31 July 2007

Starhub to launch unlimited HSPA 7.2mbps at S$68 per month on 4th August 2007

MaxMobile Mobile Data Plans

As StarHub launches its 3.5G service on 4 August 2007, the company will also introduce a new pricing structure that is applicable to all its mobile data customers – whether they use HSPA, 3G or 2.5G GPRS. By providing a single set of data plans for all its customers, StarHub will offer a new pricing structure that gives its customers peace of mind and price certainty.

All of StarHub’s mobile data access plans will now be called MaxMobile, a brand name that will act as a mobile complement to StarHub’s MaxOnline cable broadband service. Like MaxOnline, MaxMobile will offer Singaporeans the highest speeds in the market with simple ‘peace of mind’ pricing structures.

Three plans will be available to mobile data users - MaxMobile Lite, MaxMobile Value and MaxMobile Unlimited.

All three MaxMobile plans will have a maximum price cap that will help customers manage their mobile data costs, so there will never be a ‘bill shock’ from high data usage for our customers:

MaxMobile Lite is a ‘pay as you use’ plan at S$0.01/Kb with no minimum spend, but the maximum cost to the customer is $88 per month regardless of the amount of data usage.

MaxMobile Value gives S$20 worth of data usage at S$5/month (the usual price is S$10/month) and thereafter at S$0.0032/Kb. Once again, the total monthly spend is capped at $88 regardless of data usage, making this truly unlimited.
MaxMobile Unlimited subscribers will pay a flat fee of S$68/month, making the MaxMobile Unlimited data package the best value amongst all mobile operators in Singapore, in terms of both subscription plans and mobile access speeds. Again, unlike other operators in Singapore, MaxMobile Unlimited is truly unlimited, with no cap on data usage at all.

28 July 2007

Sony Ericsson K850i interesting video review

OCWorkbench has a review review of the Sony Ericsson K850i. Arghh, only noticed it today. Anyway, here is the video.

Sony Ericsson P1i demo video. SE P1i on sale soon

From what we heard from friends in the industry, the Sony Ericsson P1i (SE P1i) will be launched in early August. That is just a few more days from now. This model was last seen at CommunicAsia 2007 held in Singapore.

Here is a video preview of this product.

Pre-order Samsung F500 divx video phone

You can now pre-order the first DIVX capable mobile phone from Samsung. With no Contract, it costs S$998 which is very expensive for a small screen mobile in your palm.

pfingo Store opens with promotional IDD and SMS rates!

pfingo Store opens with promotional IDD and SMS rates!

We’ve just opened our brand new online store for you to purchase IDD and SMS credits for pfingoTALK. Also this month, we have introduced promotional IDD rates that will give you savings of up to 70% on IDD calls to our top 24 destinations, till the end of this year. Click here for the promotional IDD rates with our TOP 24 Destinations!

Do you know that pfingoTALK IDD offers you not only great rates, but also great voice quality and per second billing, with no connection or hidden charges? Shop at our pfingo Store now at http://store.pfingo.com and check out our launch specials!

From now until 31 December 2007, you can also enjoy our promotional SMS rates - S$0.03 per SMS to Singapore phone numbers and S$0.10 per SMS to all other destinations. So download the latest pfingoTALK Softphone and starting firing out those text messages!

23 July 2007

StarHub To Launch Football Channel Dedicated To Barclays Premier League Programming

StarHub To Launch Football Channel Dedicated To Barclays Premier League Programming

Goal TV, in association with Ten Sports, appointed as channel development partner for Football Channel

Football Channel will offer 24-hour Premier League programming, including ‘live’ matches, studio preview and review shows, half-time studio highlights, and magazine programmes

Singapore, 23 July 2007 – StarHub today announced that it will launch a brand new sports channel - Football Channel, dedicated to 24-hour Premier League programming. Football Channel will be made available to all StarHub Digital Cable’s Sports Group customers when the Premier League season kicks off in August 2007.

The new channel will be packaged fully by Hong Kong’s Goal TV, in association with Ten Sports in Dubai.‘Live’ Premier League matches and magazine programmes on the channel will be produced by TWI, the FA Premier League's official producer and distributor of its international coverage, while Premier League highlights, studio previews, half-time studio shows and match summary shows will be produced by Goal TV and Ten Sports (please see Annex A below).

Ms Tham Loke Kheng, StarHub’s Senior Vice President for Content and Marketing said, “The Barclays Premier League is the most popular league in the world and in Singapore. Bringing our customers quality Premier League programming is a top priority for StarHub, and to that end, we are glad to develop Football Channel in partnership with Goal TV and Ten Sports - two established sports media companies that provide football programming to a combined audience of over 100 million. We are confident that Premier League buffs in Singaporewill enjoy what Football Channel has to offer.”

Tom Kressner, CEO of Goal TV said, “We are pleased to be working with StarHub and to have the opportunity to develop a new and exciting channel that will bring viewers Premier League content round-the-clock. Leveraging on our experience in running a dedicated football network catering to Asian audiences, we will be offering a wide array of content that will complement the ‘live’ matches in creating an immersive viewing experience for soccer fans.”

Football Channel will also be made available to StarHub’s Digital Terrestrial Television (DTTV) customers.

More exciting details on its Sports Group offerings will be unveiled soon.

22 July 2007

Singtel Mio TV start up cost costs more than S$16.05

Yesterday I analysed whether it is worth subscribing to Mio TV. After much thought, I still feel that the contents are subpar to what Starhub has to offer. Moreover, the start up costs is S$117.

I have to thank an anonymous blogger who highlighted to me that I forgot to add in the costs of the phone line. I almost forget that people these days don't have Fix line at home.

Thus if you intend to subscribe to the most basic mio TV with a few channels + free to air + HD5, you would actually have to pay around S$24 (S$16+$8.33). Also don't forget you need to purchase an ADSL2+ modem (Straits Times says it is a Free Loan). You can head over to Singtel mio site and check that the modem is not loaned out for free. You have to either buy those specific models from Singtel or you can grab one at a cheaper price from auctions sites.

At S$29, I think my Starhub Cable TV offers better channels and contents than Singtel Mio TV. Singtel, maybe you can throw in the ADSL2+ modem for loan and scrap off the S$53.50 activation fee, that will certainly grab some market share.

21 July 2007

Will you subscribe to Singtel Mio TV ?

Will you subscribe to Singtel Mio TV ?

Singtel launched their PAY TV service yesterday. I took time to check out their offerings online and check out their pricing.

In contrast to Starhub TV which bundles channels into basic tiers, Singtel MIO TV charges monthly from $16.05(with GST). That is to say, your minimum purchase will be S$16.05. Thus, you got to mix and match some of the channels to match S$16.05 or exceed S$16.05.

Something that MIO TV didn't mention is that you need to own a ADSL2+ modem for this service. For current subscribers to Singnet broadband, this is not a problem. For those who are not, you would need to purchase it at $64.20. With an addtional S$53.50 activation fee. You have to pay an initial amount of $117.70. This one time payment is a bit too steep I would say. Imagine if do not require rewiring of your phone lines, why pay S$53.50 for the technician to plug the ADSL2+ modem to the set top box and connect the STB to your HDTV? The STB has no monthly rental fees.

To subscribe to Starhub, you wouldn't need to go through all this hassle. Just get the set top box, plug the set top box in and you are done. There is no need to meddle with 2 devices just to watch pay tv.

Secondly, the programme line up. Starhub being the incumbent already have exclusive contracts with lots of operators. For example, in terms of news, starhub has CNN, BBC, CBNC while Singtel Mio TV has none of these international news channels. Chinese infotainment channels wise, Starhub has a lot more as compared to what Singtel has to offer.

Although Starhub's Cable do not offer a la carte selection, the 3 Basic Tier sold at S$29 already comes with at least 9 channels (depending on which groups you pick). In addition, you get the free to air MediaCorp channels + 5 International Channels for FREE. In my case, I pay S$29 a mth and I get 6 local channels (5,8,U,CNA,Suria,Central) and 14 other channels
Ch 50 - Phoenix, Ch 51 - MTV Mandarin, Ch 52 - CTI TV, Ch 54 - TVBS-ASIA, Ch 13 - BBC World, Ch 14 - CNN, Ch 15 - CNBC, Ch 25 - Bloomberg Television, Ch 97 - CCTV-9, Ch 46 - Star Chinese Channel, Ch 49 - Asia Plus, Ch 53 - TVB 8, Ch 56 - E City,
Ch 256 - E City (+2). For the same price of S$29, you can hardly get so many channels. Taking an average subscription price of S$5 per channel, you would only get 5 to 6 pay tv channels in addition to the free-to-air MediaCorp channels.

In terms of programming, Singtel Mio TV lacks EPL which everyone watches. The good thing is about Singtel MIO TV is that it has acquired 3 channels broadcasting in Dual Sound in Cantonese and Hokkien. That is something that Starhub should consider offering CH 55 in Dual Sound (Cantonese, Mandarin). This will appeal to the older generation of Singaporeans who has missed all the dialect programming on local TV. Both Starhub and Singtel offers on demand movies/programmes. MIO TV also has 4 HD channels (MediaCorp HD5 is free) but priced at S$12 per channel which is very steep.

For the busy professionals, you can also pay an additional S$10, you get a PVR which you can record your favourite programmes. You no longer need to purchase a PVR just for this purpose or buy another just for watching HD as Singtel Mio TV box is already equipped with HD received.

Will you switch camps or will you wait ? Post your comments.

Price plans of Singtel Mio TV - http://home.singtel.com/miotv/price-plan.asp
Content Pricing of Singtel Mio TV - http://home.singtel.com/miotv/channels-on-demand_channels.asp
Price plan of Starhub Cable TV - http://www.starhub.com/portal/site/CableTV/menuitem.227318645a7b5eb3f75eb1109b1000a0/?vgnextoid=3e292a0a19134010VgnVCM100000b901000aRCRD

20 July 2007

Singtel launches mio tv with 33 IPTV channels

SingTel to revolutionise home entertainment with the launch of mio TV

Most flexible digital pay TV service in Singapore
The latest movies, first on TV
Biggest HD content suite in Singapore
Brings choice and value to the market

Singapore, 20 July 2007 -- Singapore Telecommunications Limited, (SingTel) today announced the launch of its much-anticipated pay TV service. Named mio TV, the offering will revolutionise the way Singapore watches TV. Unlike other services which require customers to be tied to programme schedules and rigid basic tier packages, mio TV allows subscribers full flexibility to watch what they want, when they want.

“The next generation of television watching has arrived,” said Mr Allen Lew, CEO Singapore. “Customers have been calling for choice and flexibility in the pay TV market and now they have it.”

It’s like having the convenience of a digital video store in your home!

mio TV boasts several ‘world firsts’ with its content partner tie-ups and will have the largest range of Video on Demand titles on any Singaporean television platform. Featuring blockbuster movies from major Hollywood movie studios including Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox and Disney, mio TV brings TV entertainment to the next level. mio TV allows customers to search for content by genre, by title or by actor’s name. Viewers simply click on the title and the movie starts playing immediately.

Said Mr Allen Lew, “Singaporeans lead extremely hectic lifestyles. Our customers tell us that they are often disappointed with linear movie channels because their lifestyles sometimes do not allow them to get home in time for their favourite movies. By allowing customers to be able to click and play their movies anytime, mio TV ensures that will never have to happen again”.

In addition, SingTel has successfully inked an unprecedented output deal with Sony Pictures Television International that brings viewers Sony’s upcoming slate of feature films at the same time as the DVD release and before they are seen anywhere else on TV. The deal also includes key titles from Sony’s extensive catalogue of feature films.

Singapore’s largest suite of HD content

High Definition (HD) fans will no doubt be wowed by mio TV’s extensive range of HD content, ranging from blockbuster movies to high quality channels from our partner Mega Media, one of Asia’s largest HD companies. Partnering with VOOM HD Networks, the channels will include an exciting line-up of HD programming selected from VOOM’s 15 HD channels and the first made-in-Singapore HD channel - Sling HD. Viewers can look forward to HD content that includes documentaries, travel, music, arts, fashion and lifestyle programmes, among others. VOOM is the largest producer of HD content in the world.

In addition to MediaCorp's suite of free-to-air channels (Channels 5, 8, U, Channel Newsasia, Suria and Central), MediaCorp's much anticipated HD5 will also be available on mio TV. This will be the first free-to-air HD channel in Singapore which subscribers with HD-ready displays can enjoy, as all mio TV Set-Top Boxes are HD-ready at no extra cost. Singapore is among the world's first to have a free-to-air HD channel carried on an IPTV platform.

Other first-in-the-world content on mio TV

Singaporeans will be thrilled to be the first in the world to receive two brand new BBC channels. Making its global debut, BBC Knowledge will feature amazing documentaries and reality programmes that have never before been seen in Asia. BBC Lifestyle will also bring a wide range of exciting content ranging from food and health to fashion and design. To complete the suite of high quality entertainment to the family, BBC is also launching CBeebies - UK’s number one kids channel - on mio TV.

Hong Kong movie buffs will love the Mei Ah TV channel, Singapore’s first Cantonese movie channel that features Cantonese-only content between noon and midnight. Selected movies will premier simultaneously on mio TV and Hong Kong cinema screens - another ‘world first’ for mio TV subscribers!

mio TV drives innovation, value and flexibility to the next level

mio TV’s a la carte price plans allow customers to pay only for what they want to watch. No longer do customers have to contend with restrictive basic tier subscription packages.

mio TV will be among the first in the world to introduce on-demand channels to the Singapore market. This option allows viewers to choose from up to 25 selected movies for unlimited viewing for only $12 per month. This means movies, anytime, for as low as 50 cents each. There will be a variety of on demand channels to suit different tastes.

All mio TV customers will also be pleased to receive one free on demand ‘movie-of-the month’ - every single month. Starting 1 September 2007, anyone with a mio TV Set-Top Box will be able to access this movie whenever they want, as many times as they want.

Any television viewer can relate to the frustration of missing their favourite programme because they were delayed coming home or forgot to programme the recorder. Subscribers who opt for the Set-Top Box with recording function can pause, rewind and record live TV programmes so that they no longer have to miss anything. The mio TV website allows subscribers to programme their recordings even when they are not at home, and an upcoming service that will enable them to do it via their mobile phones.

“This is the future of television - a world where viewers are able to control their own instant replays, pause the ‘live’ news to get a drink and command their Set-Top Box to record a programme even when they’re out for dinner,” Mr Lew said. The mio TV Set-Top Box allows one channel to be recorded while watching another and has a capacity of 80 hours of recording.

mio TV will continue to revolutionise the TV experience at home

The interactive and flexible mio TV platform will open up even more opportunities for innovative services in the future. Subscribers will have much to look forward to, including the possibility of communicating using video conferencing and instant messaging, displaying photos and playing music from their PCs, all on the TV set.

SingTel will continue to invest in the development of innovative content and services for mio TV subscribers in Singapore.

Such content will engage consumers on multiple levels, for example, watching it on TV, blogging on PC, and interactive voting on mobile. This will definitely appeal to the engaged youths of today, who are already spreading their free time over all these multiple entertainment devices.

Said Dr Christopher Chia, Chief Executive Officer, the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA): “We believe the launch of mioTV will open up more channels for interactive content creation and media services, benefiting both consumers and industry with greater choice and content flexibility."

SingTel's mio TV platform will set a new paradigm in content distribution by providing international and local content providers with an excellent opportunity to reach households in Singapore effectively and efficiently.

HK first to deliver HD broadcast through ADSL now TV

now TV launches High Definition
Hong Kong's first HD broadcasts include Barclays Premier League action plus other top sports events

now TV to produce Barclays Asia Trophy live in HD
Broadcast will reach 130 countries around the world

HONG KONG, 19 July 2007 - PCCW today announced the launch of High Definition (HD) programming on now TV. Starting in August 2007, customers can pre-register for now TV's HD service and enjoy Barclays Premier League (BPL) matches in spectacular style.

Subscribers will be able to view more than 90 of the best Barclays Premier League matches live in HD on now SPORTS HD channel - the first of its kind in Hong Kong.

now TV will also broadcast other major sports events in HD, including 38 Italian Serie A matches, 31 UEFA EURO 2008 clashes and the Stanley Cup Playoffs, All Star and Regular Season Games and the Stanley Cup from the National Hockey League's 2007/08 season.

As host broadcaster, now TV will produce - in HD format - Barclays Asia Trophy, featuring Liverpool, Portsmouth, Fulham and Hong Kong FA Cup winner South China. The broadcast will be picked up by more than 130 countries around the world.

now TV invites all Hong Kong soccer fans to sample this sensational High Definition viewing experience at a Barclays Asia Trophy viewing party to be staged at Maritime Square, in Tsing Yi, on July 27 and in selected PCCW Shops. The Hong Kong-based tournament will also be broadcast on now SPORTS 1 channel in Standard Definition (SD).

In addition, to further enhance the overall sports viewing experience, now TV will unveil an array of super value-added services to tie in with the launch of the 2007/08 season of the Barclays Premier League. For example, soccer enthusiasts will be able to view four live matches simultaneously via a split-screen function, as well as other interactive features that allow viewers to retrieve information on any BPL team or player by using the now TV remote control.

PCCW Television & Content Managing Director Dominic Leung said: "We are excited to be providing live HD programming on our platform. With the very latest HD equipment and 14 cameras ready to roll at Hong Kong Stadium, now TV will capture every exciting moment of the Barclays Asia Trophy."

He added: "Starting August 11, HD broadcasts of Barclays Premier League action represent the opening of another exciting new chapter in the now TV success story and taking sports viewing experience to a new level."

To view exciting now SPORTS HD programs, subscribers need to replace the standard set-top box with an HD version at the promotional rate of HK$38/month (regular price HK$78/month) for the STB rental and customers subscribing to the HK$488 Super Value Pack can enjoy this for free. The HD Sports package will be available to now TV Mega Sports Pack subscribers at at promotional rate of HK$68/mth (regular price HK$88/mth). There is a one-off charge for HD service installation and activation. Customers can call our hotline on 2888 0008 (press 1) or visit a PCCW shop for installation or pre-registration starting early August.

Also in August, now TV will unveil a dedicated HD channel, VOOM HD, which offers a large and varied collection of HD programming. Content includes adventure travel, fashion, luxury lifestyles, art, live concerts, action sports and video games.

More HD programming will be rolled out on now TV in phases.

17 July 2007

Samsung 40" IDTV LA40M81BD LCD TV with embedded H.264 decoder review sighted

OCWorkbench reviewed the Samsung 40" IDTV LA40M81BD LCD TV. It is the first LCD TV with embedded Digital (DVB-T) tuner that can decode H.264 broadcasts. The pictures posted were amazingly clear.

I am pondering where to buy it. It is priced at around ~SGD 6000 which is way too expensive just for the purpose of watch HD5 which is just a simulcast of Channel 5.

The review URL.

16 July 2007

Aztech 200Mbps HomePlug Powerline Adaptor readies for HD

The Aztech 200Mbps HomePlug Powerline Adaptor provides No New Wires communications to any rooms, over any powerline wires, at the speed of up to 200Mbps.

Targeted at the residential users, the 200Mbps HomePlug Powerline Adaptor is utilizing Intellon INT6000 high-speed powerline chipset. With transfer rates of 200Mbps, the HomePlug Powerline Adaptor can easily support full multimedia home networking throughout the whole house including simultaneous High Definition (HD) and Standard Definition (SD) video distribution, whole-house audio, Voice Over IP and high speed Internet in addition to data networking. The 200Mbps HomePlug Powerline Adaptor uses the power lines already installed in a home as a path to transmit digital data, voice, audio and video between devices.

Enhanced Quality of Service (QOS) also provides the guaranteed bandwidth reservations for multimedia payloads including TV over IP (IPTV), higher data rate broadband sharing, Online-Gaming, VoIP Calls, extending Wireless LANs coverage, Audio-Video transmission across the network as well as Network camera connectivity.

The 200Mbps HomePlug Powerline Adaptor is a plug and play solution that can be used wherever there is a wall socket, acting just like a physical network cable, streaming bandwidth to any room in the house. I t comes with a 128-bit AES encryption ensuring that your network communications is free from eavesdroppers and hackers. The Auto MDI/MDIX functionality of the HL108E also simplifies and ensures a hassle free installation.

PC makers continue to develop laptops with HDTV capabilities

PC manufacturers are continuing to push the development of HDTV capabilities in their desktop and laptop computers. Gateway and AMD are the latest companies to embrace high-definition technology with both arms.

Gateway has announced its M-Series and T-Series laptop ranges, which both come HDTV Ready. And, AMD is launching its TV Wonder 650 Combo PCIe – a plug and play device that allows any compatible PC to receive locally available satellite and cable programming, including HDTV channels.

Gateway's line up features PCs with HDMI outputs, optional ATI graphics, Blu-ray or HD-DVD drives and wireless connectivity – and gateway is pushing to have HDTV integrated into its laptops. The M-Series comes with a high-resolution (1920x1200) 15in screen, while the T-Series features a slightly smaller 14in screen – not large enough for home cinema but ideal if you're on the move.

While you'll still have to subscribe to HDTV services using AMD's TV Wonder 650 device, free to air HD broadcasts should be accessibly…if they ever arrive. And, with its external ATI TV Wonder 600 USB the device will also be able to record programmes to DVR too.


Singapore's QMAX pushes speed envelope of wireless broadband to 1Mbps

Singapore's only Wimax Operator Qmax has upped its speed limits to 1Mbps. Previously it only offer plans of Q256K and Q512K at SGD11.90 and SGD21.90 with 1 yr contract.

The new subscription plan for Q1Mbps is at SGD 37.45 and there is no contract involved. You have to pay upfronta One Time Charge (OTC) activation fee of SGD74.80.

All plans are inclusive of 7% GST and they
Product Price: No Contract Subscription : Q1Mbps ($ 37.45)
One Year Subscription Plan: Q256K ($ 11.90) , Q512K ($ 21.90)

Considering the pricing, it is very competitive as Singtel now offers ADSL 1Mbps around SGD 30-33 for 1 or 2 yrs contract. M1 Broadband on the other hand offers HSDPA service with 6 mths contract at SGD 22 for 384Kbps and SGD 38 for 1.8Mbps.

Both M1 Broadband and Qmax do not require any existing phone line or cable. Thus, if you do not already have a fix line and paying SGD 8 a mth, the wireless plans are way cheaper.

So which broadband plan will you choose ?


Digital U coming to DVB-T

Lately I overheard a reseller saying that Channel U will go Digital very soon. It is said to be scheduled by September.

Well, although it goes digital, it is still SD. I wonder when we will see a real H.264 HD channel on air. Currently HD5 is simulcast from Ch 5 with upscaled video.

07 July 2007

Samsung to lanuch cheap hybrid hddvd/bluray player soon

Washington, D.C. (July 5, 2007) -- Samsung yesterday announced that it will launch a dual format High-Definition player in late fall.

The company hopes that the set-top, which will play both Blu-ray discs and HD DVDs, will appeal to consumers confused about which format to choose in the high-def war.

Samsung's player (model: BDP-UP5000) will be the second on the market, following LG's dual-format player which was introduced earlier this year.
But unlike LG's player, which carries a whopping $1199 price tag, Samsung said its player would cost less than $600, according to several online reports.

That's roughly $50-$100 more than a standalone Sony Blu-ray player ($499), which is the cheapest Blu-ray set-top on the market. Toshiba's entry-level HD DVD player now costs $299.

At less than $600, Samsung believes its player could find a niche, although it's likely that standalone Blu-ray and HD DVD player prices will fall further in the coming months.

Samsung said the dual-format player would support all the features available on both Blu-ray and HD DVD, including Net-based material accessed via an Ethernet connection.

04 July 2007

Samsung M8 LCD also has clouding issue

Just as I thought the high end expensive models do not have clouding issue (that is, greyish screen when there is no signal), I noticed that Samsung also have this issue, it is just that it is not that apparent.

It is hardly noticable if you use the RF tuner to switch channels or change mode. This is because, they replace it with a bright blue screen.

If you use a starhub set top box to switch between channels in a dim room, you would notice split seconds of greyish background and some uneven brightness. This can be resolved if you choose to set the power saving mode. I suspect it actually dims down the backlight so that it won't look too bright.

Other than that, the M8 display is excellent for a 1920x1080 FULL HD display. The 3 HDMI ports also makes it one of the future proof tv sets.