Category Archives: Deals

Television for Dogs?

DSCN1739A sure sign Television is going through massive disruption. DogTV offers a 24/7 digital TV channel consisting of “dog friendly programing scientifically developed to provide the right company for dogs when left alone”. As described at the DogTV website:

“Through years of research with some of the world’s top pet experts, special content was created to meet specific attributes of a dog’s sense of vision and hearing and supports their natural behavior patterns. The result: a confident, happy dog, who’s less likely to develop stress, separation anxiety or other related problems.”

Can a concept like Television for Dogs really survive? Yes. At least, Discovery thinks so. According to Advanced-Television.com, Discovery Communications invested in DogTV and will roll out programming in North America, South Korea and Japan.

“More than 40 million American households own dogs, and they are spending more than $55.8 billion annually on their pets. It’s a thriving industry,” said Yossi Uzrad, Chairman of DOGTV. “DOGTV is a proven tool for relieving stress and anxiety for stay-at-home dogs, and a partnership with Discovery will help accelerate the network’s growth, while making DOGTV even more accessible to dog owners,” added Gilad Neumann, Chief Executive Officer of DOGTV.

MyRepublic Offers Worlds Fastest Fibre Broadband

my-republicMyRepublic is now offering 1GBPS broadband internet for under S$50. Yes, correct, that’s “G”, as in Gigabit. This is a company that listens to their customers needs. However, this offer is only available to the first 10,000 sign-ups, the price for late comers is not yet determined.

They also have a lot of offers for switching customers over to this new 1Gbps plan, here is the list of these special offers and pricings: https://secure.myrepublic.com.sg/pricing.php

MyRepublic is also having a special Mega Launch Event at Ngee Ann City this weekend, 18th and 19th January, to promote these new 1g plans. According to the NgeeAnnCity website:

Join us as we excite you with a peek at the future of fibre broadband! Be amazed by MyRepublic’s futuristic home where you will experience a real digital lifestyle. In this fully integrated connected home set up, you will explore the home of the future and learn what MyRepublic’s fibre broadband can do for you and your home.

Gamers, jump into the gaming world with MyRepublic and partners like ASUS and iYogi at MyRepublic’s Mega Launch event! Join the gaming competition happening at Orchard and emerge as the Ultimate Gamer! Conquer others in Dragon Nest and take home attractive prizes like an ASUS desktop and gaming gear.

Come meet and greet with top Mediacorp’s starlets as they grace the event! Take pictures and play games with Mediacorp starlets like Benjamin Heng etc. in MyRepublic’s Mega Launch event!

Come join us at MyRepublic’s event and indulge in games, food and drinks and have a day of fun on us!

Congratulations to MyRepublic for setting a new milestone.

StarHub to use Social Analytics to enhance TV Experience

starhub-officeStarHub is will soon start tapping big data in order to better serve their customers and enhance the television experience. Specifically, Singapore’s second largest Telco is building a new facility called MediaHub. which will include an analytics lab that taps social media conversations to better understand their customers and serve a more social and personalized experience.

According to ZDnet:

A key feature will be the synergy between a social media analytics lab and an adaptive production studio, which will support its pay TV business. These two facilities will work hand-in-hand to enhance “live” TV production based on real-time social media conversations.

“We can monitor the online conversations on all social media platforms. Our content partners will be very interested in this. At one glance, you can tell what viewers are saying about your programs and you can even make adjustments immediately,” said Tan Tong Hai, CEO of StarHub, at the groundbreaking ceremony.

Full story can be found at ZDnet: http://www.zdnet.com/sg/starhub-to-tap-social-analytics-for-tv-biz-in-new-mediahub-facility-7000023756/

Two Hong Kong FTA Broadcast Licenses Granted

fta-govBig television shake-up in Hong Kong as the government approves initial permits for two companies to obtain the highly coveted Free-to-Air broadcast license. The last time a Free-To Air broadcast license was granted in HK was nearly 40 years ago, to a company named Commercial Television Ltd., which went out of business 3 years after.

The initial approval for the FTA licenses was won by and I-Cable (Fantastic TV) and PCCW, (NowTV), which is one of the largest IPTV providers worldwide, and the first to pass the 1 million subscriber mark nearly four years ago.

While both PCCW and I-Cable shares jumped on the news, Hong Kong Television Network Ltd. (HKTV, Wai-kay’s Hong Kong Television Network), saw its shares dropping more than 31% and said they will cut 320 jobs after its FTA permit application was rejected.

According to sources at SCMP:

A senior government source said a consultant’s report had shown HKTV, previously known as City Telecom, to be the weakest applicant, and that Exco approved the licences “on merit with no political considerations”.

But the rejection of HKTV’s application, which was against the Broadcasting Authority’s earlier recommendation that all three licences be granted, prompted a swift backlash. By 1.30am today, a Facebook page calling upon the government to issue a licence to HKTV had attracted some 256,000 “likes”. Internet users were also preparing a protest on Sunday.

Asked if the deviation from the Broadcasting Authority’s recommendation would be against procedural justice, So said the authority made recommendations not decisions. He said Exco had considered “a basket of criteria” including programme planning, technical soundness, investment and public opinion.

But he refused to explain why HKTV was considered inferior to its competitors. HKTV can’t appeal to Exco against the decision, but it can file a judicial review in court, he said.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong already has two FTA broadcasters (TVB and ATV), both are now challenging the government about why two contracts were awarded at all. They both fought against the governments consideration of 3 potential new licenses, and it seems that they at least for now, won the battle against Ricky Wong’s HKTV, (formerly called City Telecom, and now called HKTV, Wai-kay’s Hong Kong Television Network).

According to Bloomberg:

“We estimate new operators could launch the free-to-air TV services within 6-12 months and new competition could start as early as 2014,” Mandy Chan, an analyst at Merrill Lynch, wrote in a report. “We expect TVB to face challenges in keeping its near monopolistic hold of the Hong Kong free-to-air TV market.”

The awards to I-Cable’s Fantastic Television Ltd. and PCCW’s HK Television Entertainment Co. will double the number of free-to-air TV operators and bring in more investment, Commerce Secretary Gregory So said yesterday.

“This will not only provide more program choices for the audience, but also create more job opportunities in the creative industries,” So said at yesterday’s briefing.

Television Broadcasts’ flagship channel has a 93 percent audience share during prime time on weekdays, according to the company’s 2012 interim report.

Both TVB and ATV’s FTA licenses are due to expire in 2015, forcing them to re-apply in order to maintain it. Ricky Wong, the Telco entrepreneur in charge of Hong Kong Television Network (HKTV) denied that he will re-apply for an FTA license or acquire either TVB or ATV at that time.

Singapore Hotel Television Solution at-visions

Last year, the German company at-visions sparked a deal with Singtel for its ONEvision suite of services, to sell television solutions to hotels throughout Singapore, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam. SingTel Group is Asia’s leading communications firm with operations and investments in more than 20 countries.

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According to the press release posted at the at-visions website:

With the partnership, at-visions and SingTel hope to bring even greater synergy to the hospitality markets that they both serve. This partnership will translate into greater value and savings for its customers. And we would offer greater variety and integration of content, especially for hotels in the (Singapore) market.

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How has this partnership manifested?

We had the chance to utilize the hotel TV product in one particular Singapore venue, and found that, the product platform hardware is actually from a company called Pivos, located in Fremont California. Specifically, the product platform is an IPTV set top box called the Pivos XIOS DS Media Play, which is essentially an android app device.

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The Gadgeteer wrote a good comprehensive review of the Pivos XIOS DS Media Play after having put it through the wringer for over a month. In summary, they conclude the following:

If you’re looking for something to play your media on a TV, there are better  options available.  We’ve reviewed several here at The Gadgeteer.    This box is not for the technically challenged and is definitely not  plug-and-play.  However, there may be a market for the DS  Media Player.  The device could be a platform for techies that want to  experiment with Android in a box, and it can be used as an XBMC device by  downloading the Linux XBMC firmware.  Just be prepared to spend a lot of  time on the vendor’s forums and website.

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The remote control however is from at-visions, and while it is a sleek, elegant, precision engineered, finely crafted remote. It is however a bit complex, with many buttons that don’t function (or are not activated). It is also not easy to know what buttons you are pushing in the dark, and unable to read the labels.
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The channel content changed in just the five days we test drove device. Currently, the channels available are 6 MediaCorp FTA channels: Ch 8, CNA, Okto, Ch U, Suria, and Vasantham, and also 3 sports channels Fox Sports, Mio Stadium and Star Sports.

However, three days ago, it also contained MediaCorp Channel 5, Asia Travel Channel and Bloomberg. All 3 of those channels just vanished a couple days ago.

The picture quality is good, but often “jumpy”, like as though it is skipping an occasional few frames. There is a long delay between switching channels, perhaps 4 seconds on average. And on occasion, the picture freezes, requiring the box to be rebooted. But this is not clear if it’s a problem with the box, or the internet connectivity, I suppose the latter.

Yahoo Screen Mobile Application

Re-imagining Video For Mobile with Yahoo Screen

Yahoo launched a new mobile application called “Yahoo Screen,” which runs on Apple iOS devices such as the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The Yahoo Screen app will become Yahoo’s media content portal, offering a simple, swipeable user interface for browsing through the video channels.

yahoo-screenThe Yahoo Screen app allows users to browse through trending video clips, granular searches for specific programs, and includes gesture-based navigational controls – for example, swiping left and right skips between the episodes, while swiping up and down flips through channels.

The idea, the company explains, is to re-create the feeling of channel surfing on the TV on mobile. The navigation controls are on the left side of the screen, where you can scroll up and down through the available content channels, tap a search button, or access a side bar where you can navigate in between other Yahoo apps like Mail, Flickr, Fantasy Sports, and more.

To kick things off, Yahoo Screen has announced a deal with Viacom to offer clips from some of Comedy Central’s best shows, including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report. Along with an exclusive digital clip archive of Saturday Night Live, Yahoo Screen offers access to a lot of comedy video content.

More information from Techcrunch and Yahoo.

Trendrr Purchased by Twitter

Trendrr, the company that tracks social media participation around television content, has recently been acquired by Twitter for an undisclosed amount. According to the Trendrr blog post:

That’s why we are excited to be joining Twitter’s world class team, enabling us to realize bigger opportunities that drive better experiences for users, media and marketers – across Twitter and around the globe.

Having sat at this intersection of TV and social media for years, we’ve analyzed data from lots of platforms. What makes Twitter uniquely compelling among these platforms is its connection to the live moment — people sharing what’s happening, when it’s happening, to the world. We think we can help amplify even stronger the power of that connection to the moment inside of Twitter.

ClearlyTwitter sees TV to be a big part of its monetization and user growth strategy. Trendrr was launched in 2007 and developed by the digital agency called Wiredset, making an impact on the blogosphere by first reporting that Facebook has five times more TV discussion than Twitter.

Thank you Trendrr for the analytics and insights you have provided, such as these images below:

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TiVo’s Roamio Opera SDK Partnership

tv-store-largeTiVo’s new Roamio platform launched last week and will allow developers to build and provide HTML5 web apps to TiVo device owners via a developer SDK.The new TiVo DVR hardware devices also improve considerably on the amount of content that can be recorded, and there’s a new feature allowing the streaming of both live and recorded content.

Roamio devices already offer access to pre-installed apps including Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora, and Spotify. The introduction of the Opera TV store, which TiVo is aiming to deploy early next year, will bring a whole catalogue of new HTML5-based apps to the service, broadening the type of app-based content users have access to exponentially.

Opera’s TV Store is already available on millions of shipping devices, and the Opera Devices SDK made its way onto over 25 million connected TVs in 2012 alone. That means that TiVo customers will be getting access to a platform that’s already mature when the Opera Store goes live on its devices; there won’t be any waiting while a new store is set up and curate the way there would be if TiVo had started from scratch.

TiVo says the new partnership will also enable it to provide pre-loaded software to its set-top DVRs, as Opera has become a key partner for businesses switching over to HTML5 in order to attract market share to connected home entertainment platforms.

Read more about TiVo’s Roamio Opera SDK Partnership at Techcrunch.

Singapore Based Viki Acquired by Rakuten

viki_logo_500Rakuten, the Japan based e-commerce giant, acquired Viki, a Singapore based global streaming video platform that crowd sources foreign language translated subtitles, for a reported $200 million.

Based in Singapore, Viki operates similarly to Hulu.com by offering premium content such as primetime TV shows and movies. Its advantage over other on-demand video services is crowdsourced subtitles from 22 million users in more than 160 languages, which allows Viki’s content providers to quickly enter new markets.

Rakuten has acquired Kobo, an Android based tablet e-reader services provider that competes with Amazon Kindle, and Wauki.tv, a European streaming video platform that competes with Amazon’s LOVEFiLM.

Full story at TechCrunch