EE launches home TV service to take on BT, Sky and Virgin

EE has launched a new home TV service as part of efforts by the UK operator to encourage further take-up of its home broadband service, as the battle for fixed and mobile subscribers focuses increasingly on the home.

EE, which offers LTE-based mobile services for smartphones, tablets and laptops as well as fixed broadband, has unveiled EE TV--a set-top box (STB) service that allows TV to be viewed on home televisions, tablets and smartphones. EE TV is offered free with EE's home broadband and landline packages, and starts from £9.95 (€12.6) per month for existing EE mobile customers.

The move comes ahead of plans by BT--which has invested heavily in its home TV and broadband services--to enter the UK consumer mobile market. By adding home TV to its service mix and moving closer to becoming a "quad-play" provider (mobile services plus fixed voice/TV/broadband in one bundle), EE is positioning itself to compete with existing pay-TV providers such as BT, Virgin Media and Sky as well as with rival mobile network operators.

In terms of content, more than 70 Freeview HD live channels will be available as well as TV catch-up and on-demand services, including Daily Motion, YouTube, BBC iPlayer, Demand 5 and film and TV partner Wuaki.tv.

Further partners will be announced in the coming months, EE added. In future, there are also plans to make the service available outside the home using the operator's LTE network.

What's more, smartphones and tablets will be turned into smart remote control devices that allow users to watch and control live and recorded programmes from the EE TV Box.

"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," said EE CEO Olaf Swantee.

In detail, EE TV is accessed via a TV box that has been developed to mimic a smartphone user interface (UI) both in terms of content access and services. The UI provides live windows that enable access to a visual live menu, including the TV guide, recorded content and on-demand services.

Other features of EE TV include multi-screen access, 24-hour replay of TV programmes, the recording of up to four separate programmes simultaneously on the 1 TB hard disk drive included in the EE TV Box, and an EE TV app.

For more:
- see the EE release

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