Monday, June 19, 2006

Bravo Telewest!

First of all, a disclosure, Telewest has been a leading Narrowstep client for some time with its pioneering blueyonder tv service.

I recently took delivery of their new DVR product, TV Drive and it's possibly the best of its kind that I've come across and certainly gives TiVO and Sky Plus a run for their money.

You can record two programmes whilst playing back a third and selecting record is a single click operation, including in their new HD service launched in time for the World Cup.

You can also copy programmes from the internal hard drives, unlike the Sky + box, so you can back them up to DVD or carry them around on your PVR.

My only criticism is that it's a rather large box.

Telewest has been a pioneer in delivering technology over their cable network - you can already watch dedicated channels over broadband, they're had 8Mbps broadband (which is very, very reliable and not highly contended) for ages and even gave me a free upgrade to a 2Mbps line from my previous 1Mbps line.

You can watch a load of on demand video and any BBC programmes you missed using their Teleport service and there's a huge number of videos available on demand.

In fact, my only overall criticism is that they don't carry as many channels as Sky, and particularly don't carry the regional feeds that Sky carries (largely because their 'digital stack' is full).

This highlights a problem facing many cable companies, who will have to turn to broadband for the delivery of additional and specialist channels in future.

The next step? Integration of the EPG for your HD, TV and broadband TV services.

I only hope that as Telewest enters the mega-merger with rival cable company, NTL and mobile operator, Virgin, that this level of innovation continues.

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