digital television, movies, online, Philippines, television, video on demand, VOD service

iWhat?: iWant Encounters Loading Issues Upon Launch

The new iWant is off to a rather inauspicious start.

Hours into its highly anticipated launch last November 17, iWant encountered a temporary slowdown caused by high volume of users. Many of them downloaded the new iWant in order to watch some of its new and original content, which included the hotly-discussed film ‘Glorious’ featuring a viral kissing scene involving lead stars Angel Aquino and Tony Labrusca.

In response, iWant issued a statement saying that they are increasing capacity in order to meet the demands of its users. As of 10:00 p.m., the iWant app is now updated to version 4.0.2.

iWant also reported that the app now has over one million downloads and is used by over 10,000 users per hour. But with so many consumers knocking on the door, it was clear that ABS-CBN is not prepared for such high demand.

If the old iWant TV was smooth sailing to watch at times, then the same cannot be said to its successor. With some additional content such as the aforementioned original films and music to complement on-demand programs, films and live streams, ABS-CBN’s digital team found themselves in a conundrum over the possible increase in consumer demand.

Suffice to say, they failed to anticipate what took place next. And unfortunately for users of iWant (myself included), they took notice by bombarding iWant’s social media pages with plenty of complaints.

This is already the third day of iWant’s official operations and so far the ‘temporary slowdown’ that was revealed Saturday continues to linger. Even I began to question the capabilities of the new iWant, especially after my attempt to watch ANC’s live stream was constantly disrupted despite enjoying a strong internet connection.

Call it growing pains or simply impatience. For now, ABS-CBN’s digital team is working round the clock to improve and increase the capacity of iWant, but this is going to be a painful ordeal, so users must wait and see what happens in the next several days.

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digital television, entertainment, Philippines, television

By Popular Demand: ABS-CBN TVPlus Adds New Channels

Take it away, Coco Martin.

The ‘Ang Probinsyano’ star (along with Sarah Geronimo) has been the face of the ABS-CBN TVPlus commercials since the device made its public debut three years earlier. And after selling over five million units, viewers and purchasers will get a little more bang for their buck thanks to new exclusive channels that TVPlus launched last Monday.

The five new channels are as follows:

O Shopping

The only permanent addition to the list, O Shopping is a home TV shopping channel that resulted from a joint venture between ABS-CBN and CJ ENM Company Limited. The channel was launched in 2013 and has since made its presence felt across various media.

Aside from its current place on TVPlus Channel 8, O Shopping can still be seen on ABS-CBN (Channel 1 on TVPlus), Yey! (Channel 4 on TVPlus) and Knowledge Channel (Channel 5 on TVPlus) during the late-night hours. In addition, O Shopping can be seen on BEAM as one of its subchannels.

Asianovela Channel

As the name suggests, this channel currently airs Asian dramas and movies dubbed in Filipino and uncut. The Asianovela Channel can be accessed on TVPlus Channel 9.

Some of the programs aired on the Asianovela Channel were also previously broadcast on ABS-CBN as part of the First and True Home of Asianovelas block. The channel also introduces some never-before-aired series as well, albeit infrequently.

Movie Central

For those who want to see Hollywood films aired in its original English language, Movie Central is the place to watch. The channel is currently found on TVPlus Channel 10.

Movie Central airs a wide variety of genres, ranging from action, comedy, drama, romance to suspense, animation, adventure and sci-fi flicks. It is the digital TV equivalent to HBO and Fox Movies on cable.

Jeepney TV

Originally seen exclusively on SkyCable since 2012, Jeepney TV will now be accessed on TVPlus as well. Jeepney TV can be seen on TVPlus Channel 11.

The channel is home to ABS-CBN’s classic programs that viewers can relive over and over again. It also airs more recent episodes of ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs programs by demand.

MYX

Another SkyCable exclusive channel, MYX was originally introduced to TVPlus as a blocktimer on the Kapamilya Box Office platform (TVPlus Channel 7). Now it can be seen 24/7 on TVPlus Channel 12.

MYX is a music channel that airs local and foreign music videos past and present. It also broadcasts non-music programs that showcase the latest trends in pop culture.

With the exception of O Shopping, the other four channels will be seen on a free trial basis until December 31, 2018. In addition, these five new channels will be available only to viewers in Metro Manila, Laguna, Cavite, Rizal and Metro Cebu, with a few other areas to be rolled out soon.

Regarding the future of these new channels, it will be up to ABS-CBN management to decide the next course of action. For now, enjoy the latest additions that ABS-CBN TVPlus can offer.

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digital television, entertainment, news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, Sports, television

ABS-CBN TVPlus Sales Reach 5 Million Units

Five million and counting.

ABS-CBN announced this week that sales of the groundbreaking ABS-CBN TVPlus black box has reached the 5-million mark. This will put the network on track to meet the six-million sales target by the end of the year.

The steady growth of ABS-CBN TVPlus can be attributed to its low price, availability of several digital-exclusive TV channels and clearer picture quality. The boxes only cost P1499 and with a corresponding ABS-CBN Mobile SIM card, consumers can access exclusive ABS-CBN digital channels in CineMo, Yey!, Knowledge Channel, DZMM TeleRadyo and Kapamilya Box Office (KBO).

While ABS-CBN TVPlus is mainly used at home, some public and private vehicle owners have also invested on the device to improve picture quality in their TV screens while on the go. Although ABS-CBN discourages the use of TVPlus in automobiles, it did not stop vehicle owners from trying to improve the viewing experience of riders.

TVPlus is currently available in 15 key locations, mainly concentrating in the Greater Manila Area, Cebu, Bacolod, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Benguet and Pangasinan. ABS-CBN is also looking to expand the current coverage area that TVPlus encompasses, with the announcement coming in the near future.

ABS-CBN also launched a new generation TVPlus box that is only available in Cebu and Davao. Sold for P2999, it now comes with a wifi stick that will enable customers to access the internet through ABS-CBN Mobile.

So far, the lack of competition in the digital TV sector has enabled ABS-CBN TVPlus to pull away in terms of sales. However, rivals GMA Network and Solar Entertainment are currently in the process of creating their own digital devices, which means that in a few years, one expect a dogfight between the three broadcast giants and their digital TV offerings.

For more information on ABS-CBN TVPlus, click this highlighted link.

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digital television, entertainment, lifestyle, news, online, Philippines, television, video on demand, VOD service

At Last: GMA Enters Digital Territory with Online-Exclusive Shows

Better late than never.

After witnessing rivals ABS-CBN and TV5 establish their online presence with a slew of internet-exclusive programs the past few years, GMA finally decided to join in the fun by penetrating the digital world. The start of 2018 saw GMA launch three online-exclusive shows as part of its GMA ONE series.

They are:

Adulting 

Hosted by Atom Araullo, this program teaches young viewers some tips and advice in making adult life meaningful. It also takes a look at Atom’s daily life where he deals with the various trials and tribulations of being an adult.

#Goals

Hosted by Gabbi Garcia, this program tackles various fashion and lifestyle-related topics that young viewers can relate to. It will also look into Gabbi’s everyday life as she goes deep into her kikay kit and explore her personal goals, beliefs, desires and tastes.

Fact or Fake

Hosted by Joseph Morong, this program divulges deep into the news and determines whether or not it is factual or fictitious. Joseph’s role as a news reporter will come in handy as he sorts out which news is true and which is not.

The three online-exclusive shows were first streamed on the official GMA Network website and on GMA’s official YouTube channel last Monday. It will stream every Monday at 5:00 p.m. thereafter.

About the only thing missing from the launch of the three programs is GMA’s own online video-on-demand service similar to ABS-CBN’s iWant TV platform. Although the Kapuso network joined forces with YouTube to bring in full episodes of classic teleseryes from years past, it was still not enough to satisfy its need to create its own website/app that would house most, if not all of its programs both on TV and online.

Still, step one of perhaps an even bigger objective for GMA is worth a start. Now if they can start looking towards a bigger picture in order to be at par with what ABS-CBN is doing.

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action, cable TV, digital television, satellite TV, television

CT Signs Off, Plus Dream Satellite TV Ends Service

Cable and satellite subscribers in the Philippines received some bad news to end 2017.

CT No More

At midnight of January 1st, Solar Entertainment-owned CT permanently signed off after six years on air. Its closure was due to low ratings and redundancy of its programming.

CT initially launched on the small screen as CHASE on December 21, 2011. The channel was then renamed twice in its run, first as Jack City and then to CT.

CT was first seen on free TV for a few years when Solar partnered with BEAM Channel 31 to carry the channel. That partnership ended in 2014 when BEAM decided to prioritize its growing number of digital channels, leading to Solar relegating CT to cable and satellite partners.

CT took a big hit in 2017 when Solar became involved in a carriage dispute with SkyCable regarding NBA broadcast rights. Consequently, CT became one of the few Solar entities dropped by SkyCable amid the controversy.

Following its closure, some of CT’s programs were moved to either ETC, 2nd Avenue or Jack TV.

Dream Shuts Down

Also at midnight of January 1st, subscribers of Dream Satellite TV were stunned to see the pioneering direct-to-home satellite television service cease its operations. Here is the statement of Dream with regards to the discontinuation of their service.

Dream Satellite TV was initially launched on April 22, 2001. It made Philippine television history as the first to offer direct-to-home satellite television subscription to its customers.

Unfortunately, Dream encountered numerous problems from the get-go. Despite gaining around 100,000 subscribers, the company faced mounting debts owing to lack of revenue and unpaid fees to other companies.

To make matters worse, newer satellite subscription services such as Cignal, Sky Direct and G Sat began to emerge from the scene. And with Dream offering an inferior channel lineup compared to its younger competitors, it had no chance of survival.

The good news for Dream’s displaced subscribers is that they may have the option to switch to any of the aforementioned satellite or cable TV services. The bad news though is that they need to shell out lots of money to switch to another provider, unless each of them will offer a compensation deal.

ABS-CBN sister company Creative Programs Inc. also announced that some of its channels will close shop this month. For more on this developing story, stay tuned on From the Tube this January.

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business, digital television, Philippines, television

TVplus Sells 2 Million Units, Plus GMA Continues DTT Preparations

A cheaper price tag of P1499 and the expansion to other key areas in the country has helped ABS-CBN TVplus reach the two million mark. (Photo credit: ABS-CBN)

A cheaper price tag of P1499 and the expansion to other key areas in the country helped ABS-CBN TVplus reach the two million mark. (Photo credit: ABS-CBN)

The ABS-CBN TVplus black box continues to sell like pancakes.

Parent company ABS-CBN recently announced that the sale of the TVplus box has reached two million units, thus surpassing its year-end target. The swift rise in sales was helped by the product’s cheaper price tag of P1499 (originally P2500, then P1999), as well as national expansion to key regions in the country.

ABS-CBN CEO and president Carlo Katigbak shared his enthusiasm for the TVplus box. According to Katigbak,

ABS-CBN TVplus continues to improve the Filipino’s viewing experience though digital quality broadcast and a transformative entertainment experience by offering more choices of channels and even opportunities to watch special TV events, greatly supporting our mission to serve the Filipino people.

Launched in February 2015, ABS-CBN TVplus carries a select number of major free TV networks, including ABS-CBN and S+A. It also carries ABS-CBN’s exclusive digital channels Yey!, CineMo, Knowledge Channel, and DZMM TeleRadyo, as well as pay-per-view channel Kapamilya Box Office (KBO).

Meanwhile, rival network GMA continues its planned transition to digital television. The network revealed that it plans to invest P416 million on transmitter facilities to aid in the migration process.

Previously, GMA announced its plan to invest P1.5 billion on digital equipment, which was lower than the P3 billion that ABS-CBN spends for its own digital migration. GMA also unveiled a prototype of its upcoming digital television product, which is expected to combine the capabilities of a digital receiver and a set-top box.

While ABS-CBN continues to make strides in the development of its digital television arm, it is clear that GMA is taking things slow. Considering that the Kapuso network has had a history of questionable investments and a poor management reputation, Felipe Gozon’s ‘conservative’ approach may be the hopeful solution for now.

Still, with the target towards shutdown of analog broadcasts in 2019 within reach, GMA may not have enough time to deal with the impending migration. Sooner or later, the Kapuso network must act now, otherwise every household may end up with an ABS-CBN TVplus box, leaving GMA with little room to grow.

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