Updated: BT Vision To Do Web TV; IPTV Platforms Tool Up For H.264

Update: IPTV service BT (NYSE: BT) Vision is planning to take its range of on-demand programming on to the web, we understand. A good source tells us the service will be available only to BT broadband customers. The company wants to launch the service toward the end of the year, though it may spill over in to early 2009 – that’s apparently why it is buying in some H.264 technology.

BT Vision’s set-top box strategy – which launched in June 2007 using a box that includes a DTT tuner and an IPTV receiver/PVR alongside Microsoft’s (NSDQ: MSFT) Mediaroom platform – has seen a slow start but has grown to 210,000 subscribers, which the company says is in line with its medium-term target of two to three million. At CES in January, BT announced it would put its VOD services on Xbox 360, so it’s clear it’s seeking stronger channels than just the STB alone. BT Vision already offers pay-for movies to the PC, but as downloads rather than embedded streams. VOD to the STB is also pay-for.

Original post: YouTube and the BBC recently started encoding their video output with the H.264 MPEG4 codec – the preferred format of iPhone and Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) TV. Auntie, in particular, has taken pains to use this format in order to cater to Apple users. Now two other operators are following suit. BT Vision this week inked a deal to take on French video compression tools maker Ateme’s H.264 encoding tech for its VOD service. And now Tiscali has taken on similar tech from Harmonic to encode its videos with H.264. On their own, they’re just software contracts. But, as part of the wider move toward this standard, we must wonder – are BT Vision and Tiscali planning to start broadcasting to iPhone?