Internet Protocol Television due to be launched


Internet Protocol Television due to be launched

The digital set-top box arm of Samart Corporation, Samart Engineering, has announced it intends to launch Android-based Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) boxes onto the local market in the early part of 2015.

The internet TV set-top box will allow viewers to watch television series and access on-demand or pay-per-view shows. The high-definition IPTV box, priced at 3,000 baht, combines Android-supported services and chipset-supported video coding, thereby enabling high-quality video on the screen.

The box can be connected to the internet or WiFi at home, and requires a download speed of 2 Mbps or faster.

Samart Engineering said the company is in talks with a number of content developers in the hopes of collaborating on an IPTV service.

If all goes to plan, Samart Engineering expects to see a doubling of net profit for the next financial year, to about 60 million baht. This will be drawn from expected gross revenue of 1.8 million, which would be double the revenue from the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

Samart Engineering draws 60 percent of its revenue by way of its set-top box sales, 30 percent from antennas and the remaining 10 percent from aluminium boxes for storing electronic equipment.

A spokesperson for Samart Engineering said the company had missed its 2014 fiscal year target of one million set-top box sales, reaching only 900,000 or so. Yet antenna sales had exceeded their initial target, reaching sales of one million.

The company believes its set-top boxes will account for a minimum of 20 percent of the 4.9 million coupons distributed by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC).

The NBTC began mailing digital set-top box subsidy vouchers valued at 690 baht each to 14.1 million households across Thailand in October 2014. More than 6.6 million had been posted by the end of November.

The coupons can be used by householders to purchase set-top boxes made by a variety of companies and in various price ranges, although the standard cost is 690 baht.

Residents can also use the vouchers to purchase a new TV set, just paying the difference for whatever size and brand they choose.

Set-top boxes for terrestrial digital TV will help viewers see a clearer picture under the new digital broadcasting standards introduced by the government.

The company claims the sales target for set-top boxes was missed because of the three-month delay in distributing the subsidy coupons and the concomitant slowness of the distribution.

Another problem is the general lack of public awareness regarding the details of the digital transition and the coupon subsidy. This has meant set-top box sales have been impeded and the Samart spokesperson urged the NBTC to launch a national campaign to build awareness.