BT today launched BT Vision, its next-generation television service.

The service combines TV with the interactive BT broadband service. Customers can watch what they want when they want and not be tied to TV schedules. The service doesn't require a regular monthly subscription.

Customers can access an extensive library of on-demand content using their broadband connection and will also receive more than 40 Freeview channels through their aerial.

The service reaches end users through a new set-top box, the V-box. This contains an HD-ready personal video recorder (PVR) able to store up to 80 hours of content, which will pause or rewind live TV and record programmes.

BT Vision also features a “Replay TV” feature, which lets viewers catch up on some broadcast shows they may have missed out on.

The £199 V-box will be distributed free to existing and new customers who sign up to a new contract with BT Total Broadband. The box will be installed by a BT engineer. There will be an installation fee of £60 and a connection charge of £30. BT will introduce a self-install version of BT Vision next year.

In the summer of 2007, BT Vision Sport customers will have access to the Setanta Sport channel. They will also have access to the 242 “near live” on-demand FA Premiership games secured by BT earlier this year. Three quarters of all FA Premiership games will be available in full to BT Vision Sport customers.

BT Vision requires no subscription or minimum monthly payment. Customers can subscribe to genres of content should they wish or pay as they go. Movies will be available on a pay-per-view basis with current titles offered at lower prices than satellite, cable and high street video chains.

From 2007, the service will use broadband to deliver more special interest programming and there will be new interactive services. BT Vision will also provide a platform for user-generated content.

Existing BT Total Broadband customers will be the first to experience BT Vision, beginning with those who pre-registered their interest earlier this year.