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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: May 25, 2012 @ 12:55 pm

    UPC’s on-demand service goes live

    Ciara O'Brien

    If you are a UPC customer, you may have heard a bit about the on-demand service that the company is rolling out across the country.

    The new service kicks in from today for the company’s Dublin-based digital TV customers, with Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford following in July. By the end of the summer, 600,000 customers will have access to the new service.

    Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

    At the launch earlier this week, UPC roped in Simon Delaney, Michelle Keegan, Dave Fanning, Martin King and Ciara O’Callaghan to promote the new service.

    So what exactly is it? That depends on your UPC subscription. At the basic package, customers have access to catch-up services from RTE and TV3, with TG4 set to follow.

    RTE Player and 3Player may already be available free of charge to everyone, but the UPC plan is different for two reasons. First of all, you don’t need another device to access the content. No PC, no iPad, no games console. Just your regular set-up. Secondly, because it comes through your digital box, you don’t need to use your broadband connection. So if your internet connection is a little on the slow side, or subject to a cap, it’s no longer an issue.

    Moving up to the Select and Max packages, you get on-demand content from other channels, including box sets of shows such as The Good Wife, Blue Bloods and The Royal Family, with shows such as Dexter promised soon.

    All digital TV customers, regardless of subscription, can rent movies through their set-top box. You’re looking  at about €5 for new releases and €2 for library titles. If you want the HD versions, add on €1 and 50 cent respectively. The charges are added to your UPC bill, so there’s no credit cards to worry about.

    It’s a direct shot across the bow of services such as Netflix, which have a monthly subscription. And with the movie rentals open to all customers, it’ll also eat into the DVD rentals business in a way that Netflix – which doesn’t offer new releases – can’t.

    But would it be enough for you to give up your Sky subscription?