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BT Gets Exclusive Rights To OnLive In the UK 128

Posted by timothy
from the stick-with-myst-in-the-sticks dept.
arcticstoat writes "UK telecoms firm BT has signed a deal with cloud-gaming firm OnLive, which gives BT exclusive UK rights to bundle the OnLive Game Service with its broadband packages. Although OnLive will also offer its service directly in the UK, BT (and PlusNet, which is also owned by BT) will be the only ISP allowed to offer the service. UK gamers will need a connection that can cope with the bandwidth demands too, which is a concern when so many UK homes don't have access to fast broadband. Speaking to Thinq, BT's Les King said that we're looking at 1.5Mb/sec for standard definition gaming, and 5Mb/sec for full 1080p HD resolution gaming. This will effectively rule out the use of the HD service in areas of the country that can only get a 2Mb/sec connection. BT plans to start trials of the system in the UK later this year, and plans to launch the service in 2011 or 2012."
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BT Gets Exclusive Rights To OnLive In the UK

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  • It's ADSL though (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PhongUK (1301747)
    In my experience ADSL broadband has always been out performed by DSL in both speed and quality. Given the technical requirements of OnLive i can't possible see how this is going to work for any real time games. Looks like you're going to have to be practically sat on top of the exchange box for this to work.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm firmly in the don't think it's gonna work very well camp because of the extra latency introduced over local processing but I don't get your point about ADSL.

      In theory shouldn't ADSL be fine because most of the bandwidth will be consumed by sending the video stream to the client? You're only sending user input back to onlive ( you don't send the video back to onlive too ) so an asynchronous lop sided channel like ADSL should be fine. Or am I missing the point and it's not the A in ADSL that you're concer

    • Re:It's ADSL though (Score:4, Informative)

      by Alphathon (1634555) on Friday May 14, 2010 @05:41AM (#32205130)
      What do you mean? Isn't ADSL a subset of DSL? I'm fairly sure DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) is a description while ADSL (or Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) is an actual implementation/technology. There are many other forms of DSL as well: DSL technologies [wikipedia.org]. As for being sat on top of the exchange, pretty much. I live maybe 2 miles away from mine, but I only get ~1mbps. Virgin certainly isn't available in my area, and even with ADSL 2+ when it becomes properly viable I'd only get ~4mbps, so no HD OnLive for me (heck, no SD Onlive at the moment :( ).
    • by nmg196 (184961)

      ADSL *IS* DSL - what are you talking about? Perhaps you meant in comparision to cable broadband (which is NOT called DSL).

      If you meant SDSL, then the download rates of SDSL are usually MUCH slower than ADSL (typically 2Mbit in each direction for the UK), which stands zero chance of any HD streaming for gaming (or anything else).

    • by amorsen (7485) <benny+slashdot@amorsen.dk> on Friday May 14, 2010 @06:24AM (#32205308)

      ADSL broadband has always been out performed by DSL

      Yes, Fords are always outperformed by vehicles too.

      (Yay I finally managed to post a car analogy on Slashdot)

    • by telchine (719345)

      In my experience with BT (which some of my neighbours use). They set up their routers with WEP by default. It looks like I'll be getting free gaming. Yay!

    • by Xest (935314)

      An ADSL line is a DSL line, although a DSL line is not necessarily an ADSL line as there are many DSL implementations.

      BT has announced this because they've also announced they're now getting fibre to the cabinet rolled out to 75% of the UK, and so it's off the back of that they'll likely be trying to sell it.

      Unfortunately for me I'm not in that 75%, apparently the outskirts of the 3rd largest city in the UK is not financially feasible according to BT it seems, or perhaps it's because our area is already due

  • by QuantumG (50515) *

    Every OnLive article, the comments overflow with skepticism over lag. So come on, let's hear it.

    • Okay.

      TACHYONS! Obviously BT has cornered the UK market on Tachyons, and so they're going to be able to run the service flawlessly!

      • by LS (57954)

        I'm guessing you are joking, but this is the big complaint that everyone has... "you can't get around the speed of light". The thing is if you are 5 to 10 kilometers from an OnLive server installation with at most a couple hops on the network, are there really any real latency issues introduced by the speed of light?

        Let's say the roundtrip for pressing the button on your controller to seeing a response on your screen is 20K worth of wire. 20K At the speed of light (ok, maybe a little slower over wire), th

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by twidarkling (1537077)

          Except that electrons travel a fuckton slower than the speed of light through a wire. 66% through standard coaxial.

          Further, the issue is latency. In an average multiplayer game with a dedicated server and a good connection, I can still have a ping of 200 ms, which is noticeable. And that's without the server needing to render the entire scene, saturating my bandwidth. So, for a SINGLE PLAYER GAME, I'm using a good chunk of my bandwidth, looking at possibilities of 200 ms latencies, less if I'm lucky, more i

          • by oggiejnr (999258)

            Except that electrons travel a fuckton slower than the speed of light through a wire. 66% through standard coaxial

            Electrons travel a lot slower than that - although you are correct that that is the wave propagation speed in coax which is what really matters.
            It's still faster than wave propagation in an optical fibre though.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            66% of c is not a "fuckton" slower than the speed of light. However, electrons through a wire will move at a speed of millimetres per second which is a "fuckton" slower than the speed of light. In any case, the energy transfer is not through the electrons, but through the E field which propagates at a fair chuck of the speed of light.

            As for optical fibres. Well, they're made of glass through which light certainly does not propagate at the speed of light in a vacuum. If you assume that n=1.5, then the signal

          • by aj50 (789101)

            Where the hell are you playing to get a ping of 200ms? Unless it's BF:BC2, you're either playing on a server on another continent (or maybe east cost west coast) or there's a horrible amount of congestion in which case you'll also get dropped packets which will be much more noticeable.

            • *points to sig* I'm Canadian. I'm never near a server. I'm so not near a server that when I used to play TF2, I managed to get fairly good at playing with a ping of 700. Never quite managed the 800. Eventually moved to where I could change ISP, and now I deal with 150-200 as a regular ping.

              I can't recall any service ever placing a server in Canada. So even if they placed a server right on the border, I'd be hundreds of kilometres away. But a server on the border would be in Montana, which I imagine gets scr

          • by Smauler (915644)

            I remember the good old days playing Couterstrike over my ISDN line. There were a couple of servers which I could hit single digit latency times. Now it's all gone to shit with consumer broadband.

        • Re:cue the skeptics (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Dr_Barnowl (709838) on Friday May 14, 2010 @06:14AM (#32205260)

          But it isn't just 20km of wire. Just getting to the Manchester backbone (10 miles away) for my ISP needs 4 hops and has a latency of 20ms (0.02 s). Getting to the web page for Manchester university routes the packets through London, and uses 17 hops and is about 30ms latency.

          Just the process of compressing the video for the client will add latency. You can't squish an HD frame instantly. You can't decode it instantly either. While analogue TV was still broadcast in my region, you could flick between digital and analogue and the digital always lagged behind - yes, it was buffered, but that's a necessary consequence of the technology.

          Even if they are setting up the video rendering servers in the local exchange - which assumes a ridiculous amount of competence - you are talking about adding between 2 and 5 Mbit/s of traffic per client. The local loop of copper wire can only accommodate a certain amount of traffic for a given pool of customers - your contention ratio is based on this fact.

          So ; twitch gaming is right out. In fact, the only kind of game this would work well for would be high-latency games like World of Warcraft, strategy games, etc. In other words, the kind of games for which you don't exactly need a stellar rendering setup anyway.

          It's really offensive from an engineering viewpoint as well. All the same components have to be there (game client computer with expensive GPU, game server, internet connection to carry multiplayer messages), but you have to add an extra computer (the "thin" client), add extra messages across the network for the controller, and of course, pipe a video stream across the internet instead of a monitor cable. It's just not efficient. Even if the service is pitched at casual gamers who can't be bothered to install a game and want instant gratification, it will be equally damaging to all the other customers on that network because they have to share their bandwidth with people streaming HD video.

          I'm actually really glad that BT has signed them up exclusively because I'm on cable - thanks guys... you just saved my ISP from shooting themselves in the foot with this crap.

          • But it isn't just 20km of wire. Just getting to the Manchester backbone (10 miles away) for my ISP needs 4 hops and has a latency of 20ms (0.02 s). Getting to the web page for Manchester university routes the packets through London, and uses 17 hops and is about 30ms latency.

            You might want to consider a new ISP. I can get to www.manchester.ac.uk in 17 hops and im in san francisco (158 ms of latency).

            • by Simmeh (1320813)
              No point really. I'm with Virgin ADSL and its 20 hops (via London) to that same address for me, in 34ms.
          • Just the process of compressing the video for the client will add latency. You can't squish an HD frame instantly. You can't decode it instantly either. While analogue TV was still broadcast in my region, you could flick between digital and analogue and the digital always lagged behind - yes, it was buffered, but that's a necessary consequence of the technology.

            A big part of what OnLive claim to have cracked is the video compression latency. They claim a ~1ms lag each for compression and decompression. They

        • by asdf7890 (1518587)

          Round trip time for small packets (ICMP Ping) on my connection to the fastest service outside my ISP (latency wise) is between 26 and 29ms, much higher than the 0.07ms delay your "considering the wire only" calculation results in.

          Many people see noticeably higher latencies than that simply because of line quality issues (causing the ADSL equipment to use interleaved modes, reducing packet loss at the expense of higher latency), line length from home to exchange in some cases, backbone topology (there are pl

          • by Toonol (1057698)
            My gut feeling is that 30ms of lag would be fine for many players even on relatively fast paced games like most FPSs..

            I don't think it will be. That's a hard cap of 30 frames per second at a maximum; I think it will be much lower, since in the middle of that the server needs to render and compress a frame, and can't do it in advance. I also think that most people will see more than a 30ms lag.

            The point of the service (at least initially) was too allow consumers access to graphically demanding games
    • by JackDW (904211) on Friday May 14, 2010 @05:39AM (#32205120) Homepage

      The critics will be silent when (1) they can try out the service for themselves, at home, on their own connections, and (2) it doesn't suck. Until then, there will be healthy skepticism.

      I'm also skeptical of how profitable the service could be, even if there was zero lag. There must be a high ratio of "subscribers" to "servers" in order to pay for the servers and make a profit. 10:1, 20:1, that sort of thing. But demand for a game is not constant [steampowered.com]. Players mostly play at the same time - in the evening (local time). This is the time when the contention ratio matters. If 9 out 10 players cannot play because all the servers are busy, then they are going to wish they'd saved their subscription money and spent it on PC upgrades.

      All online services have peak usage periods, but Amazon and Google do not have a big problem with them because users can be served by any data centre anywhere in the world if necessary. In peak time, if your web page takes 50ms longer to load, you don't even notice. That's what the "cloud" is supposed to do. But OnLive can't do that. All its data centres have to be geographically close to you.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702)
        Why doesn't somebody come up with a system that can host games locally? That would totally cure the input lag issue.

        Hey, maybe they could offer a monthly fee instead of making you pay up front for the hardware, and at the end (when you've paid the value of the system) you get to keep it!

        Oh boy, I'm going to make millio... Waitasecond.
        • >>>a system that can host games locally

          Your idea is "anticloud". We ALL know the world will be better when distant mainframes do all the processing, and you are just using a dumb terminal to display the video. Your idea of having local smart machines (PS3, Xbox, etc) to do the processing is old-fashioned and not progressive thinking. It is anti-cloud thinking. We will now stone you
          .
          . /end humor

      • by Jurily (900488)

        In peak time, if your web page takes 50ms longer to load, you don't even notice.

        Buffering... yes.

      • you CAN'T make player preduction with this system. Not ifs, or buts, or other conditions. NO, ..YOU CAN'T,.. player prediction is not given to you, player.

        player prediction is what make a poor ping feel almost feasible. no player prediction and a bad ping automaticall mean a bad gameplay.

        with online you will have the problem (bad ping) withouth the solution (player prediction), hence, It will suck for FPS's.

        no ifs, buts or opinions. Theres not reason to add opinion here, these are the facts.

        • by f3rret (1776822)

          You are probably right about the FPSes.

          However, the system might (that is a very cautious 'might') work alright for stuff like RTSs and it'll definitely work well for turnbased games, of course no-one ever plays those any more.

          Speaking of which do we even know what games they'll offer?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Svartalf (2997)

        Heh...

        I'm skeptical because of the brutal NUMBERS involved with this silly thing. In order for it to actually be remotely usable, you need to account for just how many people you can jam onto the pipe and there's this fixed peak value (which you MUST observe or things do go to hell in a handbasket immediately...) that is 1.5 mbits/sec for 640x480 type (SD) resolution and 5 mbits/sec for 1024x768 (HD) type resolution.

        For SD resolutions, you can do...

        30 people peak at T3 data rates.
        103 people peak at OC-3 da

        • You misunderstand the technology.
          Since BT are going to have exclusive rights they will create edge servers at their ISP. At this point all the network traffic is internal as BT own all the exchanges etc.

          If they were trying to host this on a website outside their network it'd never work.
          I believe similar things happen for the iplayer with akamai having edges at ISPs. I once calculated how much at standard bandwidth costs that akamai charge what the cost to the BBC would be. It ended up many times the
    • by Kenoli (934612)
      OnLive has some pretty fancy and attractive features.
      Playing games using serverside rendering just happens to not be one of them.
      Eliminating significant input lag is unrealistic. Video frames may be compressed in 1ms but it could take a hundred times longer for it to simply reach the user.

      Maybe it'll work better when internet 2 comes out.
    • I'm not sure why there should not be an expectation of skepticism. I'd like to see an example of something that's universally liked by everyone.

      I'm skeptical of this service, but not because of lag. I always make the assumption that they somehow solved the lag issue. My concern is the games themselves. When OnLive was first announced many people seemed to predict that this would be the end of game consoles. Why? What kind of games will be available on this service? PC games? I know that there are plenty of

  • WTFBT (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 14, 2010 @05:17AM (#32205006)

    They throttle their connections all day on weekdays and weekends. Torrents are throttled 24/7. Video streaming is also now throttled in my area.

    At 6pm when I get back from work I get about 0.2Mb/s. 9pm.. 0.4. If they start giving onlive packets priority I am going to get really, really pissed off. (I live in a shared house with no say on the net connection). If they can't actually offer the service they are selling now, how the hell can they start bundling more shit without fucking over more of their customer base?

    Their service is shakey and has a horrible proprietary router. Most ISP's in the UK buy their wholesale service off them so you actually don't really have a choice since they own all the lines and exchanges.

    • by QuantumG (50515) *

      Umm.. presumably the servers would be running at the switch.. so this is all local traffic we're talking about.

      • by Xugumad (39311)

        If you mean the exchange, I don't believe there's space spare. If you mean above the exchange, keep in mind there's a 50:1 sharing of bandwidth up from the exchange....

        • by Pax681 (1002592)
          it depends on your ISP what your contention ratio is.

          very low cost of craptastic ISP's do indeed have a 50:1 ratio

          there are also other contention ratios you can have, usually 30:1 or 20:1 and bethere offer a 1:1 contention ratio on the Be Pro service.

          i am with bethere and that was stated to me when i called to enquire about what the score was with their connection.

          in fact i have just phoned Bethere [bethere.co.uk] to confirm this and the answer from tech support was a resounding YES

          while it doesn't state about cont
          • by Bertie (87778)

            I don't work for them either and I'd just like to say that having been with them for, I dunno, three years, I can assure you they're the business. They do exactly what they promise - you get the throughput they say you'll get, all the time, and when they say unlimited, they mean unlimited. Enjoy.

        • by DrogMan (708650)
          The 50:1 (and 20:1) contentions were dropped some years back. BT Wholesale now give speed guarantees over the wholesale network at 2 service levels (standard and elevated) IIRC Elevated is 3Mb/sec or higher for 90% of the time (assuming you can get 3Mb/sec)

          The real contention starts when BT wholesale pass feed it into the retail ISPs - such as BT retail who have a grossly overloaded network.

          But you get what you pay for. I pay for a business service and get 8Mb in and 800Kb out 24/7.

          • by Bertie (87778)

            And I use Be [bethere.co.uk], who do their best to keep contention to 1:1 and give me a steady 18MB/S down, 1MB/S up, for £18 a month or something. Can't beat 'em.

            • by DrogMan (708650)
              Great if you can get Be LLU - but for others who have no choice of LLU, (like myself in a rural area), it's important to know that there is still a choice of over 100 ISPs other than BT retail!
    • by stupid_is (716292)

      That would seem to depend on where you are. I'm with BT and have not noticed any throttling on torrents or video streaming. It possibly helps that I live in a large village, so possibly not that many folks hitting the broadband (village = mainly silver surfers, in my case). I can usually get over 4Mbps and I'm around 600m from the local green box.

      I used to be with Shitscali, but they really throttled hard - couldn't even watch YouTube most of the time. Switched to BT and noticed a huge jump in QoS

      Can't say

    • I know you're in a shared house so your choice of ISP might be limited (your house might have that TV On Demand package I've seen advertised) but there are (is?) a wealth of much better ISPs out there.

      http://www.dslzoneuk.net/isp_ratings.php [dslzoneuk.net]

      This list is very useful so it be worth your while having a look. I was with Virgin ADSL at one point, it was even worse than what you're experiencing...

    • I know that feeling, out here in Nottinghamshire the fastest we can get is 5.5mb/s but we all know no one actually ever gets that fast a connection. I mean at its best, its maybe 1.2mb/s. And god help you if you go over the "fair use policy" they'll throttle you to the point where you can't open Facebook or even Google. And yes, the Router is by the worst thing imaginable, with its nazi style NAT settings and just general dislike to having more then 3 people using it at once.
      • by dotwaffle (610149)

        I'm in Nottinghamshire, my mum is out rural and gets 5.5Mb/s with Be - and consistently 5.5Mb/s too. If you can, I'd swap to them in a heartbeat.

        If you don't mind paying a *little* extra, Andrews and Arnold do a fantastic service too, and will run your service down a Be line instead of BT.

    • by xaxa (988988)

      I live in a shared house with no say on the net connection

      I live in a shared house, but after pointing out to the others that BT was costing us £38/month but TalkTalk would cost £20/month for the same service (and proper customer service!) we switched. Now we don't give any money to BT (TalkTalk presumably do so on our behalf).

      We even sold the "horrible proprietary router" for £20 on eBay.

    • how the hell can they start bundling more shit without fucking over more of their customer base?

      Who said they weren't going to do that?

      • by Canazza (1428553)

        Although BT are upping their max speeds, it's limited in most places, they're only just rolling out fibre lines and hitting 20Mbps. Virgin have been offering 50Mbps for the past three years, and THAT is going up soon too. If I had to switch to BT to play OnLive it's not worth it (not that it'd be worth it on any other ISP imo)

    • by Xugumad (39311)

      Err... if you're getting 0.2Mb/s, call them and tell them to get their act together. That's an overloaded exchange, or faulty equipment, and certainly not normal for ADSL in the UK (I get my 2Mb/s most of the time, personally).

      Also, consider moving to Be (https://www.bethere.co.uk/web/beportal/homepage ). They do a LLU based service, which may be significantly better. I can't get it because our exchange has physically run out of space (apparently), and if you're remote it may not be enabled for your exchang

    • by Xugumad (39311)

      Occurs, do you actually mean 0.2Mb/s (which would be... about 25KB/s) or do you mean 250KB/s. The capitalisation of the 'b' is important (one is bits, the other bytes, there's a 8-times difference).

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DrogMan (708650)
      There's a lof of mis-conceptions about the way BT works and it's looks like you've been misled by the BT propoganda...

      BT are many companies - BT retail - the ISP in this case is just one of over 100 ISPs who use the BT Wholesale network.

      The BT wholesale network is actually relatively good - it's when BTW hand the data over to the retail ISP that things go wrong. BT retail in this case are a very large ISP, therefore have a lot of clout. They also have a grossly overloaded network.

      So just pick another

  • That rules me out and I live in London and I'm less than a mile from my local exchange.

    3776kbps is the best I get on a good day.

    Funny thing is, my daughter lives just 3 doors down the street and she gets 8Mb/sec.

    • Re:5Mb/sec? (Score:4, Informative)

      by sgt101 (120604) on Friday May 14, 2010 @06:09AM (#32205232)

      Make sure that there is no phone plugged in without a filter.

      Change/swap your filters round to see if one of them is faulty

      Try with your daughters router/hub and see if that helps.

      Try connecting with a lan cable (not wireless)

      Try turning off noisy devices like fridges and freezers and washing machines and see if that helps

      Try turning off circuits on your fuse boxes and see if that helps.

      • by coofercat (719737)

        Your router may also be able to tell you what it's view of the upstream/downstream speeds are (my Netgear does, so does a Linksys I have). If you don't have this, then any speed checks you do (for your broadband speed) should be with a wired connection.

        If that speed is less than the speed your ISP claims you could get, then the advice you've already had is well worth checking. Additionally, the generally recommended advice is to unscrew the small panel from the front of your master phone socket. This will d

        • by Pax681 (1002592)
          very much what coofercat said PLUS try this

          Quiet Line Test

          Unplug any extention phones, extention cables, answer machines or fax (anything except the phone you will use to do the test!).

          Plug a normal touch tone phone directly into the BT master socket.

          Dial 17070, press option 2 (quiet line test)

          You should hear 'Quiet Line Test' and then silence, there should be no pops, clicks, whistles, buzzing etc. If there is noise on the line, make sure it's not your phones connection to the socket (wiggle it ab
      • After each of the above suggestions, remember to reboot your router, since it won't speed adjust without a reboot.

        Also, check the speed according to the router configuration page. If you get a higher speed showing there, you'll see a real speed increase after a few days when all the systems in BT's network re-adjust to the new speed (see "BRAS profile" on google for details)

    • by Tim C (15259)

      I live in Elm Park, which is out in Zone 6 in London (still inside the M25!) and I used to get truly horrible ADSL service. My line would peak at about 2Mbps, but real-world I'd regularly only get about 1. It would also drop out frequently, and sometimes was throttled back to 300Kpbs or less due to the equipment at the exchange detecting problems on my line.

      I'm lucky enough to live in a cabled street, and switched to Virgin cable; the difference is night and day. Rock solid, and I actually get the 10Mbps ad

    • by Pax681 (1002592)
      try Bethere bud.... as i said in a previous post they kick ass with a 1:1 contention ratio for be pro customers. they support is 24/7 and FREE to call
      i am 600 meters from my echange and get 24 down and 2.5 up with a little tweaking of the SNR on my DG834N using DG Team firmware
      • by sa1lnr (669048)

        Thanks for all your suggestions guys but I've tried them all. One reason for it may be that even though I'm less than a mile from the exchange the wiring from the exchange to my home can go all round the houses and end up being a couple of miles in actual length, well that was one explanation I was given.

        • by Pax681 (1002592)
          very true bud. my friend stays 50m from his exchange but is 900m by wire.

          mind you have you spoken to Bethere yet? when i was with Pipex i only got 8MB here and BT said the most i could ever get would be 9mb

          well thanks to Bethere's tasty goodness i get 24/2.5 !
  • internet services getting partitioned by service providers, the first step of the return of the old aol and compuserve 'internets'
  • I really hope this service succeeds. I'm just concerned that the abuse of communications markets around the world done by telecom incumbents will render this service defunct by "ahead of its time" default.
  • Speaking to Thinq, BT's Les King said that we're looking at 1.5Mb/sec for standard definition gaming, and 5Mb/sec for full 1080p HD resolution gaming. This will effectively rule out the use of the HD service in areas of the country that can only get a 2Mb/sec connection.

    Errrr...2 is indeed strictly less than 5!
    • Thanks, TFS wasn't very clear
    • To be fair 119 is also less than 5! (using the base 10 linear* arithmatic system), don't use punctuation which is not required, it often has unintended consequences.

      *Modular arithmatic there are many numbers which are less than 5!, but that is just being unnecessarily confusing.

  • by iDuck (1435169)
    Having used BT broadband for a number of years, I was having increasing problems. Their ridiculous profiling system led to a maximum real world connection speed of about 2 Mb/s, despite being on the 8Mb/s service and living a few hundred metres from the exchange. BT tried to fix it - sending out several engineers, performing I don't know how many line tests, port shifts etc. None of which made the slightest difference. Don't even get me started on throttling problems... Switched to Be a few months ago, and
  • ... Rest In Peace.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 14, 2010 @06:47AM (#32205394)

    To describe BT as a "UK telecoms firm..." hardly does BT justice. BT, previously known as British Telecom has a near monopoly over telephone exchanges in the UK. BT was originally a technical arm of the General Post Office until it was split into a separate company in 1981 and privatised in 1982. Despite claims by various governments over the years, that the BT monopoly was being broken down to encourage competition, they still have a near monopoly on cable network infrastructure.

    There are many ISPs in the UK, but what the public do not generally know or understand, is that the vast majority of them have to pay wholesale to use BT cabling. Choose any ISP you like, some of your money is still likely to go to BT.

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      They have a near-monopoly on phone network infrastructure. While they continue to dog the roll-out of ADSL, parts of the country serviced by the cable TV providers that got accumulated into Virgin Media can and do bypass BT entirely. As far as fibre goes, they don't have nearly the same control.

    • by Spatial (1235392)
      They also have a near monopoly on sucking. [dslzoneuk.net]
    • by ranulf (182665)
      Yeah, it's an absolute disgrace. I pay £7.50 for broadband and £11.50 to BT just to provide the copper for my broadband connection and a phone dial tone which I never use.

      Ironically, I used to be with Virgin cable and dropped down to a slower ADSL speed when I took out Sky because they require you to have a BT phone line so they can use the modem once every couple of months.

  • "Standard Definition Gaming" appears to be a stupid invented term with - pun intended - no certain definition.

    I'd call a PC game running in 1680x1050 "standard" or even "low" definition.

    But a TV is apparently "high" even at a pathetic Wx768.

    So when they offer - as they no doubt will in glowing, flash-animated virtual-mile-high letters on their websites - "High Definition Gaming!" - are they talking about a pitiful 768 pixel high display or just an almost-good-enough 1050?

    • by Svartalf (2997)

      No, this is using an industry specific term.

      SD refers to something that would fit on an NTSC/PAL television set with minimal to no problems. A resolution of 640x480 or something like 704×480 would be SD resolutions. HD would refer to resolutions that are comparable to 720i/720p/1080i/1080p.

      What's hilarious is that even the next spin from Nintendo's going HD and they're regressing on something with a service that can't hope to provide more than a couple thousand at any major metropolitan area (An OC-1

  • Between 2am and 4am and if you're lucky 10am and 12am weekdays.

    I had BT Broadband in Canterbury and jesus christ was it awful the rest of the time. I've used Sky broadband not 200 metres away in another house and it's pretty damn good all of the time, that or maybe my expectations of ADSL have been lowered so much it just seems damn good.
  • I am in their beta (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pitdingo (649676)
    The service has been pretty flawless for me. I have been in the beta for almost a month now and the performance is unreal. I have no idea how it works, but it does. I have a 12Mb connection with Comcast outside of Philadelphia.
    • by Svartalf (2997)

      Heh... That's because you're one of the few using it. They can only really properly service 6000 subscribers with an OC-192. Do the numbers there.

    • by iainl (136759)

      Stick 0. in front of your bandwidth, and you've a good idea what a lot of BT subscribers are going to have to run this on. That's where the problems are going to lie.

      I'm with Virgin Media cable broadband and get a rock-solid 10Mb/s, but the exclusivity agreement means I'm not allowed to use it.

  • "BT's Les King said that we're looking at 1.5Mb/sec for standard definition gaming, and 5Mb/sec for full 1080p HD resolution gaming."

    Um what the hell is "standard resolution gaming" if not HD? I'm going to vent here...

    I hate it when people think that HD is somehow awesome. It's not. HD is what gamers have been using for the last 10 damn years on a standard computer monitor, and then all these TV companies invented the retarded buzzword high definition and everyone's raving over it. HD is completely un
    • by asdf7890 (1518587)

      Um what the hell is "standard resolution gaming" if not HD?

      A lot of people consider "SD" gaming to be the last generation or few of console games: 640*480 or there abouts (maybe up to maximum DVD frame-buffer size of 720*576 (PAL) or 720*480 (NTSC)).

      For TV/video "HD" is usually considered (by people in general I'm not talking about technical definitions here, or marketing definitions where something that can receive a signal at that resolution but downscales it to 320*240 can still be called "HD capable") to cover everything from 1280*720 upwards, so I'm guessing t

  • Really? Look, we all know that OnLive has serious, serious technical issues before it can be used for something like Crysis 2.

    But has no one else noticed that this is another site that is directly associated with an ISP? Especially an ISP that has monopoly or near-monopoly status in various telecom areas? While I'm not concerned that this is done with OnLive, which I think is going to have a short life span anyway, but this is the slow move towards the TV-ification of the Internet. Replace carriers with ISP

  • BT has exclusive rights to BUNDLE PACKAGES.

    So if you're already living in broadband hell, they sweeten it by letting you have a holiday on Earth for a little cheaper than everyone else. But OnLive should be available across ISPs.
    • by Cederic (9623)

      Indeed - OnLive would be foolish to destroy their chances of a presence in the UK market by forcing potential customers to go with BT.

      Gamers are one of the last audiences likely to agree to that one. Then again, gamers are probably sceptical about the responsiveness of the proposed OnLive service, so maybe it wont matter :)

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