27 March 2010

Starhub to regroup channels under different genres?

Starhub subscribers would have noticed some to the channels on their set top box. If you notice there are new channels 402 (International/Ethnic/FTA), 404 (Sports Channnels), Channel 446, Channel 515.

According to what we understand, Starhub intends to re-group the channels to various genres. e.g. Channel 300 series is already HD channel. So, maybe we will have Channel 400 series will be for Sports channels, free to air and Ethnic channels.

Perhaps Mandarin channels will also be regroup under another 3 digit number group.

Anyway, we have been seeing an advertisement on Starhub TV saying that there will be changes on 30th APR. I suppose that is the schedule date for the regrouping of the channels. Be ready to re-program your favourite channels on your set top box.

13 March 2010

Starhub and Singtel to carry each other's channels from September 2010 onwards

For those who have been crying foul of not being able to watch your EPL on Starhub, there is some good news and bad news for you.

From 12 Mar 2010, it is by law that Singtel and Starhub will carry each other's channels on their platform. This is good news but the bad thing is that it applies to newly acquired or recontracted licenses of the channels. Thus, EPL will still be on Singtel mio TV. When the contract ends, whoever gets the bid, the other operator will also carry the channel, so whoever wins the bid in 2014 makes no difference.

Mr Lui of MDA said "Content costs now constitute a significant percentage of pay TV operators' revenue, compared to international benchmarks. For example, SCV's content costs to revenue ratio has risen from 40 per cent prior to 2007 to close to 70 per cent today. This is much higher than the average 40 per cent for Pay TV operators in most other countries, including US, UK and Hong Kong.

"Secondly, Singapore suffers from a high degree of content fragmentation compared to other countries. Out of 179 channels today, only seven channels are common to both SCV and SingTel. An international benchmarking exercise using a group of 16 popular channels showed that Singapore was the only country with exclusive arrangements for all 16 channels.

"MDA's (Media Development Authority) review has concluded that this situation is unlikely to self-correct in the near future, and steps need to be taken to address this market failure".

So under the new Media Market Conduct Code, there will be a Public Interest Obligation. This means Pay TV providers must cross-carry each other's exclusive content.

For example, if SingTel acquires a new channel exclusively, it must make this channel available to StarHub. StarHub must carry this programme at the same time SingTel is airing it - and vice versa. StarHub also cannot make any modifications to the content. This includes all the advertisements and branding SingTel may have embedded into the programme. SingTel will have to pay StarHub to carry its exclusive content.

Something odd is that, in the above quoted example, Singtel will have to pay Starhub to carry its exclusive content ?? Shouldn't it be the other way round. For example, Singtel has the EPL exclusive rights and why should they pay Starhub to carry EPL ? It would be a bad business decision to do that.

There is also no mentioning of what sort of channels will be relayed to the other operator, would it be LIVE channels like CNN, BBC, CTI or dose it also include self packaged channels like VV DRAMA on Starhub ? What about the video on demand titles ? Some of these are also exclusive contents.

In fact, this new ruling will fit in place when NBN launches later this year. A universal set top box for all operators would be the way to go. MobileOne, being the only telecom operator without PAY TV would definitely benefit from this arrangment as it would be able to become a PAY TV operator almost instantly without worrying of getting exclusive contents since there is no more exclusivity in Singapore. Singtel will also benefit as Starhub holds the bulk of exclusive contents while Singtel only holds the EPL and ESPN.

07 March 2010

Singapore IT Show 2010 Price Lists, offers and jobs

Before you head down to Suntec for the offers, it is always good to check out what is in stored on Wednesday newspapers. Although the newspapers will have large print of ads, internet is still the fastest way to get hold of information.

Over here, I will provide a link to some preview reports and price lists sections for your reference and discussions :

OCWorkbench's IT 2010 price list and offers section

03 March 2010

Samsung sells 3D LED TV 3 mths ahead of SONY

From LCD TV to Full HD LED TV, and now we have 3D TV from both Sony and Samsung. Although both launch just one week of another, both uses similar technology and requires you to wear an active google or glasses which is powered by a tiny lithium battery.

Samsung surprises everyone with the C series of 3D TVs as they can upgrade your existing 2D contents to 3D. How do they do that ? I have no ideas. It seems that they are pretty confident on what they intend to sell by end of this month in Singapore and in South east asian and Australia/NZ 3 months ahead of the Sony's 3D BRAVIA LX900 series.

No details were released about how many googles will they bundle in and pricing is not available yet for C7000, C8000 and C9000 models.

Below is a presentation of the SAMSUNG 3D LED TV lanuch of the 3 models held at Suntec yesterday (video courtest of OCWorkbench).

Source : OCWorkbench