Skype to launch Web TV service

The founders of Skype are close to launching a global broadband television service promising viewers, content owners and advertisers "the best of the internet with the best of TV".

Janus Friis and Niklas Zennström, who sold their online telephony business to Ebay for $2.6bn last year, have invested part of the proceeds in developing the service, which has the codename The Venice Project. It will offer "near high-definition", programmes supported by advertising, with tools for users to personalise their channels or discuss programmes with others.

Mr Friis said peer-to-peer technology used by the service, which exploits networks of personal computers rather than central servers, would make it possible to serve "tens of millions of users" while overcoming content owners' security concerns. Programmes would not require digital rights management protection, said Fredrik de Wahl, the project's chief executive, because "the bits and bytes being collected on your computer are fragments of a stream".

View: Financial Times

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