The BBC, ITV and BT have announced that they are joining forces to work as partners to promote a common industry approach and consumer offer to deliver on demand TV over broadband. The new service will bring broadband delivered content on a regular TV set. The initiative is open to all public service broadcasters, device developers and other ISPs.
The proposals, which form part of the BBC Executive’s wider partnership proposals, would see the development of a standards based open environment for broadband connected digital television receivers. These hybrid boxes would be able to receive either terrestrial digital broadcasts or satellite signals and combine them with on demand content delivered over broadband.
“It would support a wide range of content providers and could be promoted by all Internet Service Providers, with the aim to involve a wider group of partners by launch,” according to a joint press release. The new devices will offer on demand TV services like iPlayer and ITV Player, as well as the potential for films, shows and interactive content from a range of other providers, both in SD and HD.
Mark Thompson, DG of the BBC, said in a statement: “audiences tell us that they want more services through their television set. I am pleased that the BBC is working with industry partners such as device manufacturers, ISPs and other content providers on proposals which will bring real benefits for consumers.”
An ITV spokesperson said: “ITV and the BBC have a good track record of collaboration on projects such as Kangaroo, Freeview and Freesat. We will be giving careful consideration to the approaches outlined today and look forward to receiving more detail on the proposals in due course.”
Michael Grade, executive chairman, ITV, said: “this proposal will bring catch-up from the PC to the TV set in your living room, and all for free. This makes convergence a reality. It will also future-proof our free-to-air platforms, Freeview and Freesat. We are delighted to be working with the BBC, BT and other ISPs to bring this idea to fruition for viewers.”
Ian Livingston, CEO, BT said: “television and broadband are a compelling combination. Together they can offer live TV along with an unrivalled choice of on demand content and interactive services. It will mean that you can watch what you want whenever you want on your television. We are looking forward to working with The BBC, ITV and other internet service providers to support an open standard for the free to air market in the UK.”
The plans are subject to BBC Trust approval and public consultation.