BT's TV over broadband service has landed and the first shiny new V-boxes are winging their way to customers. Just not all of them. BT claims 'tens of thousands' have signed up for Vision and it's going to take some time getting round to everyone.Still, there's one piece of good news, this isn't the soft launch some feared. New customers will be able to get their names down now, although it's unlikely they'll see their new box arrive before the New Year.So, what can you expect from Vision?The V-box itself comes with a Freeview tuner on board alongside the flashier ipTV downloading gubbins. The 160GB hard drive is good for 80 hours of recording. Intriguingly there's also an HDMI slot. BT tells us that all current services will be in standard definition but that HD is planned for the future and won't require any updating of the box itself. Presumably that means it'll be ready come 2008-2012 when Freeview finally goes hi-def. 1080p downloads will have to wait until we get bigger pipes or serious improvements in compression to cram it down our existing 8Mbps lines.Meanwhile we've been given more details on content and pricing. The V-box will come free upon signing up to an 18 month contract with BT's own-brand broadband (or 12 month if opting for BT Total Broadband option 2 and 3). That still leaves the £90 cost of connecting and installing Vision. A cheaper self-install option won't be available ‘til next year.
Charges from there on in are all optional. Either sit back and watch 40 plus Freeview channels for nothing or venture into the subscription or pay-per-download territory of BT's 'library'.Less an oak panelled, musk filled, civic institution, the library's more a repository for content from the likes of Channel 4, Disney, Dreamworks, BBC Worldwide, Paramount, Warner Music Group ,National Geographic, Universal and Sony BMG. All is available on demand for download over broadband straight to your telly. All you can eat subscriptions cost £6 a month each for TV, Kids' and Music Videos. For the particularly hungry, a value pack of all three costs £14 a month.Films are entirely pay-per-view and cost from £1.99 to £2.99 to download. Individual TV programmes for non-subscribers are from 49p to £1.49 and music videos cost 29p each, or entire concerts from £1.99 to £2.99.But we're readying ourselves for next year when BT Vision Sport launches. The package will include 46 live FA Premiership games, 60 live games from the Scottish Premier League and other sporting treats. 242 other Premier League games will be available for download 'near live', that's from 10pm the same day.No word on pricing though, we should hear more in the close season.