25 July 2008

DVB-H broadcasts coming to Singapore on all 3 telcos M1, Starhub and Singtel

OCWorkbench reports that the three local telecommunications service providers M1, SingTel and StarHub, together with the national broadcaster MediaCorp, will jointly conduct a consumer mobile TV trial using Digital Video Broadcasting - Handheld (DVB-H) technology next month.

The DVB-H platform delivers broadcast services to mobile devices, offering users superior picture quality and a marked improvement to their mobile TV experience.

Some 300 customers of the three telcos are expected to participate in this trial spanning over three months. Participation is by invitation only.

Trialists will be able to view six dedicated channels during the trial and enjoy a variety of television programmes

There will be a wide range of quality programming across different genres. Sports fans will enjoy comprehensive coverage of the Beijing Olympics on TV Mobile, as well as all the action from Barclays Premier League on StarHub's Football Channel.

Chinese viewers will be treated to Cantonese movies from Singapore’s first Cantonese movie channel - SingTel mio TV’s Mei Ah Movies Channel, as well as the simulcast of StarHub's TVBS News in August, and CTI in September. News maniacs can access the simulcast Channel News Asia for international news and CNBC for their financial updates. Trialists will also get to enjoy the quality documentaries from The History Channel by StarHub in October.

Selected programmes from Kids Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Channel 8 and Channel U will also be shown on the two other composite channels.

“The convergence of broadcast media and telecommunications technologies is ably demonstrated on the DVB-H platform and this trial with our business and consumer partners will help us bridge the vital human factor. We hope to better understand consumer preferences and behaviour that will enable us to define realistic service standards for the exciting new world of mobile TV,” said Neil Montefiore, Chief Executive Officer, M1.

“We are very pleased to be able to be involved in this project that heralds another step forward in entertainment on the go,” said Mr Quek Peck Leng, Executive Vice President, Consumer Group, SingTel. “Our mio TV on Mobile service enables customers to conveniently access mio TV content wherever they are, and DVB-H will allow even more features. We are also very pleased that our content partner Mei Ah has been selected as one of the channels that will be used during the trial.”

"Mobile TV is a relatively recent concept now that newer wireless technologies are able to deliver high quality transmissions. The DVB-H platform is one of the major platforms designed to optimise the delivery of broadcast content over mobile devices, and this trial is designed to gather feedback on user acceptance and interest in mobile TV viewing," Terry Clontz, CEO of StarHub said.

“MediaCorp pioneered DVB-H consumer trials in Singapore some 4 years ago. From our past experience, the availability of handsets is paramount to the service taking off. I am happy that our efforts to have all 3 Singapore telcos onboard the trial will offer better quality and wider choice of services to our customers and, at the same time, allow us to explore viable business models,” says Lucas Chow, CEO MediaCorp.

Participants of the trial will be using the Samsung P-960 handsets and the trial is also supported by technology partners, Alcatel-Lucent and Gemalto.


24 July 2008

Singtel Mio tv will show US dramas one day after screening in US

Good news for US Drama viewers, you will soon be able to view them almost concurrently with the US audiences.

To me, it doesn't matter as I don't watch even local CH 5 for such dramas. Secondly, all these dramas would most likely be screened in SD anyway.

I have terminated my mio tv and returned the box. Problems with HDMI remains unresolved since Aug 2007. Secondly, Singtel is exceptionally stingy, giving the Formosa TV VOD which my family enjoyed with only 10 episodes per month. How is one ever going to complete the 350 episode of the drama "爱". The Cantonese drama on the other VOD has 200+ episodes, they just stopped at episode 100 around MARCH. I wonder what is Singtel doing?

SingTel announces first-in-the-world landmark deal with major US studios

Catch the largest volume of popular latest US TV hits on mio TV anytime on demand as early as 24 hrs after US broadcast

Singapore, 23 July 2008 – Singapore Telecommunications Limited (SingTel) today announced that it has signed a groundbreaking deal with three major studios – Disney-ABC International Television, Twentieth Century Fox and Warner Bros. International Television Distribution - that will make it possible for its mio TV service to screen over 50 top US series as early as 24 hours after their US premiere.

SingTel’s mio TV will be the first IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) operator in the world to offer such a volume of top US series within a day of their US telecast on a subscription-based model, and this will provide the first exhibition of such licensed series in Singapore.

This service, called Season Pass, will launch this September and the availability of programming will follow the US TV calendar. mio TV will offer the latest seasons of popular American TV series debuting in US from September this year such as Grey’s Anatomy, Lost, Criminal Minds, Prison Break, Bones, 24, Ugly Betty, Without a Trace, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Supernatural, Samantha Who? and many more.

"This agreement comes at a great time as we are celebrating mio TV’s first anniversary. Our subscribers will now have more exciting channels and programmes to look forward to,” said Mr Allen Lew, SingTel’s CEO Singapore.

“Consumers are getting increasingly demanding. They want to get the latest TV hits ahead of anyone else and mio TV is filling this gap with this latest offering. We see this as the next big wave of content consumption in Singapore,” he added.

“Singapore fans will be the first in Asia to get their must-watch shows like Lost and Grey’s Anatomy so close to the US air date. At Disney-ABC we understand that consumers want convenience and flexibility to watch their favourite shows when and how they want. By partnering with a new media pioneer such as SingTel’s mio TV, we keep viewers needs front-and-centre,” said Mr Rob Gilby, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Disney-ABC International Television (Asia Pacific).


To whet subscribers’ appetites, starting today mio TV is also announcing another exciting new offering called Favourites-on-Demand. This on-demand service allows customers to watch ten popular TV series between now and 31 October.

Available over three months at S$9.99 per month (including GST), Favourites-on-Demand will show all time favourites like Smallville, Nip/Tuck, Supernatural, The Bachelor, Cold Case and Without a Trace. Don’t miss out on the exclusive Singapore TV premiere of Gossip Girl and other new series like Chuck, Pushing Daisies and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, all on demand.

“mio TV’s Favourites-On-Demand provides our customers with a convenient way to catch up with their favourite TV shows whenever they want, and as many times as they want to,” said Mr Lew.

“We have chosen series across genres that are popular with TV viewers. The difference is that they enjoy unlimited on-demand viewing for a monthly subscription fee, instead of being forced into a fixed schedule through scheduled programming as with other TV platforms.”

SingTel had 45,000 mio TV customers as at 30 June 2008

15 July 2008

StarHub to roll out more HDTV content, Launch of HD5 on 28 July; Sports HD in Sports Group on 14 August; fifth HD channel in coming months

StarHub to roll out more HDTV content
Launch of HD5 on 28 July
Launch of Sports HD in Sports Group on 14 August
Launch of a fifth HD channel in coming months

Singapore, 15 July 2008 - StarHub, Singapore's leading pay TV operator in Singapore, has announced plans to offer more High Definition (HD) content on local television. By the end of 2008, StarHub will carry five HD channels on StarHub Digital Cable, its pay TV platform.

"StarHub was the first pay TV operator to offer commercial HDTV services in Southeast Asia in January 2007, and we are glad to see an increasing supply and demand for HD content since then. StarHub is committed to offer quality content to local viewers and we remain Singapore's top pay TV provider of content with more than 150 channels carried on our platform," said Patrick Lim, StarHub's Head of Cable TV Services.

From 28 July, StarHub Digital Cable customers will have access to MediaCorp's HD5 on StarHub Channel 300. HD5 will be available at no extra cost to all customers with an HD-ready TV set and StarHub's HD set-top box.

Mr Lim elaborated, "Some of our customers have expressed interest in HD5 and requested for StarHub to carry the channel on our cable TV platform so that they have a convenient means of accessing it. We're glad that we are able to make their wish come true! This is timely as our customers will be able to catch daily doses of the much-anticipated Olympics 2008 in full HD splendour."

From 14 August, StarHub Digital Cable's Sports Group customers with a HD set-top box will be able to enjoy Sports HD (Channel 304) at no additional subscription cost! Sports HD will air 92 Barclays Premier League matches for the new 2008/09 season and weekly US PGA Tour events in high definition. Following StarHub's plan to make Sports HD available to all Sports Group customers, the transmission of HD SHOWCASE (Channel 303) will cease from August.

"We are always on the lookout for ways to add value to our Sports Group," Mr Lim added. "In the past year, we have added six channels to the group. With the introduction of Sports HD in August, the number of channels in the Sports Group will be raised to 11, and this represents a 175 percent increase in the content enjoyed by our Sports Group customers in the past 12 months!"

StarHub presently offers three HD channels - NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CHANNEL HD (Channel 301), Discovery HD (Channel 302) and HD SHOWCASE. Following the launch of HD5 in July, and introduction of Sports HD and discontinuation of HD Showcase in August, StarHub has plans to launch another HD channel in the coming months. This will bring StarHub's total of HD channels to five by end 2008. More details on the new channel will be announced at a later date.

13 July 2008

Apple iPhone 3G versus LG Viewty, Samsung Omnia and HTC Touch Diamond

Lately, I have been thinking of geting a touch screen phone. It seems that after Iphone Generation 1, all other manufacturers have come out with various designs using a touch screen interface.

In fact, before Apple iPhone, LG was the first with a touch interface, that is with the LG Chocolate. New incarnations of the touch screen phones from LG includes the LG Viewty which has a full touchs creen interface. There is also a Windows Mobile 6.1 LG KS20 which is also touch screen/stylus operated phone. The newest is the LG Secret also has a similar kind. The LG all come with HSDPA of 7.2mbps.

On the Samsung front, there is the Samsung Omnia SGH-i900. This phone is also based on the Windows Mobile 6.1 and has a touch screen interface with rotation sensor. It also has GPS, Divx playback and tv out + HSDPA of up to 7.2mbps all built into the phone.

The other competitor is the HTC Touch Diamond. It has the best GUI among all the Windows Mobile 6 devices so far. One thing lacking is the lacking of external storage support.

So, what about the iphone 3G ? Basically, it does not have a front lens for video conferencing, it does not indicate what speed the HSDPA runs at. Is it 1.8mbps or 3.6mbps. It is not clearly specified in it's spec sheet. Most importantly, this phone doesn't allow you to videos at all! Really strange.

Here are some videos of the Apple iPhone 3G, Samsung Omnia, HTC Touch Diamond I found on the net. I posted it here for your refernece. Feel free to comment on the topic.