BT has announced plans with consumer electronics giant Philips to launch a set-top box that will allow customers to watch on demand television via a broadband connection.

Every set top box will include a personal video recorder (PVR) capable of storing up to 80 hours of programming and capable of delivering High Definition content. The BT-Philips partnership builds on the recently announced alliance with Microsoft, which will provide Microsoft TV IPTV (Internet Protocol TV) Edition as the software platform for BT's TV over broadband service.

BT is planning to offer these services across the UK from late summer / autumn 2006 with trials will begin next spring / early summer.

BT's next generation TV service will be available to BT customers without the need for a subscription fee.

Ian Livingston, chief executive BT Retail said today: “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. This is all about giving our customers choice, convenience and control.

“We see next generation TV as a vital element of our vision for home entertainment. Our catch-up TV offering will also allow people to watch programmes they may have missed but wanted to see.