UK digital communications company EE is to become a quad-play operator with the launch of EE TV, which it describes as the UK’s most advanced TV service. According to the company, EE TV puts mobile at the heart of the TV experience, and works seamlessly with home TVs, tablets and smartphones, allowing customers to access the best of live and recorded Freeview, On Demand and Catch up across multiple devices simultaneously.
The move pitches the operator in competition with fellow telcos BT and TalkTalk, which have IPTV platform YouView at the heart of their TV strategy, while it will also be up against the bundled packages of BSkyB’s digital satellite based quad-play and cable operator Virgin Media.
EE says the growing availability of sophisticated tablets and smartphones, and the introduction of 4G across the UK, has fundamentally changed the way consumers enjoy TV. Video content today makes up more than 50 per cent of EE’s 4G mobile network activity. Based on the experience gained from running the UK’s most advanced 4G and home broadband network, EE has developed what it describes as “a truly integrated mobile and home TV service”. EE TV will allow viewers to watch their favourite 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.
Suggesting that EE TV is launching as the most advanced TV service for the home, EE says that in the future, EE TV will allow customers to enjoy their favourite TV content on the go, using EE’s 4G network, which it claims is the biggest and fastest in the UK.
Olaf Swantee, CEO, EE, said that as the UK’s biggest and fastest network, with more than 25 million customers, the company had “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. With EE TV, not only can you watch different streams of live and recorded content, on multiple screens simultaneously, but your mobile becomes the remote. This gives each viewer the chance to watch, queue and view what they want, when they want. It’s a completely new way to enjoy your favourite programmes, films and Internet content.” he added.
EE TV is accessed via what EE calls a powerful and advanced set- topbox, 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.
In addition to Freeview HD 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.The platform will include an ever growing range of content applications, building on the HbbTV IPTV open standard.
The EE TV smart box, worth £300, will be free for all EE mobile customers who sign up to an EE Broadband plan. Eligible plans start from just £9.95 per month and include free weekend calls and unlimited Broadband with speeds of up to 17Mbps. For those who want extra speed, Unlimited Fibre Broadband (up to 38Mbps) and Fibre Plus (up to 76Mbps) are available for just £19.95 and £29.95* per month respectively.
EE TV will be compatible with all UK digital TV sets, offering EE customers what the company says is “the best value home broadband, TV and home phone service”. EE TV will be exclusively available in EE retail stores within the coming weeks.