MEDIA: BBC trials personal video service technology gear

The BBC is exploring the creation of an all-BBC-based personal

video service using computer hard drive technology.

A personal video recorder recently developed by German company AXCent

and its UK subsidiary AXTechnology will be adapted to link together all

BBC TV content, including terrestrial and digital channels, as a trial


Personal Video Recorders (PVRs), such as the TiVO system recently

released in the UK, take advantage of the size of hard drives to allow

viewers to record programmes without the hassle of tape. Up to 40 hours

of programmes can be stored on 40 gig hard drives.

Interfaces make it easy to find specific programmes from within the

range of digital TV content currently available, and allow easy


AXTechnology's MediaTV recorder combines the features of a digital

satellite receiver with those of a digital hard disc recorder.

It is being marketed in Germany under the Grundig brand and is due to

launch in the UK later this year.

Vicky Burke, BBC project manager (personal television), stressed the

agreement was for a technical trial only: 'We're not planning on making

this service commercially available,' she said.

'This is an evolving technology which will change the way people watch

TV. We have to keep our fingers in as many pies as possible,' she


The BBC hopes to have the technology ready for the IBC technology show

in Amsterdam in September.

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