Thursday, 13 January 2011 08:45

BigPond TV delivering direct to TVs


If the extra digital TV channels such as 11 still don't give you enough choice or aren't to your taste, seven BigPond TV channels are now available via the Internet on certain Samsung (and soon LG) TVs.

A growing number of home entertainment devices such as TVs are capable of connecting to the Internet, but instead of providing a generalised facility they rely on special deals between the manufacturer and the content provider. For instance, LG TV owners have access to a subset of the shows available on Yahoo!7's Plus7 catch-up service, not the full range that can be enjoyed via a web browser.

The latest example is the availability of seven channels from BigPond TV on certain Samsung and LG TVs and related devices. For Samsung owners, the channels are 24/7 news, AFL, NRL, V8 Supercars, 24/7 BigPond Sports News, live horse racing from Sydney and Melbourne, and the BPM music channel.

Supported models are the UAxxC6900, UAxxC7000, UAxxC8000, UAxxC9000, LAxxC650, PS50C550, PSxxC6500 and PSxxC7000 TVs; BD-C5900, BD-C6500, BD-C6900, BD-C800, BD-C8900 Blu-ray players; and HT-C6950W and HT-C655W home theatre systems.

The news is technically interesting because according to Telstra officials it represents the world's first use of the Widevine technology to automatically and adaptively deliver the bitrate to suit the bandwidth available at the device. This is intended to eliminate interruptions while the stream is rebuffered. (A similar technology is available in Microsoft's Silverlight and Windows Media.)

"Launching BigPond TV direct to Samsung devices over the internet using Widevine's adaptive streaming technology is a world first," said Ben Kinealy, head of Telstra IPTV.

BigPond TV will soon be available on other brands, starting with LG. See page 2.


The service is unmetered for most BigPond customers, and there is no charge for the content. Customers of other ISPs would need to consider the effect that the streams would have on their total data consumption, such as excess data charges or throttling. A minimum data speed of 3.5MBps is required.

While the service is initially available only on Samsung and Telstra's T-Box, other manufacturers are getting onboard. LG has announced that BigPond's seven channels will be available on its TVs with the NetCast feature in the coming weeks.

"LG recognises that Australians want greater home entertainment choices and with the launch of BigPond TV, LG customers will hold an empowered viewing experience in the palm of their hands," said Tim Barnes, senior marketing manager, home entertainment at LG Electronics. Presumably he's talking about the remote control rather than a 47in TV.

LG was the first TV manufacturer to support the BigPond Movies service when it launched in May 2010.

"Telstra continues to lead the growth of IPTV in Australia," said Kinealy. "[W]e are expanding the choice for our IPTV audience. News, sport and entertainment available subscription free, and unmetered for most BigPond broadband customers." The exclusions are those on dial-up, satellite, hourly plans, or international roaming.


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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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