Category Archives: IPTV

IPTV

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.

Singapore IPTV Provider Centrecom

comtrendWhen contemplating IPTV providers in Singapore, one immediately thinks of SingTel’s Mio TV, by far the leading IPTV provider with just over 400,000 subscribers. However, there is another lesser known player in town, Centrecom.

Centrecom is a subsidiary partner of MVI Systems Ltd for the IPTV business in Singapore and has implemented IPTV systems in over 6 Singapore hotels since 2008, managing and supporting a combined total of 2,551 rooms.

But Centrecom doesn’t manufacture the TV set top box, they license it from a Taiwan firm called Comtrend. Before you hook up with Centrecom and try to order IPTV in Singapore, you should note the following:

  • Minimum order from Comtrend is 1000 STB’s.
  • Each STB is approx $80.
  • Centrecom is responsible or doing deals with channel content providers in Singapore, Comtrend only provides the STB’s.
  • Centrecom is responsible for the homepage and UI navigation of the TV experience, it is usually done in a Linux/HTML5 environment.
  • Comtrend predominately sells their STB’s into hotels and schools.
  • Centrecom’s implementation of the Comtrend IPTV set top box in Singapore offers the following channels: a.) ALL 7 Mediacorp FTA channels. b.) CNBC Singapore c.) BBC World d.) CNN e.) NHK f.) Discovery Channel g.) HBO h.) Zee TV I) MTV Asia j.) E! Entertainment k.) National Geographic Channel.

IPTV Subscription Growth Globally

Digital TV Research has published a fact filled report concerning global IPTV subscription rates. Here are some of the highlights, specifically concerning the Asia Pacific region.

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  • Homes paying for IPTV will grow to 167 million by end-2018, up from 69 million at end-2012 and from only 13 million at end-2008.
  • IPTV revenues, from subscriptions and on-demand, will grow to $21.3 billion by 2018, up from $12.0 billion in 2012 and $2.8 billion in 2008.
  • From the 98 million subscribers to be added between 2012 and 2018, 71 million will be in the Asia Pacific region – or 73% of the new subscribers.
  • Asia Pacific will account for 64% of global pay IPTV subscribers by 2018.
  • Half of the top 10 IPTV countries by subscribers were in the Asia Pacific region by end-2012.
  • China will supply 76 million (46%) of the 2018 total, up from 23 million (33%) in 2012 and only 1.1 million (8%) at end-2008.
  • India will contribute 4.7 million IPTV subscribers by 2018, up from only 153,000 at end-2012.
  • Asia Pacific’s share of the global total will increase from 13% in 2008 to 34% by 2018 – just behind North America.
  • The Asia Pacific region will contribute an extra $4.0 billion, led by China ($1.7 billion more) and Japan ($1.1 billion).

Read the full report from Digital TV Research concerning IPTV Growth rates.

Will OTT Kill Pay-TV?

kill-tvAnalysts have been wondering if the availability of every-increasing free Over The Top television content from online sources will eventually kill the Pay TV industry… The answer is, “no”, at least not in the Western European Union.

According to a recent report by Analysis Mason research house as posted in Telecomms EMEA,Pay TV subscribers are set to grow from 9.2m to 113.3m over the next 5 years from 2013 to 2018. During this time period, OTT services will indeed grow faster, but only to approximately 5.6m users.

Cesar Bachelet, senior analyst at Analysis Mason, explains that users are unlikely to abandon pay-TV services for OTT equivalents, but notes the effect of OTT services will be most heavily felt on secondary TV sets.

IPTV users will grow from 6.2m to 27.6m and satellite users from 1.1m to 31.6m. Analog Cable subscribers will contract by 2.9m, from 46.5m down to 43.6m, while Direct to TV (DTT) users will drop by half a million users from 5.4m to 4.9m.

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.

Google Announces Chromecast

chromecast-hed-2013Less than two months after launching experimental internet balloons into the Earth’s stratosphere, Google is once again taking another step toward dominating the digital world.  Last Wednesday (24 July), the digital media giant announced the release of its video streaming device Chromecast.  Compatible with laptops, tablets, and mobile phones (Android and iOS), the 5 cm-long gadget plugs into an HDMI port on an HDTV and streams video from the mobile device (acting as a remote) to the TV. 

Although Chromecast lacks the breadth of content (it’s currently only able to stream YouTube, Google Play, and Netflix) that other streaming devices such as Apple TV have, it comes at a fraction of the cost.  The thumb drive-sized device has a retail price of US$35 (S$45), compared to Apple TV’s price of US$99 (S$125).  With more streaming content expected to become available for Chromecast – such as Pandora – we shouldn’t be surprised to see it compete with the big dogs of video streaming.

However, Chromecast’s real advantage over other devices is its multi-screen capability, says Janko Roettgers:

“Chromecast synchronizes media playback across multiple devices, making it possible for you to launch the playback of a Netflix movie on your TV with the help of your phone, then turn off that phone and launch the app on your iPad to pause the movie. That’s simply not possible with [Apple TV's] AirPlay today, and it puts pressure on Apple to add more features.”

Google obviously modeled Chromecast’s simplicity after AirPlay, but, naturally, made improvements.  AirPlay only works with Apple products, and even then there are certain software requirements (I know from experience how frustrating it is to find a cool video on a Macbook and not be able to stream it through AirPlay).

Chromecast sold out on both Amazon and the Google Play store within a day of the release, and is still out of stock on Amazon.  However, Amazon will ship the device anywhere, so we Asian consumers must only wait until Amazon gets another shipment to have one of our own.

Referenced from CNN.com, gigaom.com, and asia.cnet.com

New, Less Expensive Fibre Broadband

ituThe International Telecommunications Union (ITU), after holding a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, is well on its way to approving a new standard of fibre broadband called G.fast.  The service, which could provide internet speeds of up to 1Gbps (1000Mbps), is geared toward companies who want or need to provide such speeds (for HD or Ultra HD video streaming) but want to avoid expensive fibre installation costs.  According to ITU’s website, G.fast delivers fibre-like speeds using copper wire, and can do so up to 250 metres from away from its main distribution point.  This would allow for customer installation without technical support (hopefully), thereby drastically reducing costs for both providers and consumers.

Jim Barthold says G.fast would make it possible for smaller companies to provide large amounts of bandwidth which has previously been impossible for them to afford:

“The standard is backed by multiple service providers, chip manufacturers and system vendors, ITU said, because its top speeds would enable service providers to deliver upcoming bandwidth-rich services such as ultra high definition TV and multiple broadband service levels without investing in fiber to the home (FTTH). It would, in all likelihood, make IPTV service a reality for a number of smaller telcos with limited financial and network resources.”

Widespread use of G.fast will surely follow its approval, predicted to be in early 2014. The only drawback of the service, which was addressed and resolved at the Geneva meeting, is making sure that G.fast equipment doesn’t interfere with FM radio frequencies. 

It seems now that traditional copper wire can yet still serve a revolutionary purpose.  This new standard of fibre broadband – designed almost exclusively for the purposes of IPTV – will no doubt launch the industry into a new era where smaller companies, simply because of lower startup costs, can challenge those with more resources.  With G.fast, success in the IPTV market will depend much more on the quality of the product by leveling the bandwidth playing field.

Referenced from FierceIPTV and ITU.int

Global Pay TV Revenues Hit US$184 Billion


images (1)Global pay TV revenues reached an astonishing US$184B (S$236B) in 2012, according to a report by Digital TV Research, almost a 30% increase since 2008.  Cable TV revenues were (not surprisingly) the highest of any service last year, but the report made it clear that the industry’s growth is slowing.

The industry that has experienced most astonishing growth has been IPTV, which saw an eye-popping 329% increase in global revenues from 2008-2012 to US$12B (S$15.4B).  Furthermore, Digital TV Research forecasts that the number of paying IPTV households will grow to 165 million worldwide by 2017.

That said, digital TV households are expected to grow from 772 million to over 1.45 billion by 2018, an increase 678 million households, (88% growth), with 59% of that growth coming from the Asia-Pacific region.  By then, digital TV will be used in 92% of all TV households worldwide – an impressive feat if you consider that 15 years ago, many homes still used rabbit ears to get their terrestrial TV signal.

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By 2018, the top 10 Pay TV countries will be 1.) China expected to have 313 million subscribers, followed by 2.) India with 158 million subscribers. 3.) USA with expected 107 million pay TV homes, and it is interesting to note, that these three countries alone are expected to account for 58% of global pay TV households.

Further to this 2018 prediction list is 4.) Russia, with 32.3 million subscribers, 5.) Brazil with 30.5 million, 6.) Japan with 27 million, 7.) Germany with 23.1 million, 8.) Mexico with 19 million, 9.) South Korea with 16.9 million and 10.) the UK with 16.3 million.

To put this into perspective; Singapore currently has approximately 1 million pay TV subscribers, (StarHub has 540k and SingTel MioTV has 400k, plus there are about 50k long tail PayTV operators). And the Pay TV penetration rate in Singapore is at approximately 55%. So, 45% of the 1.75 million households only watch the Terrestrial Free-To-Air TV channels provided by MediaCorp, while the other 55% of households subscribe to Pay TV.

Thank you to Mr. Simon Murray of the Digital TV World Databook for this excellent report.