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BT Details IPTV Deployment Plans

BT set out its vision for a UK-wide IPTV service and announced that Philips has been selected to supply the set top box to deliver the programming. Every set top box will include a personal video recorder (PVR) capable of storing up to 80 hours of standard-definition programming (160GB) as well as being capable of delivering High Definition content. The BT-Philips partnership follows the recently announced alliance with Microsoft, which will provide Microsoft TV IPTV Edition as the software platform.

"Our services will be a world first and will place power in the hands of the viewer," said Ian Livingston, CEO of BT Retail. "No longer will BT customers be reliant on TV schedules. From next year, they will be able to watch what they like when they like. This is all about giving our customers choice, convenience and control."

BT's broadband service will combine access to digital terrestrial channels, an extensive video on demand library, "catch-up" TV (instant access to the last seven day's programmes, without having to record them) and a range of interactive services. The telco is planning to offer these services across the UK from the second half of 2006, with trials beginning next Spring.

BT's IPTV service will be available to BT customers without the need for a subscription fee, although there will be various pay-per-view options. Details of pricing and branding have yet to be announced.

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