Canada's SaskTel Launches HD IPTV

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SaskTel, a telecommunications company that provides service to the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, began offering the first HDTV services over an Internet-protocol network in North America Monday.

"Launching HDTV secures SaskTel's position as an IPTV pioneer," SaskTel CEO Robert Watson said in a prepared statement.

The company, owned by the government of Saskatchewan, is delivering the HD IPTV services using software and hardware from Alcatel and Motorola's VIP1200 HD/H.264 set-top box. In addition, SaskTel is using Kasenna's MediaBase media-streaming software and Widevine Technologies' digital-rights-management system.

The service, called Max HD Ultimate, includes 27 HD channels, as well as 35 Saskatchewan radio stations, high-speed-Internet service and other content.

SaskTel will offer HD movies from NBC Universal, Paramount, Sony Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox and Warner Bros. As of Oct. 16, new customers can sign up for Max HD Ultimate for $59 per month (Canadian) for four months.

SaskTel's Max Entertainment Services provide high-speed-Internet access, TV and video-on-demand in a single bundle over an IP network. SaskTel currently has 45,000 subscribers for its Max television service. Overall, the company provides telecommunications services to more than 425,000 residential and business customers.

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