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Maaixuew
Who remembers Kingston Interactive Television? 2000 - 3 April 2006

Kingston Communications, a regional telecommunications operator in the UK, launched KIT (Kingston Interactive Television), an IPTV over digital subscriber line (DSL) broadband interactive TV service in September 1999 after conducting various TV and video on demand (VoD) trials. The operator added additional VoD service in October 2001 with Yes TV, a VoD content provider. Kingston was one of the first companies in the world to introduce IPTV and IP VoD over ADSL. In 2006, the KIT service was discontinued, subscribers having declined from a peak of 10,000 to 4,000. Commercially launched in September 2000, KIT was an ADSL-based service, which used spare capacity on ordinary copper telephone lines to deliver 60 digital television channels, Video-OnDemand, TV Internet & Email, BBCi, Home Shopping and the KIT Channel, providing news/community information, including a weekday, news service from the Yorkshire Television.



Working alongside KIT was the BBC's Hull Interactive Television, a pioneering broadband to TV trial and just one part of a much larger £25 million investment initiative the BBC made in Hull, East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire - The BBC Connecting Locally - also known as Project Hull.

The project won an award for Interactive TV Services from the EMMA Foundation and was nominated for the Technical Innovation award from BAFTA.



Exclusive interactive content by the BBC enhanced TV watching for viewers of BBCi Hull on KIT and one notable example of this was on the 15 March 2002, when KIT customers across Hull and East Yorkshire were given on-demand access to each episode in the World War One series The Trench, in which modern day volunteers recreate the experiences of the 10th Battalion of the East Yorkshire Regiment in the autumn of 1916 on the Western Front. Viewers were also able to watch in-depth interviews with the Hull volunteers, the author of the programme and survivors of the Great War. They were even able to view additional content not available on television, covering life in the trenches, including features on hygiene, sleeping and training.

As the first and second episodes were broadcast on Friday 15 and 22 March, KIT viewers were given the chance to send questions into a live Trench chat forum which took place between 10 and 10.30 pm. Comments, questions and opinions could be sent direct via an on-screen keyboard which used the number keys on the remote control in a similar way to text messaging. BBCi Hull designed and developed a presence on the KIT service to trial the delivery of locally and nationally focused enhanced content based on BBC programming. Since its launch in October 2001, the BBCi Hull trial on KIT had featured interactive content from a number of popular programmes including Blue Planet, Walking with Beasts, 'EastEnders, Video Nation and the FA Cup semi finals.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/humber/bbci_hull/project_hull/

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KIT Playout Facilities - 2 February 2001

In June 2000, for the FTA channels KIT charged £10 with no subscription necessary. The service was provided through the phone line and offered internet access with no charges at £15 a month. There were thirty primary channels advertised at £12.49, and video on-demand at £1.50-£3 per film.

The BBC's Queen's Gardens studios in Hull, completed in early 2003, were said to have been envisaged to be much greater in size, accommodating multiple studio spaces for the filming of productions specifically for KIT. When the BBC decided to reduce its involvement with the service however, the proposed studio spaces at the Queen's Gardens site was converted into apartments. In April 2006, the service was finally closed after the number of video subscribers had fallen from 10,000 to around 4,000.
Last edited by Maaixuew on 16 May 2016 12:33pm
1
Stuart7,224 posts since 13 Oct 2003
Westcountry Spotlight
VOD just wasn't popular yet, for starters.

I don't think that's a fair comment.


Sky Digital had been operating their 'Near Video On Demand' (NVOD) service since 1998 with some commercial success. At one time I think they had about 90 channels broadcasting as often as every 30 minutes for their most popular movies.

Admittedly, NVOD was delivered by DSat and not the rather slow broadband which was available to most people at the time.

However, I do agree that KIT was ahead of its time.
Neil Jones5,245 posts since 23 Dec 2001
Central (West) Midlands Today
VOD just wasn't popular yet, for starters.

I don't think that's a fair comment.


Sky Digital had been operating their 'Near Video On Demand' (NVOD) service since 1998 with some commercial success. At one time I think they had about 90 channels broadcasting as often as every 30 minutes for their most popular movies.

Admittedly, NVOD was delivered by DSat and not the rather slow broadband which was available to most people at the time.


Broadband as we know it now in the UK became available in 2000 - it only became the norm for households to have it as standard as late as 2009, believe it or not.

In 1998 we'd have all been on dial-up connections listening to noises like this every time we wanted to go online:


Wouldn't the KIT thing have only been available in Hull, hence limiting its potential audience anyway? I seem to remember that since Kingston Upon Hull is unique in the fact that BT doesn't operate there, surely the service couldn't stretch beyond the licence area anyway?
dosxuk4,179 posts since 22 Oct 2005
Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
What resolution and frame rate though? At my day job we have a couple of sites where we only have a couple of hundred k upload for live streaming and can fit 640x360/25fps at acceptable quality down it. Admittedly we have better codecs than were available then, but we use my software rather than broadcast encoders, so provably evens out.
Interceptor772 posts since 20 Oct 2014
VOD just wasn't popular yet, for starters.

I don't think that's a fair comment.


Sky Digital had been operating their 'Near Video On Demand' (NVOD) service since 1998 with some commercial success. At one time I think they had about 90 channels broadcasting as often as every 30 minutes for their most popular movies.

Admittedly, NVOD was delivered by DSat and not the rather slow broadband which was available to most people at the time.


Broadband as we know it now in the UK became available in 2000 - it only became the norm for households to have it as standard as late as 2009, believe it or not.

In 1998 we'd have all been on dial-up connections listening to noises like this every time we wanted to go online:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsNaR6FRuO0

Wouldn't the KIT thing have only been available in Hull, hence limiting its potential audience anyway? I seem to remember that since Kingston Upon Hull is unique in the fact that BT doesn't operate there, surely the service couldn't stretch beyond the licence area anyway?

I think the idea was that a privatised Kingston Communications would be well placed to become an LLU operator nationwide. It hasn't happened, though.