BT has confirmed a major move into Europe's digital media market, revealing plans to offer combined digital television, video on demand, music, and other interactive services over its network, starting in summer/autumn 2006.

The service will be available through a Philips HD TV-capable set top box, which will be available at no subscription fee. The set top box will store up to 80 hours of programming. Trials begin in spring, the company said.

BT promises the following features when the service launches, or shortly after: entertainment on demand – an extensive library of movies, TV and music; Catch-up TV – programmes from the previous seven days on demand; opver 30 digital terrestrial TV channels; instant messaging, chat and video telephony on TV; and a selection of online games, retail opportunities and community services.

Ian Livingston, BT Retail CEO said: "Our services will be a world first and will place power in the hands of the viewer. No longer will BT customers be reliant on TV schedules. From next year, they will be able to watch what they like when they like."