Rebecca Hawkes ©RapidTVNews | 18-09-2011

Bahrain’s state-owned telecommunications operator Batelco is launching internet protocol television (IPTV) in the Gulf Kingdom – beginning this week in newly developed Reef Island on the northern shore of Manama.

“The delivery of digital television channels via our broadband lines enables Batelco to offer superb advanced interactive services with a wide range of channels and additional benefits including video on demand in full high definition,” Rashid Abdulla, chief executive, Batelco is quoted as saying by Trade Arabia.

Batelco was granted approval to launch an IPTV service over optical fibre optic by the Gulf Kingdom’s telecommunications regulator TRA Bahrain in August, and has since been conducting trials with Selevision.

The telco plans to roll out the IPTV service to further areas of Bahrain, in a breakthrough it considers will ‘change customers’ life styles when it comes to watching television’.

A comprehensive package of channels will reportedly be available via IPTV including pay-TV bouquets from OSN and Abu Dhabi Sports – which holds the Middle East rights to the English Premier League - along with a range of free to air options. A library of over 200 titles, encompassing films, TV series and documentaries, will also be available to viewers on demand.

“With IPTV, Batelco will offer high quality entertainment to Bahrain’s residents,” Mr Abdulla is quoted as saying. “Whether you are a sports fan, a movie buff or hooked on series or 24 hour news from around the world, our broadband IPTV service is certain to meet your very specific demands.”

IPTV services are already available in a number of other Gulf Cooperation Council countries, including Qatar’s Mosaic service operated by Qtel, and in the UAE with the competing du TV and Etisalat e-Life IPTV services.