TrueVisions offers HD satellite box
TrueVisions, the country’s leading pay-TV operator, has stimulated the satellite TV market by launching its C-band set-top box yesterday to broaden the free-view subscriber base and meet its target of 6 million households within three years.
“The C-band satellite dish is our pilot project this year to cash in on the mass market,” said Birathon Kasemsri Na Ayudhaya, head of commercial and business development.
Some 70% of Thai households use satellite to watch TV, of which 20% view using KU-band satellites and 80% the C-band system. KU-band viewers are mostly in urban areas, while rural residents prefer C-band satellite dishes.
TrueVisions introduced a high-definition (HD) set-top box called True Digital HD that has no monthly fees. The box is priced at 1,690 baht.
Mr Birathon said TrueVisions rented a C-band transponder on Thaicom 5 satellite, which now broadcasts more than 200 free-view channels and nine HD channels, including TrueVisions-produced channels and some digital TV options such as Thairath TV, Channel 7, TNN24, True Sport HD2 and True Film HD.
C-band technology provides more capacity so True Digital HD can offer a variety of channels, including those from neighbouring countries, allowing TrueVisions to accommodate diverse subscriber demand. Subscribers can also top up with additional packages for an extra 90 baht monthly fee.
Mr Birathon said True Corporation’s convergence strategy was successful in drawing in new free-view subscribers last year. It plans to continue the strategy, allowing TrueVisions subscribers to turn their packages into True Move H’s data packages as well as watch TV via its over-the-top service TrueVisions Anywhere for free.
Only two satellite TV network providers, PSI Holding and CTH, used to sell HD boxes for the C-band system. However, their sales last year missed their targets, with only 200,000 such boxes currently available in Thailand.
TrueVisions is optimistic about HD technology, seeing it as the future of broadcasting. HD TV will gradually replace standard-definition TV, so TrueVisions wants to act now.
It set an aggressive sales target of 6 million True Digital HD boxes over three years.
“This is just the beginning of TrueVisions shaking up the TV industry this year,” he said.
The company has outlined its policy of launching three new set-top box models this year to suit different target customers. It aims to have 5 million subscribers by the year-end, up from 3 million currently.
Birathon Kasemsri Na Ayudhaya (second right), TrueVisions’ head of commercial and business development, poses with other executives and actor Jesadaporn Pholdee (centre) to introduce the True Digital HD box for C-band satellites.