British telecommunications service provider BT Group (BT) has taken another key step forward in its ambitious interactive television plans by securing content from three of the world's largest entertainment companies.
BT has signed deals with BBC Worldwide (a subsidiary of the British Broadcasting Corporation), Paramount Pictures and Warner Music International (a unit of Warner Music), the London-based operator said Thursday in a statement.
In October, BT announced plans to launch a commercial IPTV (Internet Protocol TV) service, using technology from Microsoft and Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV. Microsoft TV IPTV Edition will serve as the software platform, while Philips will supply the set-top boxes.
Commercial service is scheduled to begin in the second half of 2006, BT said.
Customers will not be required to purchase a subscription, but instead can use a pay-per-view option to view an extensive library of movies, TV and music available instantly, the operator said.
In addition to more than 30 live digital TV channels, customers can also view "catch-up" TV programs from the previous week. They will be offered a personal video recorder capable of storing up to 80 hours of programming.
In addition, BT will offer several communication services, including instant messaging and video telephony on TV as well as online gaming and shopping.