Monthly Archives: August 2013

STP for OTT and IPTV Projects

ABOX42-NORMALA new player from Germany in the development of Television Set Top Boxes has entered the scene. The company is called ABox42, and their product is an STB platform for IPTV,  OTT and CloudTV projects.

The ABOX42 B and M Series Smart STB product lines offers both, cost effective and high performance STBs for even the most demanding IPTV, OTT and CloudTV services for all kinds of applications, requirements and feature sets.

ABOX42 saw that the convergence of Internet and TV is opening up new opportunities for new business models in the OTT field for already established operators as well as for new market players.

In this changed world of TV and new Internet technologies ABOX42 has become a leading player and experienced manufacturer of next gerneration OTT and IPTV STBs.

ABOX42 has 4 years expertise and knowledge of managing end-user mass-market products. ABOX42 is specialized in developing customized STB solutions for international customers and has already deployed over 100 OTT services.

Social Television & Viewer Engagement

Tom Bowers of Content4Productions, a broadcaster viewer engagement and social TV firm, recently explained the importance of Social TV and viewer engagement in a succinct manner:

TV for many years has been used as a catalyst to bring people closer together, whether it be in the pub, at work or at home. It drives us to talk about it as it taps into 3 areas that make us interact as humans – Emotional response, shared experience and opinion.Social media due to its fabric allows us to share our thoughts and comments in real time and a large proportion of TV viewers are taking to these social platforms to do exactly that. Take twitter for example, they announced earlier this year that 60% of all Twitter users access the network whilst watching TV and 40% of all Twitter traffic around peak time is about TV (Secondsync 2012). Given there are more than 10 million active twitter users in the UK this provides a point of entry that the broadcast industry can vastly capitalise on.

Connect Four Productions offers broadcasters a layer of creative enhancement and production empathy to manage and deploy unique social and viewer engagement experiences that become synonymous with the broadcast brand. Content Four Productions specializes in mulit-platform viewer engagement, particularly in Social TV.

Full Interview: http://www.appmarket.tv/social-tv/2256-interview-tom-bowers-from-connect-four-productions.html?sthash_NFXyejRG_mjjo=&goback=%2Egde_2018025_member_269178446#%21

ASMR – Intensely Pleasurable Relaxation

Do you experience ASMR?  Science has yet to prove the existence of ASMR, but many people experience a profound relaxation through this phenomena. ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, and typically involves certain themes in its ability to produce trance-like relaxation in the lucky few who experience it. Typical stimuli are as follows:

  • Soft, soothing voices
  • Whispering very close to a microphone, or your ear
  • Even, measured speaking tones
  • Foreign accents
  • Mouth noises like lip smacking
  • Close personal attention, like haircuts, makeovers or doctor’s examinations
  • Handiwork and expertise
  • Tapping sounds
  • Rustling or soft crinkling sounds
  • Gentle handling of precious items
  • White noise

Here is a sample video to test whether or not you are capable of experiencing ASMR.

 

Read more as Loz Blain of Gizmag describes ASMR in greater detail.

Future of Linear Scheduled Television

story-of-televisionThe Future of Innovation in Television Technology (FITT) just came out with it’s second report for August 2013 that predicts the 2025 television landscape. The report evaluated transformations to the music industry as a result of the analog to digital shift in order to draw many of it’s conclusions. Here are some of the noteworthy predictions:

  • Mobile devices in 2025 will contain processing power greater than todays fastest and most powerful desktop computers.
  • The storage capacity of SD cards has been doubling every year for a decade, by 2025, it is predicted that an SD card will 2 Petabytes, enough space to store 500 million MP3 songs.
  • Broadband internet speeds will be up at 2.5,GBPS while currently in Singapore, a range of 5mbps to 100mbps is most common.
  • Linear TV with a desire to watch high quality live TV content will still be dominant. Even when the content is not live, sharing a cultural experience with others by tuning into the same content, at the same time, is a powerful phenomena.
  • Expect an increase in catch-up TV and video on demand at the expense of live and time-shifted content.
  • There will be an industry in search, just for TV content, ability to perform granular searches on 40 years of linear TV content.

The report goes on to discuss the future of TV Networks and Infrastructures, data management and the evolution of devices and applications. It is an excellent, fact filled and well written report, a must-read for those in the TV industry.

While most of the 2025 predictions seem like safe bets, we believe the demand for linear scheduled TV, as highlighted above, is greatly overstated, if not just plain wrong.

When the VCR was introduced, many predictions called for the demise of movie theaters, but that never happened, due to a phenomena pointed out by John Naisbitt termed High Tech High Touch.

The high-touch phenomena has allowed movie theaters to thrive over the years, despite technological advances that have rendered it obsolete, but can this phenomena hold together linear scheduled broadcast television? We say no.

Live TV and broadcast sporting events will of course will thrive, due to the high touch phenomena of this experience. However, linear scheduled TV programming is becoming increasingly fragmented as time-shift devices such as bhaalu allows consumers to watch what they want, whenever they want.

Unlike a movie theatre, where you are surrounded by others, watching linear scheduled Television is an alone experience, with nothing more than a perception that others are out there watching it along with you. The first time you experience time-shifted television, you will know just how thin that perception is.

With the growth of time-shifting DVR devices, the perception that others are watching the same program along with you dissolves. We believe by 2025, scheduled linear TV programming will continue to exist, but there will be little if any demand for it, it will have no high-touch cohesive power and will be unable to draw cultural phenomena feelings. In essence, we believe it will be as bland and one dimensional as FM radio is today.

Arrested Development  pioneered a new way of consuming television, which through social media platforms, did in fact draw together a cohesive cultural movement, offering a new model for the future of high-touch television.

Full FITT report here.

Singapore Cross Carriage Act Update

The Media Development Authority (MDA) introduced a cross-carriage measure back in 2010, mandating that screening rights for all exclusive television content deals be made available to the customers of competitive Pay TV operators.

The act originated from a bidding war between StarHub and SingTel to obtain broadcasting rights for the 2010-2013 English Premier League football season. SingTel Mio TV won contract by paying a heavy price, which would eventually be transferred down to the consumer. In exchange, obtaining this contract helped drive their Mio TV subscriber base nearly 400%, from 117,000 in 2009 to just over 400,000 subscribers in 2013.

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According to Adeel Najam of Frost & Sullivan, SingTel lost money by acquiring EPL broadcast rights. Specifically, it is estimated that they paid $350m to acquire EPL rights, but only brought in $200m throughout the duration of the EPL contract.

  • SingTel’s mio TV service would gain 360,000 subscribers by 2013 and is expected to have a pay TV market share of 46% by that time.
  • Of the 231,000 subscriber additions in 2010 alone, 90,000 will be churned from Starhub (these subscribers will switch from Starhub to SingTel) and 100,000 subscribers will take up mio TV service for sports in addition to keeping their Starhub subscriptions in 2010.
  • The sports content acquisition will enable SingTel to double its ARPU by 2013. SingTel’s mio TV ARPU is expected to reach $45 by 2013 and this will be very close to the current level of Starhub’s pay TV ARPU.
  • Starhub which will now face stiffer competition from SingTel and experience a decline of 68,000 pay TV subscribers in 2010.
  • The key risk for SingTel is that this costly investment will make it more challenging for it to turn its pay TV business profitable. On a conservative basis, with an ARPU of $28 for the EPL content, SingTel will be able to accumulate $164 million in the three years from mio TV. Adding revenues from internet and mobile TV platforms this can reach around $200 million. This is 43% below the estimated bid price of $350 million by SingTel for the EPL content rights. Other risks SingTel might face are consumer backlash and regulatory scrutiny.

The Media Development Authority (MDA)’s cross carriage measure enacted on 12 March 2010, was to address the concerns over the nature of competition in the Singapore pay TV market, to put an end to the fierce bidding frenzy for exclusive content, which only served to drive prices up for both Singaporean TV operators and the public.

In theory, the measure would work as follows… StarHub subscribers who want to watch EPL, can simply pay an additional fee for access to this content. StarHub then pays that additional fee to SingTel, who then provides the channel content back to StarHub for delivery back to their customers. The reality of this measure however has proven different.

Last year, StarHub won a contract for the UEFA Euro 2012 matches. The Cross Carriage measure kicked in for the first time, and SingTel Mio customers were given access to theses live matches on their Mio TV box, so far, so good. The act seemed to be working.

However, soon after, SingTel obtained the exclusive contract for the 2013-2016 season EPL football broadcast rights. StarHub customers tried to pay for access to this content but SingTel refused to provide it, claiming that the contract was non-exclusive. The Straights times explains as follows:

This is the first time the cross-carriage rule is being challenged – ironically by SingTel, which benefited from the rule during the screening of UEFA Euro 2012.

SingTel took the auction for EPL broadcast rights in Singapore off the table last November, forcing StarHub to sit on the bench, while the first round of bidding kicked off all around Asia.

It is unusual not to have an auction. Still, SingTel said its deal with the Football Association Premier League (FAPL) was “non-exclusive”. This meant two things: StarHub was free to negotiate its own EPL screening rights at some point; and the cross-carriage law – which applies only to exclusive deals – could not kick in to force SingTel to share the content with StarHub.

SingTel tried several times to not provide EPL game content, arguing first that the deal wasn’t exclusive. After that argument fell through, they took the position that it is not reasonable to require them to subsidize a competitors subscribers. Straights Times writer Loh Keng Fatt explains:

SingTel had tried to argue that its EPL deal wasn’t exclusive, but the regulator didn’t buy that argument. The telco reacted to the order to share EPL by raising rates, arguing that it could not subsidise its competitor’s subscribers.

The upshot? SingTel’s existing mio TV subscribers will still pay the old rates. But new subscribers and those recontracting will pay from $64.90 a month for a Gold Pack, which includes movies and entertainment. This is substantially more than the $34.90 charged previously for a sports bundle, including EPL.

StarHub viewers will pay $59.90 a month to watch EPL. StarHub has also rolled out packages to entice those in the rival camp as well as encourage its subscribers to stay with it to watch EPL and other content.

But amid the fancy brochures and touted savings dangled by both telcos in playing up their packages, the fact remains that the cost to watch EPL has ballooned – compared to last season’s basic $34.90 deal.

Worst off are probably mio TV subscribers on the old $34.90 basic football deal.

It is no wonder then that the 400,000-plus mio TV subscribers – many of whom probably signed up for the football – may now wonder if the cross-carriage rule, though well-intentioned, has scored an own goal instead.

The current status of cross carriage measure in Singapore can be found at this Straights Times article. Another perspective can be found here. And the Hardware Zone has a good discussion thread about this issue.

Maybe the cross carriage measure will eventually function as it was designed, to keep costs down. Time will tell. But in it’s first iteration, it has essentially served to doubled the price of Pay TV sports packages in Singapore.

Lean-back vs Lean-forward Television

old-fashoned-tvTo understand the future of TV, you only need to contrast it with the web. Nielsen Norman Group wrote an excellent article several years ago that is just as relevant today as ever. It outlines the differences between Television versus the Internet.

Aside from a comprehensive comparison chart, the article points out the following:

“Indeed, people basically don’t use any of TV’s advanced features precisely because they’re so cumbersome. As a result, the received user experience is pretty simple: turn it on, sit back, and enjoy the show.

The Web has powerful features, is nonlinear, and is user-driven — able to  instantly gratifying  users’ current needs based on their search engine queries.  Mobile Web use lives even more in the current moment.

Compared to TV, the Web also has a much finer  granularity of user control: When watching  TV, you make one decision every  30–120 minutes: pick a show or movie to watch, and then it’s lean-back time.  Ah, easy. When surfing the  Web, you make a decision every  10–120 seconds: leave or stay on this page; leave or stay on this site. Where to click now? Where to click next?  Stressful.”

It is obvious the lines between television and the internet are blurring. But in the fou years since this NNG article was written, Televisions have become even more complex, and more lean-forward. In a way, televisions have devolved from their original intention of simplicity and lean-back relaxation.

Bhaalu from Right Brain Interface restores the original lean-back experience television was intended to be, by allowing the user to time-shift programs for non-linear viewing, and offering a simplified user interface for fast and efficient browsing of channel content.

Television Turns 50 in Singapore

Picture courtesy of MEDIACORP, ST FILE, COURTESY OF KWAN SECK MUI

Picture courtesy of MEDIACORP, ST FILE, COURTESY OF KWAN SECK MUI

This year marks the 50th anniversary of television in Singapore. Indeed, it was 1963 when television was first introduced to Singapore, 6pm on Feb 15, 1963 to be exact. It has been quite a road travelled when you look back and see all of the changes that have transpired.

The current landscape for television in Singapore has been well summarized by Mr. Boon Chan of the Straight Times, stating:

According to Nielsen’s Media Index Report last year, free-to-air TV continues to have broad reach with most popular terrestrial channel Channel 8 reaching 62.3 per cent of the population, followed by Channel 5 with 54.2 per cent. In the pay-TV market, StarHub has about 532,000 subscribers, while SingTel has 404,000. The competition for attention is not just between pay and free-to-air TV. Mr Gui Kai Chong, an instructor at the National University of Singapore’s department of communications and new media, says: “TV now has to compete with new sources of entertainment and new forms of leisure, and that is a big challenge.”. He ticks off more families having cable TV subscriptions and more young people turning to the Internet and mobile devices and adds that “TV has a much harder time trying to attract and retain people’s attention”.

Singapore Television Milestones

1963 A pilot television service commenced on Jan 21.

Feb 15 marked the inaugural launch of Television Singapura at the Victoria Memorial Hall. Then Minister of Culture S. Rajaratnam gave an opening message at 6pm. The first programme was a 15-minute documentary called TV Looks At Singapore. It was followed by Cartoon Time featuring the magpies Heckle and Jeckle, News in English, Hancock’s Half-Hour with comedian Tony Hancock, and Rampaian Malaysia (Malaysian Mixture), a variety show that later became a staple on television. Transmission ended at around 7.40pm.

On April 3, President Yusof Ishak’s address was viewed by people in their homes for the very first time, marking the inception of regular television transmissions with Television Singapura. Regular broadcasts began, with four hours of English-language programmes on Channel 5.

1965 Singapore’s separation from Malaysia was marked by a teary and emotional announcement on Aug 9 by then-Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

1974 Public response was reportedly lukewarm to colour transmissions at first. It was only during the World Cup football season that more people started buying television sets in colour. Approximately 1,000 colour television sets costing more than $2 million were sold three days before the live finals on July 7 between Holland and Germany.

1982 The 50-minute long The Seletar Robbery was the first locally produced Chinese language TV drama.

1984 Singapore Broadcasting Corporation’s (SBC’s) first large-scale outdoor variety show was Singapore’s 25th National Day Parade.

Seminal series The Awakening, which made enduring stars out of Huang Wenyong and Xiang Yun , aired.

1988 Zoe Tay emerged triumphant in the first edition of the talent-scouting Star Search – and a star was born. Previously, there were Talentime singing competitions held, starting in the 1960s.

1990 Stereo audio was launched on all TV channels.

1992 On April 2, SBC launched the nation’s first subscription television channel, NewsVision, through its new subsidiary Singapore CableVision (SCV). The 24-hour news service showed mainly news from United States’ Cable News Network (CNN).

1994 First local English-language drama Masters Of The Sea aired and “I’ll crrrush you like a cockroach” went into the annals of TV’s unforgettable lines, albeit for the wrong reasons.

The first Star Awards were held and Li Nanxing and Chen Liping were named Best Actor and Best Actress.

1995 First English-language sitcom Under One Roof aired. It was exported to Australia, Malaysia, Taiwan and Canada and won the Best Comedy Programme or Series Award at the Asian Television Awards in 1996 and 1997.

Channel 5 and Channel 8 began broadcasting around the clock.

1997 Amali Thumali (Hustle And Bustle), Singapore’s first Tamil sitcom, made its debut on Prime 12.

Popular local serials, including Return Of The Condor Heroes starring Fann Wong and Christopher Lee, made their maiden appearances on Taiwanese cable TV via Television Corporation of Singapore International.

The Prime 12 Awards were the first to recognise talent in Malay and Indian television.

2000 Suria replaced Prime 12 as a dedicated channel for the Malay community, while Central replaced Premiere 12 with three distinctive programming belts catering to specific audiences: Kids Central, Vasantham Central and Arts Central.

2001 TVMobile was launched and made available on SBS Transit buses, at Suntec City’s Fountain Food Terrace and on Bintan Resort Ferries. It was scrapped on New Year’s Day 2010.

Singapore Press Holdings’ (SPH) MediaWorks was Singapore’s second broadcaster from May 2001 to January 2005.

2004 MediaCorp and SPH merged their mass-market television and free newspaper operations.

As a result of the merger, MediaCorp TV Holdings Pte Ltd, a new jointly owned TV company, was created – with MediaCorp owning an 80 per cent stake and SPH holding the rest. MediaCorp took on the running of the new organisation, which would now comprise MediaCorp Studios and all the channels operated by both companies (Channel 5, Channel 8, Channel U, Suria, Arts Central, Kids Central and Vasantham Central).

2005 Asia’s first 3G mobile drama P.S. I Love You was launched.

2006 Subtitles were introduced for news bulletins on Channel 5, Channel 8 and Suria for the benefit of hearing- impaired viewers.

2007 HD5, the first high-definition TV channel, was launched.

SingTel’s mio TV was available from July 21.

2008 Vasantham Central was expanded to a full-fledged free-to-air channel, Vasantham. Another new channel, Okto, featuring Arts and Kids Central content, soon followed.

2009 The Ultimatum was the first Channel 8 drama to be fully filmed in high-definition. And viewers zoomed right in on the facial wrinkles on Zoe Tay.

Thanks to Mr. Boon Chan, media corespondant of Singapore Press holdings, for a well written nostalgic walk down the memory lane of television in Singapore.

Full Article: http://stcommunities.straitstimes.com/tv/2013/06/01/50-years-tv-singapore

Free To Air Television Channels in Singapore

Singapore, with it’s close proximity to Malaysia and Indonesia, can receive a wide array of Free To Air television channels. But in order to receive some of the Malaysia and Indonesia channels, you need to have an antenna positioned near the border. Here is a comprehensive list of all Free To Air television channels that can be received within Singapore, and the position of the transmission towers.

Channel Country Main Languages Operator Station Name Transmitter Location
3 Malaysia Malay Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) TV1 Gunung Pulai

01° 36′ 12″N, 103° 32′ 50″E
5 SINGAPORE English MediaCorp TV Holdings Channel 5 Bukit Batok

01° 21′ 07″N, 103° 45′ 57″E
6 Indonesia Indonesian TVRI TVRI Jalan Palapa TVRI, Sekupang, Batam
8 SINGAPORE Chinese MediaCorp TV Holdings Channel 8 Bukit Batok

01° 21′ 07″N, 103° 45′ 57″E
10 Malaysia Chinese, English Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) TV2 Gunung Pulai

01° 36′ 12″N, 103° 32′ 50″E
12 SINGAPORE Malay MediaCorp Suria Bukit Batok

01° 21′ 07″N, 103° 45′ 57″E
24 SINGAPORE Tamil MediaCorp Vasantham Bukit Batok

01° 21′ 07″N, 103° 45′ 57″E
25 Indonesia Indonesian PT Media Televisi Indonesia Metro TV Batam
26 Malaysia Chinese, English, Malay Sistem TV Malaysia Berhad TV3 Gunung Pulai

01° 36′ 12″N, 103° 32′ 50″E
28 SINGAPORE Chinese Mediacorp TV Holdings Channel U Bukit Batok

01° 21′ 07″N, 103° 45′ 57″E
29 SINGAPORE Chinese Mediacorp TV Holdings TVB-T (Multiplex carries programming of Channel 5, Channel 8, Channel U and Channel NewsAsia) Single frequency network with at least four transmitter sites: Bedok, Bukit Batok, Senoko, Westin Stamford
30 SINGAPORE English MediaCorp okto Bukit Batok

01° 21′ 07″N, 103° 45′ 57″E
32 SINGAPORE English MediaCorp Channel NewsAsia Bukit Batok

01° 21′ 07″N, 103° 45′ 57″E
38 SINGAPORE English / Chinese / Malay MediaCorp HD5 (digital transmissions using 1080i50 MPEG-4 H.264 standard). Bukit Batok

01° 21′ 07″N, 103° 45′ 57″E
39 Indonesia Indonesian PT Semenanjung Televisi Batam STV Jalan Palapa 2, Sekupang, Batam

103° 57′ 12″E, 01° 07′ 12″N
41 Indonesia Indonesian PT Media Nusantara Citra TV MNC TV Jalan Ir. Sutami, Sekupang, Batam

103° 57′ 12″E, 01° 07′ 12″N
42 Malaysia Chinese, English, Malay Nat Seven sdn bhd ntv7 Gunung Pulai

01° 36′ 12″N, 103° 32′ 50″E
43 Indonesia Indonesian PT Rajawali Citra Televisi Indonesia RCTI Batam

103° 56′ 03″E, 01° 07′ 45″N
44 Malaysia Chinese, English, Hindi, Malay, Tamil Sistem TV Malaysia Berhad tv9 Gunung Pulai

01° 36′ 12″N, 103° 32′ 50″E
45 Indonesia Indonesian PT Televisi Tranformasi Indonesia Trans TV Jalan Palapa 2, Sekupang, Batam

103° 57′ 12″E, 01° 07′ 12″N
46 Malaysia Chinese, English Metropolitan TV sdn bhd 8TV Gunung Pulai

01° 36′ 12″N, 103° 32′ 50″E
47 Indonesia Indonesian PT Surya Citra Televisi SCTV Batu Ampar, Batam

104° 00′ 48″E, 01° 10′ 44″N
49 Indonesia Indonesian PT Indosiar Visual Mandiri Indosiar Jalan Palapa TVRI, Sekupang, Batam
51 Indonesia Indonesian Riau Pos Group Batam TV Batam
53 Indonesia Indonesian PT Cakrawala Andalas Televisi ANteve Batam
55 Indonesia Indonesian Barelang TV Batam
57 Indonesia Indonesian PT Global Informasi Bermutu Global TV Batam
59 Indonesia Indonesian PT Duta Visual Nusantara Tivi Tujuh Trans 7 Batam
61 Indonesia Indonesian Urban TV (UTV) Batam