Vodafone is to launch a hybrid TV service called Vodafone Internet TV in Spain before the end of 2010, possibly as early as next month. The box will receive DVB-T channels, both free-to-air and pay-TV, as well as a number of IPTV delivered services including VOD.
The announcement was made by Isaac Hernandez, MD, Vodafone Broadband, at the SIMO Network fair in Madrid. The new service is set to compete with Telefonica’s IPTV service Imagenio and Orange TV as well as with cable. However, in contrast to its competitors, Vodafone does not plan to invest in content itself, but rather rely on DTT services in a hybrid box.
The hybrid box, developed by French company WyPlay, will also allow access to internet on the TV, including on-demand and streaming sites, and will give access to locally stored content, such as videos, photos and music. The box is “PVR ready”, allowing recordings to be made to a USB device, and includes DNLA, Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity and is also ready for both HD and 3D content.
A series of widgets will provide access to Spain’s catch-up TV services. Additional content will be available from National Geographic Channel, Canal de Historia and Canal Cocina (entertainment).
Until recently, Vodafone was only active as a mobile operator in Spain, but after acquiring the assets of Tele2 in the country, it is now also active as an ISP. The announcement is reminiscent of a project that Vodafone plans for the German market, where a hybrid set-top box will combine satellite or cable with the operator’s own IPTV service.
At an IBC lunch hosted by NDS, which is providing middleware and security for the German launch, Diego Massidda, director of video & connected, Vodafone Germany said the project could be replicated in other markets. However, the German initiative is a different beast, combining Vodafone’s own IPTV offer with additional channels from cable or satellite, while in Spain, viewers get access to all the DTT channels, both FTA and premium, with additional content from the open internet using dedicated widgets for easy access. In addition, the Wyplay box also acts as a media centre, giving people access to their own locally stored content.