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Thursday April 21, 2011

Astro, Time dotCom launch IPTV service

New offering, bundled with broadband, starts from RM128

KUALA LUMPUR: Pay television operator, Astro All Asia Networks Plc (Astro) has officially embarked on the high definition Internet protocol television (IPTV) segment in collaboration with fibre network company Time dotCom Bhd (TdC).

The new service, which was bundled together with broadband, would start from RM128, Astro Malaysia chief executive officer Datuk Rohana Rozhan said at the launch of the service yesterday.

Called the Astro B.yond IPTV, the service will allow customers to watch a multiplay of Astro channels in high definition with personal video recording and video-on-demand services, which will be delivered via TdC's 100% fibre broadband service.

“The service will be progressively available to 167,000 high rise residences in the Klang Valley and Penang by the end of the year,” Rohana said.

TIME dotCom Bhd CEO Afzal Abdul Rahim and Datuk Rohana Rozhan at the launch of Astro B.yond IPT

These homes have been deprived of high definition services since Astro first launched its Astro B.yond decoders at end December 2009.

Currently, the IPTV service is available at 60 high rise condominiums , which works out to about 11,000 homes within the selected areas of Mont Kiara, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, Bangsar and Penang.

Rohana said Astro might work with other broadband service providers to extend the new service to landed homes but did not elaborate.

Meanwhile, in a note to clients yesterday after the launch, OSK Research said Astro's IPTV offering followed that of Maxis Bhd which had also recently launched its own IPTV service (available at over 700,000 premises mostly within the Klang Valley) on Telekom Malaysia Bhd's (TM) high speed broadband (HSBB) network.

“We note that TM's own IPTV-broadband offering, Unifi has captured over 60,000 customers since the commercial launch in March 2010 and is available in 800,000 homes,” the research house said.

OSK said it believed that Astro posed an indirect threat to TM's Unifi in areas where subscribers already had existing subscription to Astro's satellite service, which has a near 50% share of the pay-TV market.