EE TV to offer more than 70 free channels, as well as on-demand and catch-up services; customers will also be able to continue to watch programmes on their mobile or tablet
EE has launched its own set-top box this morning in a move seen as keeping pace with telecoms rivals such as BT and TalkTalk in the quad-play sector.
EE TV, which has been a year in development, was unveiled by CEO Olaf Swantee this morning at the company’s head offices in Paddington, London.
It will offer more than 70 Freeview channels, as well as on-demand, catch-up services and major video apps, including DailyMotion, YouTube, BBC iPlayer, Demand 5 and film and TV partner Wuaki.tv.
EE said further partners are confirmed for the service, and will be announced in the coming months. Internet applications including BBC Sport and BBC News and The Weather Network will also be available at launch.
Customers will be able to record 600 hours of television programming, which EE claimed is twice as many as its rivals.
EE TV also comes with a range of features. ‘Multiscreen’ allows users to stream live and recorded content directly from the set-top box’s hard drive using a new remote app for iOS and Android. Up to four devices, including the home TV, tablets and smartphones, can stream different content at any one time.
‘Replay’ enables users to view the last 24 hours of TV from their favourite channels, and presents shows by genres or channels. The UI also highlights top picks for the day.
‘MultiRecord’ allows for up to four separate programmes to be recorded simultaneously. They are stored on the EE TV box, which offers space of up to 25 days of TV content.
The EE TV app lets viewers use their mobile or tablet as a touch remote. It allows them to navigate the programme guide and choose what they want to watch on their device without interrupting what is being shown on their TV screen. With an upward flick, they can transfer this to their TV screen.
The set-top box is made by French company Netgem, which is already in partnership with Orange. It has four HD tuners, a 1TB hard drive and dual-band WiFi.
According to Netgem’s website, the system lets up to four devices stream four different programmes simultaneously, and also record four programmes at the same time.
EE TV, which is compatible with all UK digital TV sets and only available to the operator’s own customers, will be available shortly throughout its 600 plus retail stores across the UK.
The EE TV set-top box, worth £300, will be free for all EE mobile customers who sign up to one of its broadband plans. Tariffs across an 18 month contracts, plus £15.75 a month line rental, start from £9.95 a month and include free weekend calls and unlimited broadband speeds of up to 17Mbps.
Ultra Fibre Broadband (up to 38Mbps) and Fibre Plus (up to 76Mbps) are available for £19.95 and £29.95 a month respectively.
Customers on existing EE mobile contracts who sign up to EE TV and home broadband will have their 4G data allowance boosted. A data boost of up to 10GB is available ion contracts from £14.99 a month, with a 20GB data boost available on plans from £43.99.
EE CEO Olaf Swantee (pictured this morning at the launch event) said: “EE stands for innovation. We are very proud of what we have done and will take it further into the category of home. Today we are taking EE somewhere completely new with EE TV, a new TV experience.
“People are spending less time with their families in front of a single screen. Long nights in front of one screen are ending.
“We believe based on these trends it’s time for a new era, with absolute flexibility, multi screen and true value for money with mobile at the heart of the experience.”
EE chief marketing officer for brand and consumer Pippa Dunn added: “EE TV has all the things you’d want and more. You never have to worry about arguments over the TV schedule again. ”
“Your phone becomes the remote control – the ‘digital remote’. We are bringing about a new era as you can now wave goodbye to the TV remote.”