After several months of start-up transmissions, Connect TV has launched its IP delivered TV service with a bouquet of 45 channels.
An initial three EPG has grown to seven channels that are either on air or in the process of launching. “The EPG is incredibly powerful and part of the ethos behind this company is that the EPG is where everybody starts from. If you don’t pay that respect then you will fail,” CEO Phil Walder told Broadband TV News. He said that with broadcasters able to offer a number of channels from a single EPG slot it was no longer necessary for platforms such as YouView to block out large sections of the Freeview guide. “Why do you need to put them in as numbers when you can put them in as portals that are EPGs with an EPG. We already have one channel in Vision that has up to 39 channels inside of it and we can manage that within MHEG.”
Connect TV is using technology developed by its sister company Slipstream which, as reported by Broadband TV News last August, takes advantage of the MHEG-5 interaction channel as specified in the D-Book used as the manual for the UK’s Freeview DTT transmissions.
The interactive application created by Slipstream sits behind an MHEG-5 ‘barker channel’. If the viewer has a connected device they are presented with a menu enabling them to pull in selected content over the internet.
It is available to approximately 5.5 million UK households, providing they have connected their Freeview HD se-top or IDTV to the internet. The launch content line-up contains a mix of sports, foreign language and news channels from Racing UK, Sports Tonight Live, CCTV and French, Greek, Polish and Turkish programming from the Vision TV Network. Channels using the Connect TV platform can choose to be pay-to-view, subscription, or free.
Transactions are managed through the Connect TV payment gateway. The preferred subscription manager is MGt’s PayWizard.
Walder explained that one use of the platform was the ability for a channel with a limited timeslot on DTT to extend their broadcasts to a full 24-hours. “The customer who comes to a channel and sees it during its DTT broadcasting hours should not know any different if they come to it in its IPTV broadcasting hours.”