UK mobile operator EE today announced EE TV, a new set-top box that will connect consumers to over 70 Freeview channels, catch-up and on-demand services, as well as sporting DVR functionality. The 1TB box is a new path for EE to offer a more complete package for families in the UK, and to attract more consumers to the company's broadband packages..
Much like competitor products already available, EE TV can record multiple channels simultaneously (up to a total of four), allowing users to store 25 days' worth of content. That's not all as EE, being a mobile operator, is looking to include smartphones and tablets into the mix. This means those with compatible devices on the home Wi-Fi network will be able to stream content from EE TV to smaller screens.
The app is available for iOS and Android and can also be used as the remote control, much like Xbox SmartGlass for Microsoft's gaming console. A neat feature of the EE TV set-top box is the ability to pause on one device and resume from another. The only downside to the product is that it's only available to EE mobile customers who sign up to an EE broadband plan, setting those interested back by at least £9.95 a month (plus £15.75 line rental).
EE TV will be available "in the coming weeks".
8th October. London. EE, the UK's most advanced digital communications company, unveils EE TV, the UK's most advanced TV service. EE TV puts mobile at the heart of the TV experience, and works seamlessly with home TVs, tablets and smartphones, allowing customers to access the best of live and recorded Freeview, On Demand and Catch up across multiple devices simultaneously.
The growing availability of sophisticated tablets and smartphones, and the introduction of 4G across the UK, has fundamentally changed the way consumers enjoy TV. Video content today makes up more than 50% of EE's 4G mobile network activity.
Based on the experience gained from running the UK's most advanced 4G and home broadband network, EE has developed a truly integrated mobile and home TV service. EE TV will allow viewers to watch their favourite programmes on their home TV, as well as on up to three smartphones or tablets simultaneously, anywhere in the home, meaning four different programmes, in four different rooms, on four different devices all at the same time.
EE TV launches as the most advanced TV service for the home. In the future, however, EE TV will allow customers to enjoy their favourite TV content on the go, using EE's 4G network - the biggest and fastest in the UK.
Olaf Swantee, CEO, EE, said: "Today we're announcing the most advanced TV service the UK has ever seen. How, where and when people watch TV and movies is changing, and mobile technology is driving that change.
"As the UK's biggest and fastest network, with more than 25 million customers, we have unrivalled insight into people's changing viewing habits. It's helped us create a service that has mobile at its heart, and makes the TV experience more personal than ever before.
"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."
EE TV is accessed via a powerful and advanced TV box, developed to mimic the simplicity of a smartphone user interface (UI) - both in terms of content access and services that allow users to catch up with their favourite TV shows. The dynamic and innovative UI provides live windows that enable instant and easy access to a visual live menu, including the TV guide, recorded content and on-demand services.
Designed by EE to deliver TV as it should be, the EE TV smart box comes with a variety of market-leading features:
Multiscreen: Designed to make programme clashes a thing of the past, Multiscreen allows users to stream live and recorded content directly from the EE TV 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, ensuring all members of the family can remotely access their favourite live and recorded shows over the same home network, in different rooms, even if they can't get access to the main TV set.
Replay: Allows the customers to view the last 24 hours of TV from their favourite channels, and presents the shows in a simple way by genres or channels – ideal for those who arrive home late or want to watch a programme not available on catch-up TV. The innovative UI also highlights top picks for the day, ensuring viewers never miss a thing.
MultiRecord: Specifically designed for moments when scheduled recordings clash, MultiRecord will allow up to four separate programmes to be recorded simultaneously. Programmes are stored directly on the EE TV box, thanks to its huge 1TB hard disk drive, which offers space for up to 25 days of TV content.
The EE TV app enables viewers to use their tablet or mobile as a next-generation touch remote. The app allows users to navigate EE TV's programme guide and select the content they want to watch on their mobile device without interrupting what's being displayed on their TV screen. Then, with a simple upward Flick, the content they're watching can be instantly transferred to their TV screen, making changing channels more natural than ever before.
In addition to Freeview HD with more than 70 live channels, EE TV will launch with a number of popular TV catch-up and on-demand services as well as the major video apps, including Daily Motion, YouTube, BBC iPlayer, Demand 5 and film and TV partner Wuaki.tv. Further partners are already confirmed to join the service, and will be announced in the coming months. Major Internet video applications including BBC Sport and BBC News, DailyMotion, YouTube and The Weather Network will also be available at launch.
The platform will include an ever growing range of content applications, building on the international standard for interactive TV, Hbb-TV.
For added peace of mind, EE TV also makes it easy to set parental controls, allowing users to restrict content which is deemed inappropriate for younger members of the household.
The EE TV smart box, worth £300, will be free for all EE mobile customers who sign up to an EE Broadband plan. Eligible plans start from just £9.95* per month and include free weekend calls and unlimited Broadband with speeds of up to 17Mbps. For those who want extra speed, Unlimited Fibre Broadband (up to 38Mbps) and Fibre Plus (up to 76Mbps) are available for just £19.95* and £29.95* per month respectively.
Those customers on existing pay monthly mobile plans** who sign up for EE TV and home broadband will also receive a huge boost to their 4G data allowance, increasing to 10GB or 20GB depending on their plan. The data boost is also compatible with Shared plans so customers can divide their boost among friends and family.
EE TV will be compatible with all UK digital TV sets, offering EE customers the best value home broadband, TV and home phone service. EE TV will be exclusively available in EE retail stores within the coming weeks. Consumers who would like to hear more about the new service can register their interest at www.ee.co.uk/eetv.