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Telewest WebTV Trial

# 21 June 2005, 10:21 by Cable Forum

Telewest Broadband is developing a web-based TV service on its
blueyonder.co.uk website, a Telewest press release states. The cable company’s trial service provides broadband internet users with free, high-quality TV content, via four channels which play out like traditional TV channels.

Aggregating content from providers such as Flextech Television, high.tv and The Horror Channel, blueyonder tv streams a mix of entertainment, factual, lifestyle and sports programming around the clock. The selection of niche content is intended to compliment the company’s existing, mainstream digital TV service.

The beta service can be found from the blueyonder site here and currently includes:

blueyonder 01: offers a mix of entertainment highlights from Flextech Television’s LIVINGtv, Bravo, Challenge and Trouble channels

broadsports: provides a range of specialist sports coverage, from
snowboarding to motor racing and sailing

broadwise: offers exclusive video guides to the world wide web, covering topics including online entertainment, multi-player gaming, education and wireless technology

broadway: has a range of entertainment programming

Content is played out at speeds up to 1.8Mbp/s, offering high quality pictures, and the service will automatically tailor the speed of delivery to each viewer’s connection. Programmes can be paused and a three-day guide allows users to select content from anywhere in the previous schedule.

Eric Tveter, president and chief operating officer at Telewest Broadband, said: “Not only are we developing on-demand services for our digital TV platform, but we’re also able to exploit the potential for video content via the internet.

“Only recently has increasing broadband connection speeds and improvements in encoding technology allowed the continuous streaming of such high quality video.”

Telewest Broadband has over 750,000 broadband internet customers, two-thirds of whom take services of 1Mb and above, so the company sees blueyonder tv as one way to bring the benefits of that extra bandwidth to life. The trial currently has around 25,000 regular users.

The service is the result of a partnership with online TV experts Narrowstep Inc, combining the company’s TV-Station-in-a-box platform and Telewest Broadband’s in-house producers to encode, schedule and play out the service from a web-based management console.

Iolo Jones, chief executive officer of Narrowstep, added: “The marriage of Telewest Broadband’s unmetered broadband services with Narrowsep’s technology shows the future for web television.

Telewest Broadband expects the range and depth of content on blueyonder tv to expand over the coming months and viewers are being asked to give feedback during the ongoing trial.

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