Vodafone has rebooted its online TV service. The new version uses a puck-sized box packaged with a remote control to connect customers to the cloud. You need a fast fibre connection, but in return you can get the highest quality pictures and a wealth of content.
The company describes the new version as TV-as-a-service. The cloud does all the heavy lifting. All TV shows, movies and sporting fixtures are stored on Amazon web servers and delivered on demand. The same cloud storage is also used to save a viewer's programme choices.
Vodafone TV offers Sky content along with New Zealand free to air channels. Extra channels are available as apps, there is a Netflix app, so all TV shows can be funnelled through a single access point.
There are mobile Vodafone TV clients for phones and tablets. Vodafone CEO Russell Stanners says the experience is seamless and brings all your screens together.
It also this means there are new ways of consuming television. He says you might be sitting at home watching the All Blacks test on a large screen before going on a trip.
When your taxi arrives, you can press pause on the big display. Load yourself in the car and resume watching the game from the point where you stopped en route to the airport. Pause again, dump your bags and find a seat in the lounge before getting back to watching the game on your tablet.
Using cloud services has other advantages. There's no likelihood of running out of local storage for your favourite shows. And there's a powerful reverse electronic programme guide.
This makes it easy to find the shows you want. You can even use your mobile phone to cue big screen content. It's a form of on-demand programming. Armed with the reverse programme guide, you can search back through the last week or so to find shows that you may have missed. The actual timespan wasn't discussed.
Vodafone TV uses the company's proprietary intellectual property. The company has a similar product in parts of Europe. Stanners says there has been a huge amount of local input into the service on sale here. Not least, is the work clearing the rights with content owners to build the reverse electronic programme guide.