New HomeChoice Service Launches

The HomeChoice set top boxVideo Networks have launched the latest iteration of their HomeChoice service, available in the UK from 1st June.

The basic package includes 1mb of broadband (capped at 1gb per day downloaded – about 20,000 light web pages or 200 mp3s), more than 60 TV channels and a video on demand service. Films available on the on-demand service cost between £0.99 and £3.50 (€1.47 to €5.19) for the standard 24 hour rental.

The TV channels available are an extension of the standard Freeview fair, and include channels unavailable on Freeview such as E4, Discovery, CNBC Europe, UKTV Style and UKTV Gold. The are also some music offerings exclusive to Video Networks such as V:MX Hits and V:MX Dance. Interestingly, the service carries Club Zebra – a sort of exercise on demand (EOD – you heard it here first) channel where you can interact with keep fit and health programming.

The broadband component of the service can be upgraded to 2mb for an additional £15 (€22.26) per month – this takes the download cap to 45gb a month. The HomeChoice box comes with an Ethernet port in the back for connecting to your home network, but a rather smart wireless option is available for an extra £125 (€185.53). Including an Ethernet port makes the service a true competitor to existing broadband services. Beforehand, HomeChoice was really “VOD with broadband”, as the broadband connection from the box was USB: this iteration is more “broadband with VOD and content”, a much richer and flexible offering.The service is initially launching in West London to those with a BT phone line.



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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?