BBC, ITV, BT team up for broadband STBs

The BBC and ITV are to work with BT on developing a common standard for the delivery of video on demand to digital TV set top boxes over broadband.

The plans, which are subject to the usual public consulation and approval processes of the BBC Trust, would result in the development of "a common industry approach and consumer offer" to bring products such as iPlayer and ITV catch-up to set top boxes.

"This proposal will bringcatch-up from the PC to the TV set in your living room, and all for free," said ITV executive chairman Michael Grade. "This makes convergence a reality. It will also future-proof our free-to-air platforms, Freeview and Freesat. We are delighted to be working with the BBC, BT and other ISPs to bring this idea to fruition for viewers."

The consumer offer would draw together content from a "wide range" of providers to be promoted by broadcasters and internet service providers. The triumvirate hopes to "involve a wider group of partners by launch".

"Audiences tell us that they want more services through their television set," said BBC director-general Mark Thompson. "I am pleased that the BBC is working with industry partners such as device manufacturers, ISPs and other content providers on proposals which will bring real benefits for consumers. We are building on a history of collaborating with and supporting the industry in research and development which includes NICAM stereo, Teletext and Freeview."