Mobile phone operator and internet service provider Orange is planning to launch a broadband television service in Britain later this year. It will eventually allow users to access and transfer content between their television, mobile phone and computer.

The hybrid service is expected to be based on a set-top box combining broadcast channels with broadband video-on-demand programming.

Customers will also apparently be able to programme their personal video recorder from their mobile phone. This feature is already available to subscribers of Sky satellite television.

Orange will be competing directly with BT Vision, Virgin Media and Tiscali in offering broadband video services.

France Telecom, which owns Orange, has several years experience of operating an internet protocol television service in its domestic market. It has 600,000 television subscribers in Europe.

Eric Abensur of Orange is reported as saying: “When you buy content you should be able to watch that content wherever you want to, whether that is on your TV, on your PC or on your mobile.”

While an admirable sentiment, many rights holders still regard these as separate platforms. They might also observe that television viewers do not generally buy content. They watch television. Where they pay to view programming, it is generally licensed by rights holders for specific uses.