The new service, branded Interaktivnoe TV, will include 200 channels, including 17 HD channels, and will be available via PCs and tablets as well as TVs, according to project chief Andrei Kholodniy, speaking at a conference in Moscow.
The service will cost between RUB220-280 (€5.60-7.20) a month depending on the package chosen. Viewers will be able to record up to three channels simultaneously, with the ability to pause and rewind. Video-on-demand will also be included, as well as a three-day catch-up service.
The service includes new media portal Zabava.ru, which will provide access to over 60,000 e-books, 8,000 games and over a million music tracks as well as a catalogue of video titles and software products. Kholodniy said the company had struck agreements with movie studios Universal Studios, Warner Bros, Disney, Sony Pictures and 20th Century Fox, and music studios including Universal Music, Freestyle Records and Gala Records. Subscription packages are available for RUB99 a month, allowing unlimited access to a specific catalogue within the Zabava.ru portal.
The new service is initially replacing Rostelecom’s existing IPTV offering in all regions except Moscow, where it offers internet and TV services under a separate brand.
The interactive TV service will also include integration with social networks and ‘companion screen’ interaction, enabling users to share views on what they are watching with friends. Subscribers will also be given up to 7GB of storage in the cloud to back-up their own content, with the possibility to upgrade this.
Set-tops for the new service are being supplied by Motorola Mobility. Rostelecom will deploy Motorola’s VIP1003 and VIP1963 IPTV set-tops. The VIP1003 is a compact, high-definition IP set-top, suited for single set-top deployments, while the VIP1963 is a high-definition IP DVR media center.
Kholodniy said that he expected Rostelecom’s IPTV base to grow by about half a million in the remaining three quarters of this year, taking the company’s total to 1.4 million, up from 900,000 today.