Cello's New iViewer HDTV Sets Allow Direct Streaming of BBC iPlayer, Other OTT Video Services

--BBC Produces Video Explaining How to Access iPlayer on Freesat

UK-based consumer electronics company, Cello Electronics, on Wednesday announced the launch of a line of LCD HDTV sets, called iViewer, that allow users to stream the BBC iPlayer--as well as a range of other broadband video services (note: in its promotional materials for the new devices, the company mentions YouTube--which recently signed deals to offer full-length programming from UK terrestrial broadcasters, Channel 4 and Five--Disney Movies Preview, Movie Rush, Autocar, Sky Sports "Boots n' All," the CNN daily video podcast, Jamie's Ministry of Food, Delicious TV Veg, Revision3, Diggnation and the Larry King video podcast)--directly, without the need for a set-top box or games console. The sets will be available exclusively in Marks & Spencer stores until March 1st.

According to Cello, the iViewer sets, which will be upgraded remotely when the BBC iPlayer begins to stream in HD, connect to the Internet via an Ethernet cable or WiFi dongle, and can also be connected to a home computer, allowing viewers to play back their own photos and videos. They come in two models: a £499 32-inch model that is full HD (1080p) and a £399 26-inch model that is "HD-ready." Other iViewer features, according to Cello, include integrated Freeview channels, two HDMI sockets, a seven-day EPG, fast channel search, Nicam stereo, a user-friendly menu, and an integrated DVD player.

According to a report by the BBC, the iViewer sets would have launched four months ago, had it not been for a delay in the delivery of an essential chip manufactured by an unnamed US company. As a result, Cello Electronics owner, Brian Palmer said, the sets will be in "short supply before Christmas."

In related news: The BBC has produced a video that explains how to access the BBC iPlayer on the UK's free-to-air satellite platform, Freesat. A closed beta of iPlayer on Freesat kicked off earlier this week, and the beta is slated to be extended to all Freesat customers with Humax HD set-top boxes (i.e. approximately a third of Freesat customers) before Christmas, and to be rolled out to all Freesat HD devices by the end of the first quarter. The video is embedded below.