Setanta Debuts Live Streaming, On-Demand Archives

By Kevin Hilton

Setanta this week launched a Web video service offering live streaming of its main channels and archived events on-demand. Setanta-i, the successor to Setanta by Broadband, features high-quality TV-style pictures, improved recording facilities, and a new interface allowing viewers to move quickly to key moments in a game.

All the broadcaster’s television channels — Setanta Sports 1, Setanta Sports 2, Setanta Gold, and Setanta Sports News — are available through the new service. Over the coming months, Setanta-i will show the culmination of the close-fought English Premier League football season for 2008-09, the FA Cup Final, Indian Premier League cricket, and the WBO/IBF/IBO heavyweight-title clash between Wladimir Klitschko and David Hayes.

The service is available either as an online-only subscription or, for UK subscribers, as part of a TV package. Setanta-i can also be seen in North America via subscription and pay-per-view and in Australia on a subscription-only basis. Oddly, Setanta’s homeland, the Republic of Ireland, is carrying only a limited, pay-per-view service.

Video-on-demand is a major selling point for broadcasters, and Setanta-i will give viewers access to a range of archive programmes and matches. Material is streamed at up to 1.8 Mbps with a full-screen picture based on “video-acceleration technology,” which uses minimal buffering.

Viewers are able to set their recorders for Setanta-i programmes weeks in advance, and a new user interface allows them to navigate around the site and find what they want to see easily and quickly. A timeline at the bottom of the screen flags the significant moments of a game so a viewer is able to move the cursor to that event and access it right away.

Says Setanta Sports Group Director of New Media Stephen Michael, “We believe that Setanta-i raises the bar for online video services and introduces a truly ‘TV-like’ experience, one that will provide our customers with much greater choice.”