BT Vision to embrace Freeview HD

BT have Vision of the future
BT have Vision of the future

On demand TV platform BT Vision has confirmed that a future generation of its V-box will be able to receive Freeview HD channels.

Speaking to TechRadar, BT's Head of Programming, Michael Barry, revealed that work is in progress, although no firm date has been announced.

"BT Vision are working on a Freeview HD compatible box," said Barry, "however, we don't currently have a date for launch."

Freeview HD broadcasts will begin rollout next month though only the Granada region and London will be able to receive channels before Christmas.

To receive HD channels consumers will need set-top boxes with DVB-T2 tuners, though none are expected to go on sale until 2010.

Broadband customers

BT Vision is only available to BT Total Broadband customers and all of its video on demand content (which includes new and classic films, US TV box sets and kids TV) is delivered via broadband.

"High definition is challenging for us because of the bandwidth," Barry told us. "We're focused on blockbuster films and the key TV genres that really benefit from HD, such as wildlife programmes, which have to be downloaded over a few hours before they can be played.

"We are constantly looking at ways of improving compression of HD, but BT has begun its roll-out of a new fibre-optic network." One of the main reasons for the new network, Barry told us, is for delivering HD content. "Our next generation V-box is coming soon and will be able to handle HD," he said.

It's likely that dedicated Freeview HD set-top boxes will also feature broadband connectivity and full access to the BBC's iPlayer. Although BT Vision already includes a 'catch-up' service from the BBC, it doesn't have access to iPlayer.

Jamie Carter

Jamie is a freelance tech, travel and space journalist based in the UK. He’s been writing regularly for Techradar since it was launched in 2008 and also writes regularly for Forbes, The Telegraph, the South China Morning Post, Sky & Telescope and the Sky At Night magazine as well as other Future titles T3, Digital Camera World, All About Space and He also edits two of his own websites, and that reflect his obsession with travel gear and solar eclipse travel. He is the author of A Stargazing Program For Beginners (Springer, 2015),