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Telewest Launches UK's first high definition TV service

# 1 December 2005, 09:24 by Cable Forum

A Telewest press release today states: Britain’s first high definition (HD) TV service is now available to selected Telewest households, as the cable company today begins installing its HD-ready personal video recorder (PVR) – called TVDrive – into the first paying customers’ homes.

Over four hundred digital TV customers will have access to free HD programmes from BBC Worldwide, including Pride, The Blue Planet and Wild Weather. Movies will also be made available during the commercial pilot, thanks to Telewest’s existing relationship with Filmflex.

The HD programmes are offered via the cable company’s TV-on-demand service, called Teleport – which offers instant access to a huge library of TV programmes and films – and received via the new TVDrive box. Once the HD programme has been selected, the viewer has DVD-like control, with pause, rewind and fast-forward.

Touted as the biggest TV revolution since the advent of colour, HD
programmes have four times as many pixels as standard TV broadcasts, meaning crystal clear pictures and stunning detail even on larger plasma and LCD TVs.

The new PVR box will also make recording TV easy, including the ability to pause live TV and then resume watching from where you left off. With hard drive storage for around 80 hours of programmes, viewers simply press one record button to save their favourite shows. There is no need for bulky video tapes and up to two channels can be recorded whilst watching a third.

TV Drive is expected to launch nation-wide early next year and will cost £10 per month for customers taking the company’s top digital TV package, or £15 per month otherwise. Unlike existing PVRs, there are no large purchasing costs and maintenance is included in the monthly fee.

The box enables viewers to:

  • Receive all of Telewest’s existing digital TV services
  • Easily record and store around 80 hours of standard definition
  • Pause live TV if interrupted, or rewind and re-watch current viewing
  • Watch and record programmes in high definition
  • Automatically record a TV series, or record by programme category (eg. kids or soaps)
  • Plan viewing and recordings with an eight-day, on-screen programme guide
  • Watch one channel and record up to two others at the same time
  • Access Teleport, Telewest’s TV-on-demand service, and choose from a library of additional programmes and movies any time

Eric Tveter, president and chief operating officer of Telewest said: “Our new PVR is streets ahead; with generous storage, the flexibility of being able to record up to two channels while watching a third, and breath-taking HDTV.

“With both TVDrive and Teleport, our customers will have complete control, freedom and choice with their TV viewing. Combined with HDTV, it’s the ultimate TV experience and leaves the current Sky+ box on the starting line.”

Consumers can now register their interest in TVDrive
at www.telewest.co.uk/tvdrive.

Customers taking part in the PVR and HD pilot during December will require an HD-ready TV set in addition to the set-top box in order to watch HD programmes. HDTV sets should have the HD Ready logo on them and should have an HDMI port to access to all high definition content

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