UK TV viewers are likely to face a confusing choice between two
competing technologies when digital television launches later this
British Digital Broadcasting, the Carlton and Granada Television-backed
digital terrestrial TV consortium, is planning to use a set-top box
provided jointly by Canal Plus and the German media giant, Bertelsmann,
for decoding digital signals.
However, BSkyB, which is due to launch its own 200-channel digital
satellite television service this June, is using a different system
supplied by Datavom, a subsidiary of its parent company, News
The two rival systems are not compatible and BSkyB has warned that it
could take legal action if BDB goes ahead with a rival set-top box.
Unless the two systems are compatible, viewers will be forced to choose
between digital terrestrial or digital satellite.
BDB has insisted that its chosen system is ’in all material respects
interoperable’ with BSkyB’s, though it is understood that the first BDB
set-top boxes on the market will not be able to operate BSkyB’s
electronic programme guide, a necessary tool for navigating through 200