's TV division corporate vice president Enrique Rodriguez. "BT's trusted brand is well-placed to bring exciting connected and personal television experiences to a wide range of consumers in the UK."

The announcement is the latest in a wave of European IPTV deployments based on the Microsoft TV software platform and heralds a new era of more compelling personal and connected TV experiences available to consumers.

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