BT to Enter British Pay-TV Market

09 October 2003

British telecoms operator BT Group is planning to launch a broadband pay-TV service.

The telephone giant is in talks with set-top box makers Netgem and SetPal about supplying devices that will allow subscribers to receive video content via broadband connections.

The pricing and nature of these services is still under wraps. BT is thought to favour 'time-shifted' television, whereby viewers can watch programmes when they choose, regardless of schedules. A back-catalogue of past films, dramas and other shows will also be available.

However, BT is unlikely to offer live channels, as this would compete with conventional pay-TV firms such as satellite operator BSkyB - something the firm has in the past said it would prefer to avoid.

BT's existing broadband connections are not considered powerful enough to ensure high-quality streaming video. The new television service may be able to guarantee higher-speed connection for its subscribers using technology currently being tested.

The pay-TV offering is scheduled to launch in summer 2004.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff