UPC to offer on-demand services


UPC will bring on-demand TV to its digital customers from Friday, the company said today.

The new service, which will be rolled out on a phased basis, will bring TV catchup services, series box sets and movie rentals to customers through their digital set-top boxes.

The company said its new service would give customers access to the RTÉ Player and 3 player as well as additional content such as popular television series like The Good Wife and Dexter.

Access to ITV, BBC and US box sets as well as content from MGM, True Movies, Food Network, History and Discovery Channel will be available with further new programmes and content being added in the weeks ahead.

In addition, a movies on-demand service will be availableto all digital TV customers.

Movie rentals will attract a fee, ranging in price from €4.99 for new releases (€5.99 for HD versions) to €1.99 for library titles (€2.49 for HD).

UPC said films will be available to rent at the same time as they become available on DVD.

On-demand TV will be rolled out to Dublin customers this week; Galway, Cork, Limerick and Waterford will follow at the end of July.

Customers on UPC’s basic digital package will have access to the TV3 and RTÉ catchup services through the UPC set-top box, with TG4 set to follow suit soon.

Those on the more expensive digital packages – Select and Max – will also be able to watch TV box sets from ITV, BBC and US channels free of charge. There will be about 1,300 hours of programming available to customers, UPC said.

Unlike subscriptions services such as Netflix, the PC service will not require a broadband connection for access.

Describing the service as a “game changer”, UPC chief executive Dana Strong said the investment was the beginning of the company’s push to bring new products and services to its customers, building on its €500 million investment in its fibre network here.

“We’re bringing innovation to TV for Ireland,” she said. “We’re here because of the investment UPC has put into the ground and into customers homes with its fibre power. We’re also here after many, many months of building the service and content negotiations, and it really is a ground breaking and unique service that only UPC can offer.”

Netflix, a US provider of online TV and movie streaming services that started services locally in January, recently said it had made a positive start in Ireland and the United Kingdom.

The US-based company’s Irish site offers films and TV programmes from a range of stations, including the BBC, Channel 4 and ITV and from film-makers Disney, Paramount, and Twentieth Century Fox. It charges subscribers a monthly fee of €6.99 to access its film and television content.