EE enters UK TV market
| 09 October 2014
In a move that could transform the UK's TV market, mobile operator Everything Everywhere (EE) has unveiled plans for a TV service.
EE TV - Tablet 2The move will see EE confront head-on not just cable and satellite firms such as BSkyB and Virgin Media but more particularly incumbent telco BT which is set to make an imminent return to the world of mobile.
That said, in form the new EE TV will be akin to the IPTV offering of UK ISP TalkTalk which acts as an aggregator of content rather than a commissioner of premium content, which BT increasingly has become. EE says that the new service will put mobile at the heart of the TV experience – indeed video content today makes up more than half of EE's 4G mobile network activity.
In addition to the Freeview HD DTT service with more than 70 live channels, EE TV will launch with a number of popular TV catch-up and on-demand services as well as the major video apps, including Daily Motion, YouTube, BBC iPlayer, Demand 5 and film and TV partner Wuaki.tv. Further partners are already confirmed to join the service and will be announced in the coming months. Major Internet video applications including BBC Sport and BBC News, DailyMotion, YouTube and The Weather Network will also be available at launch. Very interestingly, the platform will also include a range of content applications, building on the international standard for interactive TV, HbbTV, a standard that hitherto has been ignored by other British operators.
EE TV will be accessed via a set-top box developed to mimic the simplicity of a smartphone user interface (UI) – both in terms of content access and services that allow users to catch up with their favourite TV shows. The UI provides live windows that offer access to a visual live menu, including the TV guide, recorded content and on-demand services.
Furthermore the service is said to be able to work 'seamlessly' with home TVs, tablets and smartphones, allowing customers to access live and recorded, on-demand and catch-up content across multiple devices simultaneously. Specifically EE TV will allow viewers to programmes on their home TV, as well as on up to three smartphones or tablets simultaneously, anywhere in the home, meaning four different programmes, in four different rooms, on four different devices all at the same time.
Commenting on the launch, EE CEO Olaf Swantee said: "Today we're announcing the most advanced TV service the UK has ever seen. How, where and when people watch TV and movies is changing, and mobile technology is driving that change ... As the UK's biggest and fastest network, with more than 25 million customers, we have unrivalled insight into people's changing viewing habits. It's helped us create a service that has mobile at its heart, and makes the TV experience more personal than ever before."