From Broadcast

BT has launched its new TVservice, BT Vision, which is providing more than 40channels and anextensive IPTV video-on-demand library at no subscription charge.

As well as the free content,customers can pay for premium content such as music videos and movies viasubscription or pay-per-view. BT claims that its prices, including £1.49 forpremium documentaries and £1.99-£2.99 for current movies, are lower thansatellite, cable and high-street video chains.

The service also includes aReplay TV feature that allows customers to catch up with selected programmesfrom the previous week for up to £1.49 each.

From next August, customerswill have access to 242 "near-live" on-demand FA Premiership gamessecured by BT earlier this year. BT Vision has also agreed a deal to carry theSetanta Sport channel with 46 live Premiership games and 60 live ScottishPremier League games.

BT will begin connecting itsfirst customers in mid-December, and intends to connect "hundreds ofthousands" by the end of 2007. It aims to have betweentwo and threemillion customers "in the medium term".

Previous BT content dealsinclude tie-ups with Channel 4, Disney, BBC Worldwide, Paramount and Sony BMG. Next year will also see the addition of more nicheVoD programming, along with interactive services based around audienceparticipation, voting, gaming and voice and video chat.

BT said the absence of anyminimum monthly payment made BT Vision "the first widely available TVservice of its kind".

BT Retail chief executiveIan Livingston said: "BT Vision is all about giving the viewer controlover what they watch, when they watch it and how they pay for it. BT Vision isideal for people who want more choice than Freeview but without being tied to asubscription."

BT Vision is delivered via aset-top box called the V-box, connected to the customer's terrestrial aerialfor Freeview and broadband for VoD. The box is free for new and existing BTTotal Broadband customers and costs £199 to other customers. All customers willpay £60 for installation plus £30 connection. BT will introduce a self-installbox next year.

The HD-ready personal videorecorder (PVR) box can store up to 80 hours of recorded content and allowviewers to pause or rewind live TV, as they can with Sky+ and other brands ofPVR. The box and service are available initially to existing BT Total Broadbandcustomers who pre-registered their interest on BT's website.

Vodafone's Vodafone at Homequad-play customers will also be offered a version of BT Vision. Vodafone UK, a BT partner, will be the exclusive mobile networkpartner offering BT Vision.