BBC to pump TV to your set-top box: about time!

I’m only surprised that it’s taken this long for someone to come up with the idea. Media Guardian reports that the BBC is trialling a system which pushes 50 hours of TV programming – preselected by them – to a Sky+-style set-top box.

The BBC – and Sky, and the cable guys for that matter – now have well-established channels for getting TV signals into your house. The video-recording hardware is equally well-established, with Sky+ leading the way, but the others catching up rapidly. The marginal cost of hard disk space is almost negligible. The ability to scroll through a collection of ‘on demand’ TV programming, delivered locally, should allow for a very neat user experience, including – crucially – a very pretty user interface.

Two ways this could work: a ‘best of’ selection, ensuring you don’t miss the week’s TV highlights, and a ‘niche’ service for stuff which meets the public service remit, but just can’t find a slot in the mass-market schedules. Both have their merits. (Media coverage of niche interests is suddenly a big news story, with a three-day-eventer – is that a word? – winning the BBC’s Sports Personality Of The Year award.)