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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

EE TV
Company typeService
IndustryPay television
Founded5 December 2006
HeadquartersLondon, United Kingdom
Area served
United Kingdom
ProductsDigital television
ParentBT Consumer
Websitewww.bt.com/tv

EE TV (formerly BT Vision and then BT TV until 2023) is a subscription IPTV service offered by EE; a brand of British telecommunications company BT Group. It requires the signing up to and use of the EE Broadband internet and phone service, with connection via EE's official router, the EE Smart Hub.

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Transcription

History

Background

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.[1]

Despite the ban on BT offering cable services, it did offer to customers in the 1990s analogue satellite receivers compatible with the Astra satellite system (with built-in VideoCrypt decoders for receiving the Sky Multichannels package); these boxes were rebadged versions of receivers built by other companies, such as the BT SVS200 being a Cambridge ARD200.[2]

Launch of BT Vision

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).[3] 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.[4] In May 2007, BT Group launched a national advertising campaign for BT Vision.[5] 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.[6] On 7 January 2008, BT reached a deal with Microsoft where the latter's Xbox 360 console would have provided BT Vision's on demand content. The service was due to launch in mid-2008 but never materialised. From late May 2008, BT Vision 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.[7] This service was built by Pushbutton for Microsoft Mediaroom.

Sky and Setanta sports

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.[8] 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 Premiership and Scottish 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[9] for carriage of its new channel which replaced Setanta on DTT.

On 28 June 2010, BT and Sky signed an agreement where Sky Sports 1 and 2 will be available for BT Vision customers.[10] This came a year after BT stopped offering Setanta Sports 1 & 2 on Vision after Setanta lost the rights to broadcast Premier League football.[11] 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.[12] 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",[13][14] allowing them to undercut the price charged by Sky to its own customers.[13] As of 2011, BT Vision had 638,000 subscribers, whereas Sky TV had over 10 million and Virgin Media had 3.76 million.[15]

UKTV, Fox, Nat Geo and Eurosport deals

BT then made several deals to expand its offerings on BT Vision. UKTV original content on-demand from later in the day was added as part of a deal (featured programmes included 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] Linear channels from UKTV started streaming later in 2012, namely Watch, GOLD and Alibi, and later Good Food, Eden and Home.[17] On 11 April 2012, BT and Fox International Channels announced that from late 2012, BT Vision customers would be able to watch FX (which became Fox) as a linear channel as well as on-demand and watch library programmes on-demand.[18] On 1 March 2016, Fox was removed from the BT TV line-up. National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo Wild were also added in 2012. On 8 November 2012, BT signed a contract with British Eurosport to add British Eurosport 1 and 2 to its line-up of linear TV channels.[19] The deal included sporting content to watch on demand. On-demand content was later removed but re-added in mid 2018 following the signing of a new deal with Eurosport's current owners Discovery.

YouView, rebrand, and BT Sport

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.[20]

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.[21] This meant that the Vision+ box would continue to be distributed for the purpose of Sky Sports and the extra linear channels, as long until these features would be finally available on BT YouView.

BT started rebranding its TV services as BT TV between May and August 2013.[22] On 9 August 2013, the 18 extra linear channels from BT Vision were successfully added to the BT YouView EPG and ready for streaming.[23] 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. The Vision service that continued to be provided to Sky Sports customers closed entirely on 30 June 2014, with all customers getting a free upgrade to its modern YouView service.[24]

At the time of the rebrand, BT was also preparing to launch its BT Sport network, after the company had acquired a share of the rights to Premier League football television coverage for the 2013–14 to 2015–16 seasons[25][26] and an exclusive rights deal for the broadcast of Premiership Rugby from the 2013–14 season.[27] For customers who didn't have access to BT's fibre-optic network, they could watch these channels via DTT on a Vision+ box, but on 24 January 2014 BT ceased to sell BT Sport via DTT, and subsequently ceased provision of BT Sport 2 via DTT on 1 January 2015, followed by BT Sport 1 closing on DTT on 2 June 2015.[28]

BT TV

The carriage for Sky's Sky Movies (now known as Sky Cinema) channels and on-demand content became available to customers from 26 October.[29] On 10 November 2014 BT and YouView announced that the Netflix player had been made available on BT & retail Humax YouView boxes.[30] Sky Sports 1 & 2 were made available to YouView customers on Tuesday 16 December 2014 following an interim ruling from the Appeal Court backing Ofcom's ruling that YouView is to be included in the "Wholesale Must Offer" of the channels.[31]

BT TV initially provided three packages at launch: TV Essential, Essential Extra, and Unlimited Extra. On 24 April 2015 it revised its packages as follows (alongside additional unicast streaming bolt-ons for Netflix, BT Kids and BT Music, and multicast IPTV bolt-ons for Sky Sports and Movies):[32]

  • Starter – Freeview, Catch Up TV, BT Sport, AMC, Pause & Rewind (Set Top Box supplied does not record)
  • Entertainment Plus – As per Starter plus with ability to Record TV, 28 linear IPTV channels and Mobile App access to IPTV
  • Total Entertainment – As per Entertainment Plus with inclusive Ultra HD, HD Extra and Kids Extra bolt ons

The American AMC channel launched for the first time in the UK exclusively for BT customers on 28 August 2015 and was also available to order free of charge on all EE TV packages and to Sky TV customers who also subscribe to the BT Sports Pack.[33] In June 2018 it was announced that Amazon Prime Video would be available through BT TV,[34] followed by Now TV in April 2020.[35]

In 2022, BT TV kicked off the transition of going fully IPTV with its aerial-based Freeview channels starting to be offered via broadband, which is called "Internet Mode" on the new set-top boxes. Both rivals Sky and Virgin Media had at the time also launched full IPTV services called Stream[36]

EE TV rebrand

In October 2023, it was announced that the service would be renamed to EE TV by December, adapting EE's logo and name.[37] It is not to be confused with a previous service under the same name that was launched by EE in 2014.[38] Along with the rebrand, Apple TV+ was launched on EE TV.[39]

Available channels

The following is a list of live TV channels[40] on the EE TV platforms with their EPG numbers, correct as of 11 February 2024. All channels are offered to the viewer via IPTV with the relevant subscription from EE TV:

NOW Entertainment Pass
Asian Mix
NOW Entertainment Pass - HD & 4K bolt-on
Big Sport (NOW Sky Sports Pass)
Big Sport (NOW Sky Sports Pass) - HD & 4K bolt-on
Sport Pack
Sport Pack - HD & 4K bolt-on
Sky Cinema bolt-on/NOW Sky Cinema Pass[29]
NOW Sky Cinema Pass - HD & 4K bolt-on
Box Office
Britbox bolt-on
Netflix bolt-on
Amazon Prime bolt-on

Hardware

The very first BT Vision PVR (personal video recorder) in 2007, dubbed the "V Box" and combining IPTV and DTT, with a 160GB hard disk was grey and was initially made by Philips. The box can also access standard definition Freeview broadcasts where available.[41] Similar to Sky+ and V+ it enabled 80 hours of television programmes to be recorded while watching other live programmes. It was announced in 2008 that Motorola would be the new supplier of the boxes.[42][43]

The next generation shiny black Vision+ box was made by Pace and released in 2009.[44] The original silver Vision+ boxes were of no use as of 30 June 2014; all customers received a free upgrade to YouView, worth £199, if they recontracted for 18 months. Users of the black Vision+ boxes were unaffected.[45]

BT released a Humax set top box (DTR-T1000) in late 2012 offering Freeview HD services, linear VOD HD channels through BT Infinity, and on-demand boxsets, catchup TV and other new features as part of the newly launched YouView service.[46] As of February 2024, these old boxes are no longer supported and cannot access internet-based content.[47] A new upgraded and fanless box YouView+ (Humas DTR-2100) launched in early 2014.[48]

In 2017, the BT YouView+ Ultra HD box (technically a Humax HDR-T4000) was launched as part of the new generation of PVR set-top boxes, competing against its rivals's offerings namely Sky Q and the Virgin V6 box.[49] In 2021, the TV Box Pro was launched which added Wi-Fi and HDR support. It has 1 TB of storage, double that of its predecessor.[50] Following rebranding to EE TV, it is currently offering the EE TV Box Pro (a PVR), EE TV Box Mini (without recording capabilities), and it has also launched EE TV as an app for the Apple TV 4K.[51]

References

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  4. ^ Hi-tech world assesses BT Vision, BBC new report, 6 December 2006. Retrieved 2 June 2007.
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  34. ^ "StackPath". www.choose.co.uk.
  35. ^ "BT announces new range of TV packages with Now TV, Netflix, Sky Sports and more". 3 April 2020.
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  38. ^ Sweney, Mark (7 October 2014). "EE to launch TV set-top box". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 23 May 2024.
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External links

This page was last edited on 3 June 2024, at 12:32
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