BT TV

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BT TV
Type Division
Industry Pay television
Founded December 2006 (BT Vision)
October 2012 (BT YouView)
Headquarters London, United Kingdom
Area served United Kingdom
Products Digital TV
Parent BT Group
Website www.bt.com/tv

BT TV is a subscription IPTV service offered by BT Group in the United Kingdom, originally launched as BT Vision in December 2006. As of April 2014, BT TV (Vision and BT YouView) has just over 1 Million subscribers.[1]

BT TV provides on-demand content, 20 extra entertainment channels (14 of which are available in HD), 9 extra children's channels 11 Movie channels (Sky Movies) and 3 live sports channels. Sports are available in SD and HD through IPTV signals. BT Sport 1 and 2 and also ESPN are now available in non-fibre areas over IPTV using copper multicast where available.

As BT TV transmits channels and content through IPTV, BT requires customers to sign up to the BT Broadband internet and phone service to use BT TV, with connection via BT's official router, BT Home Hub.

BT started rebranding its TV services – Vision and BT's YouView service as, BT TV between May and August 2013.[2] On 11 April 2014, BT announced that the original Vision service will be closed down as of 30 June, with all customers getting a free upgrade to its modern YouView service.[3] The Vision service was, after August 2013, solely used to broadcast Sky Sports, as well as BT Sport for non-Infinity customers. It is currently unknown if BT has reached a deal with Sky for airing Sky Sports on its YouView service.

History[edit]

Background[edit]

When British Telecom (BT) was privatised in 1984, it was barred from providing television broadcasts over its telecommunication network, which meant that it was not possible for BT to provide a cable television service. The ban was designed to protect the new smaller telecommunications companies and the small cable television networks in the United Kingdom as it was felt that BT had an unfair advantage because its pre-privatisation monopoly meant that its equipment was already installed in virtually every home and business in the country. In January 2001, the ban was lifted.[4]

Launch[edit]

BT Vision was launched on 5 December 2006, competing with Sky, Virgin Media (then known as NTL:Telewest) and TalkTalk Plus TV (then known as Tiscali TV).[5] Initial industry reaction was positive although there was some criticism that set up costs were expensive and it was noted that BT Group were entering a competitive market.[6] In May 2007, BT Group launched a national advertising campaign for BT Vision.[7] BT Vision was the second IPTV television platform in the UK, after Homechoice TV.

The aim was to attract "hundreds of thousands" of customers by the end of 2007 and 2–3 million in the medium-term. However, adoption was slow and by February 2008 BT Vision had just 150,000 customers.[8]

Premium sport deal[edit]

BT acquired the rights to carry 242 same-day (but not live) Premier League football matches per season in a three-year deal covering the 2007–08, 2008–09 and 2009–10 seasons in a joint bid with BSkyB on 25 May 2006, prior to BT Vision's launch.[9] BT Vision also have the right to offer on demand coverage of 125 matches each season from the Football League and League Cup. This service ceased prior to the start of the 2010–11 season.

Between August 2007 and June 2009, Setanta Sports was available through BT Vision, via DTT and a smart card, offering Live Barclays Premiership and Clydesdale Bank Premier League games, as well as other sporting events such as US PGA Tour Golf and Magners League Rugby. BT Vision made a deal with American sports TV company ESPN[10] for carriage of its new channel which replaced Setanta on DTT.

The company announced the pricing of their Sky Sports packages in July 2010, following the outcome of Ofcom's review into pay-TV pricing in March, which directed Sky to reduce the wholesale price it charges for the Sky Sports channels.[11] The price charged to customers signing up for broadband, calls and TV with BT for a two-year contract results in the organisation making a "significant loss on the service",[12][13] allowing them to undercut the price charged by Sky to its own customers.[12]

Microsoft deal[edit]

On 7 January 2008, BT reached a deal with Microsoft where the latter's Xbox 360 console will provide BT Vision on demand content. The service was due to launch in mid-2008 but never materialised.

Sky Sports deal[edit]

On 28 June 2010, BT and Sky signed an agreement where Sky Sports 1 and 2 will be available for BT Vision customers.[14] This came a year after BT stopped offering Setanta Sports 1 & 2 on Vision after Setanta lost the rights to broadcast Premier League football.[15]

UKTV deal[edit]

On 22 March 2012, it was announced that BT would offer UKTV original content on-demand from later in the day. Featured programmes include, James Martin's Mediterranean (Good Food), Choccywoccydoodah (Good Food), Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (Home), Celebrity Fantasy Homes (Home), Tool Academy (Really), Bridezillas (Really), Amazing Planet (Eden) and Life on Fire (Eden).[16]

As part of the deal, UKTV will start streaming linear channels to BT Vision set top boxes later in 2012. The first three will be Watch, Gold and Alibi and it intents to launch further channels, such as Good Food, Eden and Home.[17] Dave, Really and Yesterday will likely not launch on the service as they are already available on Freeview, which is available through the BT set-top boxes.

FX deal[edit]

On 11 April 2012, BT and Fox International Channels announced that from late 2012, BT Vision customers will be able to watch FX (now known as Fox) as a linear channel. BT Vision customers will also be able to watch many of the top shows, up to seven days after transmission on-demand. They will also be able to watch library programmes on-demand.[18]

National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo Wild deal[edit]

On 12 June 2012, BT announced that National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo Wild will be coming to BT Vision as linear channels in late 2012. The deal also includes a seven-day on demand catch up of programmes.

Premier League football rights[edit]

On 13 June 2012, it was announced that BT had acquired a share of the rights to Premier League football television coverage for the 2013–14 to 2015–16 seasons.[19][20] As part of the deal, BT acquired the live rights to 38 games, including 18 of the 38 "first pick" games, for a total of £738 million.[19][20] BT simultaneously announced plans to launch a Sports Channel on all platforms, including BT Vision.

Premiership Rugby rights[edit]

On 12 September 2012, BT agreed a £152 million four-year exclusive rights deal for the broadcast of Premiership Rugby from the 2013/14 season.[21]

British Eurosport deal[edit]

On 8 November 2012, BT signed a contract with British Eurosport to add British Eurosport and British Eurosport 2 to its line-up of linear TV channels. The deal also includes sporting content to watch on demand. [22]

Sky Movies deal[edit]

On 14 October 2013, BT signed a deal with Sky for the carriage of their Sky Movies channels and on-demand content. The channels will be available to customers from 26 October.[23]

YouView from BT[edit]

On 21 September 2012, BT, one of the partners of YouView, announced that they would provide a free YouView box to its broadband subscribers. This new service will allow customers to access BT Vision's on demand content, YouView's EPG technologies such as 'scrollback', and Now TV. This came weeks after TalkTalk launched its new YouView-based TV service TalkTalk Plus TV. YouView from BT launched on 26 October 2012.

On 27 June 2013, the CEO of BT's TV division, Marc Watson, said that BT Vision will be rebranded as 'BT TV', together with the YouView service under an umbrella brand. BT aimed to offer sports on the YouView service. However, on 1 August 2013, BT was refused by rival BSkyB to broadcast Sky Sports on BT's YouView service.[24] This meant that the Vision+ box would continue to be distributed for the purpose of Sky Sports and the extra linear channels (as of 27 June), as long until these features would be finally available on BT YouView.

On 9 August 2013, the 18 extra linear channels from BT Vision were successfully added to the BT YouView EPG and ready for streaming.[25] Just two days prior to this, both BT and TalkTalk asked Digital UK to expand the streamed IP channel range from 400–499 to 400–599, as they both claim to launch over a hundred new streamed channels via YouView.

Vision+ PVR[edit]

The Vision+ is a set-top box, similar to Sky+ and V+, that enables 100 hours of television programmes to be recorded while watching other live programmes. The service is described as providing a range of on-demand content without compulsory subscriptions. However, a BT broadband connection with a guaranteed line speed is required. A self-install version and a technician install version of BT Vision are available.

The original silver Vision+ box is a Philips DIT9719 running Microsoft Mediaroom software for the IPTV signals. The OS is Windows CE. The next generation Vision+ box was made by Motorola from 2008. The new black Vision+ box is made by Pace. Only one Vision+ can be used at a time to connect to the BT Vision service using a single Home Hub Broadband Connection.

BT released a new Humax set top box in late 2012 offering HD services, linear HD channels and other new features as part of the YouView service.

The original silver Vision+ boxes will be no use after 30 June 2014. All customers will get a free upgrade to YouView, worth £199, if they recontract for 18 months. Users of the black Vision+ boxes are unaffected.[26]

Packages[edit]

The newly rebranded BT TV has three packages as of 10 August 2013: TV Essential, Essential Extra, and Unlimited Extra. All packages will come with a YouView box which will have all Freeview television & radio channels, Catch Up TV and the ability to pause, record and rewind live TV. A Vision+ box is provided for Sky Sports customers, until 30 June 2014.

Vision TV, Music, Kids and Sport are on-demand. All will cost 50p a show with TV Essential, and all will be free and unlimited with TV Unlimited. Vision Filmclub is available for free with TV Unlimited, and is not available for TV Essential.

Vision Box Office is on a pay per view basis, available with both TV Essential and TV Unlimited.

BT Sport and ESPN channels are available free of charge for customers with BT Infinity fibre-optic broadband. For customers who don't have access to BT's fibre-optic network, these can watch BT Sport via DTT on a Vision+ box. On 24 January 2014, BT ceased to sell BT Sport via DTT. However, it has announced no plans to cease DTT transmissions for its existing customers.[27]

Linear Channels[edit]

The following is a list of live TV channels on the BT TV platforms with their EPG numbers, correct as of 18 June 2014. All channels are transmitted using IPTV signals:

Sport channels
Movie channels[23]
  • 530: Sky Movies Premiere
  • 531: Sky Movies Action and Adventure
  • 532: Sky Movies Disney
  • 533: Sky Movies Showcase
  • 534: Sky Movies Family
  • 535: Sky Movies Comedy
  • 536: Sky Movies Sci Fi and Horror
  • 537: Sky Movies Greats
  • 538: Sky Movies Crime and Thriller
  • 539: Sky Movies Select
  • 540: Sky Movies Drama and Romance
Children's channels

These linear channels are only available to customers who have access to BT's Infinity fibre-optic broadband. BT Sport and ESPN are free for all customers. Customers who do not have access to Infinity can receive BT Sport 1 and 2 via DTT, on a dedicated Vision+ box. (BT Sport via DTT is no longer available for a new provision however existing customers are able to keep using the service) The channels became available on BT's YouView service in August 2013, with new EPG numbers in the 4xx and 5xx ranges, instead of the odd 8xx and 9xx ranges which BT Vision had before. The EPG numbers are the same on rival TalkTalk Plus TV, as both run on (and are maintained by) YouView.

The Sky Movies and IP children's channels were launched during the Autumn/Winter of 2013. These are likely not to be free or part of the Essentials package from BT.

Vision Catch-up[edit]

Vision Catch-up, formerly Vision Replay, is the name of the Catch Up TV services, which is available free of charge on any package.

From late May 2008, BT discontinued free access to BBC TV replay, instead requiring Vision users to take out a monthly subscription. However, In November 2010, BT announced that BT Vision subscribers would be able to access the BBC iPlayer from the end of June 2011.[28] This service was built by Pushbutton for Microsoft Mediaroom.

ITV Net Player has been available since December 2008. Demand 5 was removed on 6 October 2010, but was reinstated in May 2011.

On demand[edit]

The BT Vision logo, formerly used for the TV service itself from 2011 to 2013. Now used for BT TV's on-demand library.
Vision TV on-demand

Content is provided by:

Vision Sport on-demand

In addition to the Sky Sports 1, Sky Sports 2 and ESPN sport channels, Vision Sport is an archive of football, wrestling boxing, martial arts, motorsports and extreme sports matches available on-demand, with a few on a pay per view basis.

Vision Kids on-demand

BT has agreed deals with:

who provide hundreds of children's programs on-demand.

Vision Filmclub on-demand

BT Vision has signed deals with the following studios to provide classic and new films:

Vision Box Office on-demand

Vision Box Office provides a library of the latest blockbuster films on a pay per view basis.

Films on Vision Box Office mainly come from the following content providers

Vision Music on-demand

BT has agreed deals with:

who provide over 1,500 music videos, concerts and music documentaries, on-demand. The concert programming covers a wide variety of genres including rock, pop, urban and alternative, jazz and opera.

References[edit]

  1. ^ BT Vision and BT YouView grow slightly ahead of BT Sport kick off
  2. ^ Rebranded BT TV will deliver Sport over YouView boxes
  3. ^ "BT to switch off original BT Vision service". seenit.co.uk. 11 April 2014. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  4. ^ BT to begin broadcasting, BBC news report, 27 May 2001, retrieved on 2 June 2007.
  5. ^ BT Vision – passing you the control, BT Group news release, 4 December 2006, retrieved on 2 June 2007
  6. ^ Hi-tech world assesses BT Vision, BBC new report, 6 December 2006, retrieved on 2 June 2007.
  7. ^ BT Vision unveils national advertising campaign, BT Group news release, 10 May 2007, retrieved on 2 June 2007.
  8. ^ BT profits hit by restructuring – BBC News
  9. ^ BT and BSkyB win football rights – BBC News
  10. ^ Setanta. BT Vision. Retrieved on 3 February 2012.
  11. ^ Sweney, Mark (31 March 2010). "Ofcom orders Sky Sports price cut". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 8 July 2010. 
  12. ^ a b Wray, Richard (1 July 2010). "War breaks out between BT and Sky over pricing of Sky Sports channels". London: The Guardian. Archived from the original on 4 July 2010. Retrieved 8 July 2010. 
  13. ^ "BT Vision to offer cut price deal on Sky Sports channels". Daily Record. 2 July 2010. Archived from the original on 4 July 2010. Retrieved 8 July 2010. 
  14. ^ Sky Sports 1 and 2 available to BT Vision customers – BBC News
  15. ^ BT Vision stops selling Setanta – BBC News
  16. ^ "UKTV creates its first IPTV content deal – first linear channel deal for BT Vision". UKTV. 22 March 2012. 
  17. ^ "UKTV agrees on-demand, channels deal with BT Vision". Digital Spy. 22 March 2012. 
  18. ^ BT Vision signs popular FXUK to build linear offering
  19. ^ a b "Premier League lands £3bn TV rights bonanza from Sky and BT". The Guardian. 13 June 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2012. 
  20. ^ a b "ESPN lose out to BT in bidding for Premier League broadcast rights in £3 billion deal". The Telegraph. 13 June 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2012. 
  21. ^ "BT lands exclusive UK television rights to show live rugby union". The Guardian. 12 September 2012. Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  22. ^ "BT Vision signs linear channel deal with British Eurosport". cable.co.uk. 9 November 2012. Retrieved 9 November 2012. 
  23. ^ a b Clover, Julian (14 October 2013). "BT reaches Sky Movies carriage agreement". Broadband TV News. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  24. ^ Williams, Christopher (1 August 2013). "BT loses battle over Sky Sports wholesale deal". The Telegraph. Retrieved 11 August 2013. 
  25. ^ Farber, Alex (9 August 2013). "YouView's IP channels go live in EPG". Broadcast. Retrieved 11 August 2013. 
  26. ^ ""Original BT Vision service" to close this summer". a516digital. 11 April 2014. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  27. ^ "BT announces end of BT Sport via aerial for new customers". seenit.co.uk. 21 January 2014. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  28. ^ "BBC iPlayer on TV in your living room: update". BBC. 5 April 2011. 

External links[edit]