BT sets broadband launch for Dec. 4

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LONDON -- British Telecom on Monday said it will launch its broadband television service BT Vision on Dec. 4, but declined to give pricing details.

The former state telecom's long-awaited move into home entertainment will combine a Freeview set-top box that provides access to about 30 television and radio channels, high-speed Internet and a digital video recorder.

BT has signed content deals with about 20 suppliers and is targeting the 25% of British homes that have no digital services as well as existing homes that want to upgrade the remainder of their television sets to digital viewing.

BT is late to enter a market where digital television rivals BSkyB, Freeview and NTL already have a presence in 18 of the U.K.'s 25 million television homes.

But the former state telecom believes that second and third television sets in many homes can be converted to digital cheaply via BT Vision.

BT Vision already has signed content deals with the likes of DreamWorks, Eagle Rock, BBC Worldwide, Channel 4, Paramount, Warner Music Group, National Geographic Channel, Sony BMG, Viacom and Turner Broadcasting, among others.

In addition, BT Vision has announced "near-live" broadcast of FA Premier League matches during the 2007 and 2008 seasons.
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