Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信), the nation's biggest telecom operator, said yesterday it hopes to broadcast TV programs via broadband networks using Microsoft Corp's Internet television software as part of a broader plan to expand its TV business.
Chunghwa Telecom is set to sign a memorandum of understanding with Microsoft today to jointly explore the digital home market, Chang Yi-fong (
"Under the agreement, Chunghwa Telecom will participate in the initial-stage trial of Microsoft's Internet TV software, dubbed `Microsoft TV,'" Chang said.
Some big names in the telecom industry were collaborating with Microsoft in developing the Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) business and Chunghwa Telecom hoped to gain a better understanding of Microsoft's product, Chang said.
Chungwha Telecom currently delivers its digital TV programs using set-top boxes based on French-US telecom equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent's IPTV platform, and plans to purchase another 150,000 of the units next month.
Chang declined to comment on how much the telecom operator would need to spend to replace all of its Alcatel-Lucent IPTV equipment.
"We are evaluating different possibilities including using both platforms," Chang said.
To improve its digital content to compete with cable TV operators, Chunghwa Telecom last month acquired a major stake in the local content aggregator Elta Technology Co Ltd (愛爾達科技) and animation company Spring House Entertainment Inc (春水堂科技) last summer.
Chunghwa Telecom is hoping to increase its number of IPTV subscribers to around 600,000 this year, from a base of 310,000, Chang said.
This should allow the company to make a profit on the service since it had previously estimated that it would need to attract 500,000 subscribers to break even.
The IPTV business currently accounts for a minimal portion of the telecom operator's total revenues at NT$46.32 billion (US$1.39 billion) for the first three months of the year.
Shares of Chunghwa Telecom declined by 0.63 percent to close at NT$62.9 on the Taiwan Stock Exchange yesterday, underperforming the benchmark TAIEX index's 1.34-percent gain.
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