Singapore, 29 May 2004 – TV viewing will never be the same again as StarHub, Singapore’s innovative info-communications and media company, launched its Digital Cable service this morning, which will allow StarHub to offer interactive applications and even more quality international cable TV channels to Singapore viewers.
“With the launch of StarHub’s Digital Cable, viewers no longer need to be passive TV watchers. Their relationship with their television set will be transformed forever,” enthused Mr Mike Reynolds, Head of Consumer Markets, StarHub. “We are very excited with our roll out of D igital Cable as this will further enrich our customers’ experience by providing even more choice and flexibility to StarHub’s cable TV services. By leveraging on our cable network that reaches 99 per cent of Singapore households, StarHub's strategic intent is to offer a comprehensive range of services to meet the different lifestyle needs of our customers.”
Innovative Interactive Features Made Possible By Digital Cable
One of the exciting applications offered by StarHub CableTV’s Digital Cable is eTV (enhanced TV), which allows viewers to take part in polling and contests via SMS while watching selected TV programmes. Viewers who subscribe to StarHub CableTV’s Sports group and Digital Cable can have their first taste of eTV during the telecast of UEFA EURO 2004TM on Channel 21, from 12 June to 4 July 2004.
With Digital Cable’s Info Bar application, viewers will enjoy quick and easy access to information such as names, synopses and cast lists of the programmes being aired and the upcoming programmes, with the touch of a button on the remote control. They can also gain access to three-day programme schedules of all StarHub CableTV channels using the On-screen TV Guide option. For channels offering Chinese content, such as VV Drama and E City, viewers can choose to read programme information in Chinese.
With Quick Surf, those who want to know the programming content in the other channels no longer have to worry about missing the action on the current channel that they are watching. This application enables users to access the Info Bar for all StarHub CableTV channels, without any disruption to the channel being viewed.
Viewers who love channel surfing will particularly enjoy Video Mosaic, which provides a quick visual search of programmes being aired on all available channels, by displaying the content of 16 channels on a single screen.
With Programme Alert and Auto-Tune Setting, viewers will not miss their favourite programmes again. Programme Alert enables the setting of reminder alerts for as many as four programmes, while the Auto-Tune Setting allows the digital set-top box to automatically switch to a pre-selected programme when it is aired.
Following the success of HubTV - Singapore’s first interactive SMS/MMS channel - launched in 2003, StarHub will introduce Chat as part of its Digital Cable service. Subscribers of Digital Cable can interact with like-minded viewers via SMS and MMS using their mobile phones. Presently, there are three chat rooms with different themes to choose from – Food, Sports and TV Programmes.
Other features include Genre Search, Last Channel Recall, Favourite Channel Setting, Parental Lock Setting, Recording Function, PIN Number, Self Help and Games.
“StarHub has harnessed technology to offer our customers the opportunity to hub with us across multiple platforms - cable TV, broadband Internet and mobile communications services. The launch of StarHub’s Digital Cable service will provide an even better hubbing experience as our customers will be able to watch, surf and chat via a single digital cable platform,” added Mr Reynolds.
61 Channels On Digital Platform
A Digital Cable customer is able to access 61 channels at launch, with more to come in the future. StarHub presently carries 50 channels on its cable TV platform, including seven local free-to-air channels. Following the launch of Digital Cable on StarHub CableTV, viewers will be able to select from an array of 11 additional international channels covering classic movies, soundtracks, entertainment news, health, science, cricket, reality shows as well as programmes from Korea and Australia.
“The introduction of the new international channels should come as welcome news for local TV viewers. We have always wanted to expand our channel line-up, but were limited by the capacity of the analogue platform. We are glad that with the increased capacity made possible by the digital platform, we are able to delight our customers and further enhance their viewing pleasure by offering new and exciting channels,” said Ms Sandie Lee, StarHub’s Senior Vice President, Cable TV services.
The new channels that local viewers can look forward to at launch are Turner Classic Movies, ABC Asia Pacific - Australia, Arirang TV, Discovery Health, Discovery Science, Discovery H&L, E! Entertainment, Soundtrack Channel, MGM, Reality TV and ESPN STAR Sports Cricket. In addition, three channels that were previously offered on StarHub CableTV’s analogue platform will be migrated to the digital tier. They are Zee TV, VOA-TV (formerly known as WorldNet) and Deutsche Welle.
These 14 channels are grouped under five categories – Specialty Channels, International Channels, Sports Extra, Digital Group – Education Digital, and Digital Group – Entertainment Digital.
In place of Zee TV on the Asia Channels group (analogue), StarHub will launch Star Plus, a popular Hindi channel, on 2 August 2004.
Digital Cable Subscription
Those interested to sign up for StarHub’s Digital Cable has to subscribe to a minimum of three StarHub CableTV basic groups, and at least one channel on the Digital Tier.