British Digital Broadcasting's set-top box

4th November 1997

British Digital Broadcasting (BDB) is today inviting manufacturers to tender for substantial initial orders for its set-top box.

BDB specified the box in co-operation with all the other digital terrestrial broadcasters - the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Teletext and S4C. It will give viewers the choice of an exciting line up of channels in widescreen format with clearer, sharper pictures and CD quality sound - all without a dish or cable.

BDB will be offering the best of British television - a package of at least 12 basic channels from Carlton, Granada and BBC/Flextech, plus movies and sports programmes from BSkyB. BDB's box will be easy to use. To receive BDB's channels, viewers will just insert a smart card into the box, ring BDB and begin to subscribe. If BDB chooses to screen "pay per view" films and events, viewers will be able to select and pay for them using their remote control.

It will be simple for viewers to discover the programmes on now and next thanks to the box's on-screen programme guide. This will show viewers what is on other channels and what is on next, without interrupting their viewing. The box will also receive new digital services from Ceefax and Teletext, with improved pictures and graphics, faster speed of access and extensive programme information to supplement the on-screen programme guide.

Nigel Walmsley, Director of British Digital Broadcasting, said:

"Today's announcement is a further milestone for BDB. This box shows the potential that digital terrestrial television offers - at least thirty channels and attractive new features, all delivered through existing aerials.
"In time, receivers will be built into televisions. Several major television manufacturers have said that they plan to introduce integrated widescreen digital television sets, based on this specification when digital terrestrial television launches.
"The co-operation in designing this box demonstrates the confidence of all Britain's leading broadcasters in digital terrestrial television. We are on track for a successful launch."