The grandly named Global Digital Broadcast is a startup company based in Brighton that is entering the market to offer the first open, consumer broadband television service in the United Kingdom. PlayTV offers a number of channels through a hybrid broadcast and broadband set-top box.

“Finally, after four years of hard work, IPTV is now looking like it is supposed to,” said Jim Deans, the co-founder of GDBTV and co-director of PlayTV. “Our platform facilitates niche, small and independent channels to sit alongside the major broadcasters. “This is what we have wanted all along — to provide a platform that can be used by everyone.”

The PlayTV service offers the free-to-view channels available on Freeview, together with IPTV based services. These include high-profile channel brands like Discovery, MTV, Nickleodeon and CNN, as well as niche channels like TV Brighton, covering the town on the south coast of England where Global Digital Broadcast is based. Also available is a premium sports package, carrying the Setanta channels. There is also a separate subscription service carrying adult programming.

Packages start at £10 a month each, available in a bundle for £35 a month, excluding an as yet unannounced package of global channels and the adult services.

PlayTV aims to have 10,000 set-top boxes from Vehda in the market within six months and 50,000 within the next year, which is more than Homechoice and latterly Tiscali TV managed to acquire over several years.

Many of the channels will also be available through a secure software based virtual set-top box application, meaning that they can be received by anyone, anywhere in the world with a broadband connection.