A UK company is offering a television station in a box solution to enable local television channels to be delivered over broadband at a fraction of the cost of conventional broadcasting.

For a few thousand pounds, any community or organisation can provide a live or on-demand local television service, delivered over a broadband connection either to a personal computer or via a set-top box to a television set.

Global Digital Broadcast has already signed up a service in Brighton, where they are based, and plans to be able to offer hundreds of local or niche channels.

Jim Deans of GDB was previously responsible for the first local independent television station to gain a restricted service licence in the UK. He observes that the delivery of services over the internet is currently unregulated, and is therefore much cheaper to establish and manage.

GDB has teamed up with ViewCast to provide streaming hardware, and Sunniwell to provide set-top boxes.

With broadband connection speeds rising rapidly, they can already deliver what they describe as DVD quality video, and are currently testing high-definition at 6Mbps.

The company says that it is currently working with Bulldog Communications, now owned by Cable & Wireless, to offer multicast services to their subscribers.

Jim says that people may argue about line speeds, contention ratios and the thickness of copper wires, but when they see the results on screen they begin to believe and can only be impressed by the quality, simplicity and pricing.

He suggests that fringe services will be the biggest expansion in global television, with thousands of channels available to your set-top box. “Look for the thickest Yellow Pages and imagine making television adverts for all the listings.” He says that starting your own channel really is this easy.