Discovery Channel tunes in to broadband content

The Discovery Channel hopes it will be able to provide the fillip that is needed if there is to be enough broadband content to sustain widespread use

Television station The Discovery Channel moved into the broadband market this week by making some of its natural history, science and lifestyle programmes available on the Internet.

This move could give a fillip to Britain's market for high-speed Internet services. Although take-up has been booming for almost two years, there is concern that there isn't enough compelling content that needs broadband on the Web to sustain the sector in the long term.

Web users with a high-speed connection can now download material from The Discovery Channel and watch it on their PCs, rather than having to pay for a satellite or cable service to view it on their TV.

Two payment options are available. For £5.99, broadband subscribers can get unlimited access to either Discovery Select (which covers science, history and nature programmes) or Home and Leisure - Living (which carries programmes on lifestyle and living).

Alternatively, a single programme on either channel can be viewed for between 99p and £1.99, and some free clips are also available at the Web site.

Discovery says that it expects to launch more channels later this year, although this may depend on the success of this initial launch.

"Our research tells us that many of our viewers would be interested in accessing our programming via broadband and we have created an environment that leverages the flexibility and convenience of the latest technology with the highest quality content," said Tanya Field, vice president of New Media at Discovery Networks International, in a statement.