Wed, Oct 04, 2006 - Page 11 News List

New digital TV content provider enters the market with @TV site

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The thriving Internet TV market has attracted a new local vendor.

Tze Fong Technology Co (澤峰科技), an online digital content provider, unveiled its "@TV" Web site yesterday -- an Internet protocol television (IPTV) service boasting up to 100 channels of entertainment and shopping.

The service consists mainly of commercial channels with each channel featuring a vendor's merchandise. There are also pay-per-view channels where consumers can access education-related programs, as well as the latest Hollywood or Asian movies and serials.

Users have to buy a set-top box, which is manufactured by Tatung Co (大同) and retails at NT$26,000 (US$785). There will be no monthly subscription fees, said Alan Fann (范振源), the company's CEO, at a press conference.

The box, which has a storage capacity of 80 gigabytes, is connected to the Internet via a broadband connection. The company is confident it will sell 20,000 units by the end of the year and 200,000 units next year, Fann said.

Tze Fong is a newcomer to the digital TV market and faces strong competition from industry veterans Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) and Webs-tv.net (網絡數碼).

Chunghwa has been trying to beef up its low subscriber base for its multimedia-on-demand (MOD) service, which was launched in 2004 and includes 33 channels.

The telecom operator hopes to increase its target base to 300,000 by the end of the year. There were 192,000 household subscribers in August.

The company is mulling plans to cooperate with Hong Kong-based PCCW Ltd (電訊盈科) to introduce the latter's Network of the World (NOW) broadband TV service, which has exclusive rights to HBO, ESPN and other international channels in Hong Kong.

Webs-tv.net, the country's largest online multimedia service provider, is expecting paid members to grow to 1 million by year's end from the current 850,000. The company announced a merger with Yam Digital Co (蕃薯藤數位科技) in August.

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