Telewest takes on Sky in battle to win digital TV converts

LONDON - The battle for base-level digital TV customers has a new combatant as Telewest Broadband announced a service to compete with the BBC's Freeview and the Sky Starter Pack launched by BSkyB last week.

Telewest takes on Sky in battle to win digital TV converts

Essential TV will offer 70 digital channels for a £30 installation fee and £13.50 a month, as well as the option for viewers to upgrade to premium channels -- for example, Sky's Sports or Movies channels. Freeview does not allow premium channels to be bolted on to its service.

Available only to viewers with access to Telewest cable, Essential TV will be sold through Dixons stores following a deal between Telewest Broadband and the chain. Sky announced last week that the Starter Pack -- which costs a one-off fee of £39.99 -- will be available through Argos, Woolworths and Tesco stores.

Eric Tveter, president and chief operating officer at Telewest Broadband, said: "We're delighted to be offering our Essential TV pack through Dixons stores and hope it will give shoppers a welcome new choice of entry into digital entertainment."

The move seeks to exploit the growing mass-market popularity of digital TV as the government plans to switch off the analogue TV signal in 2010.

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