BT Broadcast Services has signed up as the first customer for HP's utility storage offering. HP has installed 145TB of its XP 1024 storage systems at BT Tower in central London, which BT Broadcast will sell on to users such as the BBC on a metered basis.

The facility will be used to store streaming media, according to Stephen Murr, BT Broadcast's business development manager. "It's becoming cheaper to store TV in digital form rather than on videotape," he says.

The cost of storing on tape is aggravated by the fact that broadcasters lose thousands of tapes every year, either taken out of the library and not returned, or accidentally overwritten. To protect against master tapes, they must create dozens of expensive sub-masters.

"So it makes sense to store broadcast media in digital form," Murr says. "8000 hours of broadcast content goes through BT Tower every day. We have two capture stations integrated into a digital asset management system.

"The big drivers are the Internet and mobile, both of which need video to originate in digital form, but the issue for content owners and broadcasters is that they don't know how much they'll have to put into digital format from day to day."

The storage set-up is metered monthly by HP and BT Broadcast can then bill its own customers. "We pay only for what we use, so we can release storage as well as taking it up," Murr says.

He adds that BT Broadcast is now looking at adding a second tier of HP mid-range storage, enabling it to move non-current video to cheaper near-line storage.