BBC iPlayer on BT Vision: top line technical details
Yesterday we announced that we will start to roll out BBC iPlayer across the BT Vision platform next month. By April next year, every one of the 520,000 BT Vision set-top boxes installed should be able to access our catch-up video on demand (VOD) service at no extra cost.
In order to support BBC iPlayer, BT Vision will update the software on their boxes, rolling it out gradually across their customer base. Once a box is upgraded, our app can be launched from BT Vision's main menu, giving access to more than 400 hours of new TV programmes and many more hours of BBC radio each week.
During BT Vision's rollout from December, the selected 50 hours of BBC programmes available within BT Vision's TV Replay will still be available. Once rollout is complete in April, the BBC iPlayer application will replace BBC programmes in the legacy TV replay service.
Opening BBC iPlayer on TV to such a large connected audience represents a major advance in our effort to bring the full BBC iPlayer experience to TVs. Already, nearly a third of all TV programmes enjoyed through BBC iPlayer are watched using TV-connected devices including games consoles, set-top boxes, disc players and connected TVs. This is all the more enjoyable when the experience is accessed from the same remote as the TV, as is the case with BT Vision.
BT Vision's set-top boxes use the Microsoft Mediaroom IPTV platform to deliver TV on demand alongside TV broadcast over Freeview. Last year Microsoft added a technology to this called Presentation Framework (MSPF) to let IPTV network operators add extra services delivered over the Web. We partnered with Pushbutton to build the BBC iPlayer app on BT Vision using this technology. You'll see the experience is pretty slick!
TV programmes are delivered in the WMV format at a total data rate of 1300kbit/sec. BT Vision tell us that all customers should be able to watch this without interruption, whatever their broadband connection speed. Radio is delivered in the WMA format at 128kbit/sec.
Those are the top line technical details. We will let you know how the early users get on, and try to get a more detailed rollout schedule so BT Vision customers can get a better idea of when they'll get BBC iPlayer on the TV.
Gideon Summerfield is Product Manager, TV iPlayer