UK cable television operator Telewest is launching TV-on-demand for selected customers.

The new service from the US-owned business is called Teleport and will be launched initially to viewers in the towns of Cheltenham and Gloucester. Customers have the chance to buy extra programs with access to a vast library both of films and TV entertainment.

Teleport also offers the same control as watching a DVD or video - once a programme or movie is selected, customers can start watching at a convenient time, pause, fast forward and rewind. The service is expected to roll out to one million customers across the country next year.

Telewest and its rival US compatriot NTL, with which it is expected to merge imminently in a £6.8 billion ($12.04bn; €10.07bn) deal, are hoping the £20m technology will prove a crucial marketing tool in their battle with Rupert Murdoch's satellite broadcaster, BSkyB.

Says Eric Tveter, president and chief operating officer of Telewest: "The schedule normally dictates viewing, but our customers will have the choice and convenience of a service they can tailor - it's TV on their terms."

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff