Astro has expanded its HD offerings by introducing eight new channels, bringing the total number of HD channels to 48. There are also two new standard definition channels appearing, as well as a video-on-demand option called Astro Plus. Astro HD customers should see the option to preview these new channels from now until the end of February 2015.
In just a few hours’ time, the greatest show on earth will be back once again. Yup, the FIFA World Cup 2014 is finally here and will be conquering the lives of many football fans out there for the next month.
It will all start with the kick-off of the tournament’s first match between the home team Brazil and Croatia at 4:00am Malaysian time, 13 June. Hence, we have come out with a quick guide for the tournament that covers from match schedules to TV channels as well as how to easily spot food joints that actually screen live World Cup matches.
So, jump in!
For the longest time, we have been wondering if TM’s HyppTV will be broadcasting matches from the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2014. After all, the IPTV service does offer plenty of football contents such as UEFA Champions League, and English Premier League (via collaboration with Astro). Well, TM has finally answered our question recently and…unfortunately, it turns out that the answer is no.
Not even through RTM Free-To-Air (FTA) channels that are also shown on HyppTV. So, whenever a World Cup 2014 match takes place on RTM’s TV 1 or TV 2, these channels will be blacked out on HyppTV.
I complain about the state of Malaysia’s internet like the rest of you. I have experienced the golden pastures of Korea and Japan, clocking ridiculous speeds in coffee shops and seeing that Speedtest needle redline like a a drift car attacking a course. I have experienced the time where not even an instagram picture would load while my phone proudly reported H+ with a smug satisfaction, like it wasn’t just H, it was better than that.
But when people were sharing this article from a daily that based on a study conducted by Ookla (of speedtest.net fame) proclaimed Malaysia to have, on average, slower (therefore worse) internet than neighbours Vietnam & Cambodia, even my jaded eyebrow was raised.
Today I rise to the defence of our internet. The numbers don’t tell the full story and lead us on a roundabout journey of self loathing and MCMC complaints when in fact, we are not doing so badly at all. The number at the end of a speedtest is not the be all and end all, being able to take the test in more places anywhere in the country, is.
So, by now you should know that the 2014 FIFA World Cup season pass on Astro is priced at RM 100. Of course, that’s unless you already subscribed to Astro’s Sports Pack before 30 April or Super Pack before 31 May – then you will have access for the tournament as part of your subscription without extra charges.
Astro apparently has also working on plenty of additional elements to add more value to the viewing experience of its World Cup coverage. In another words, Astro’s 2014 FIFA World Cup coverage is not just about those 64 live football matches from the tournament even though they are still the main attraction.
With only one more month to go before 2014 FIFA World Cup kicks off in Brazil, Astro has organized yet another media event/briefing for the tournament yesterday. In general, this particular event serves as a continuation to the initial FIFA World Cup launch that Astro has held back in November 2013.
Hence, most of the announcements that Astro has made at the World Cup briefing yesterday have been teased back at the initial briefing in November. Just that this time around, more lights have been shed on them including the actual pricing for the Football Pass will allow Astro customers without Sports Pack or SuperPack as well as NJOI owners to view World Cup broadcast.
As you can recall from our initial encounter over here, Astro is working on a new user interface (a.k.a the TV Guide or Electronic Programming Guide) for Astro B.yond customers. Well then, the wait is almost over as the satellite TV provider is ready to deploy the new interface to customers later this month.
I don’t remember when the last time Astro updated the user interface on its decoder but personally, I do feel that it needs some redesign to go along with high definition TVs that are already common in our market. As it turns out, the company has indeed been working on new UI for Astro B.yond decoder as shown in the image above.
While our sources are able to confirm that these images are indeed part of Astro B.yond’s new UI but as for now, we have yet to receive any official information or comments regarding the new UI from Astro. As far as we know, this set of UI has not yet been released to the public which is why we are slightly baffled on how it managed to appear on this particular decoder which belongs to one of our own team member.
Nevertheless, if your Astro B.yond decoder has received similar UI update (somehow), do let us know how it fares through the comments section. Meanwhile, hit on the Read More link below (if available) to check out the rest of the screenshots.
So, the news is finally out of the bag: Astro has agreed to supply selected contents to TM’s HyppTV thanks to what have been touted as a landmark collaboration between two of Malaysia’s most well-known corporations. As what we have reported earlier, part of the deal includes two Astro SuperSport HD channels which are available to HyppTV viewers starting from today onwards through HyppTV Sports Pack.
The deal also includes selected live English Premier League matches through these Astro Supersport HD channels. Additionally, selected NJOI contents are also involved in the agreement although the details regarding them are yet to be finalized by both companies.
According to this report by Star Biz as well as a confirmation by Astro’s CEO, Dato’ Rohana Rozhan, the duration of this agreement has been set to three years. Furthermore, the deal has also made TM as the new presenting sponsor for Malaysian Super League, Malaysia Premier League, FA Cup, and Malaysia Cup which are all aired through Astro Arena.
Unfortunately, the Astro Arena channel itself is not part of this deal according to Dato’ Rohana. TM’s Group CEO Tan Sri Dato’ Zamzamzairani Mohd Isa also pointed out that the Astro Supersport channels will not be available on the newly launched HyppTV Everywhere apps although they will still be shown on HyppTV for Streamyx 8Mbps and 4Mbps customers.
Tan Sri Dato’ Zamzamzairani also stated that the monthly fee of HyppTV Sports Pack will continue to remain at RM 30 until this September which will then be increased to RM 50 per month for new subscribers. Not to forget, existing HyppTV Sports Pack subscribers will receive both Astro SuperSports HD and Astro SuperSports 2 HD automatically.
All in all, we have to say that it is a very interesting collaboration indeed and might be beneficial to many consumers out there. Nevertheless, we do wonder how the agreement will affect the number of subscribers for Astro and TM’s HyppTV as well as the impact on business and operations of both companies.
An anonymous tipster has sent us the above screenshot which confirms the sports contents collaboration that Astro and TM have been working on. If you can recall, the official signing ceremony of the collaboration is going to take place today.
It appears that Astro Supersport HD and Astro Supersport 2 HD are now on TM’s HyppTV as the result of the deal. Interestingly, the channels are already live on HyppTV right now according to a quick check on my own personal HyppTV listing.
Our tipster added that the monthly fee for these new channels have been set at RM 40 each or they can also be obtained together as part of HyppTV’s Sports Pack for RM 30 per month. However, there is no mention whether existing Sports Pack subscribers will automatically receive these new channels or otherwise.
Meanwhile, HyppTV’s official website has yet to reflect the addition of these new channels. Hence, we believe there are still more info to be revealed at the Astro-TM signing ceremony later on. So, stay tuned.
[Thanks, Anon Tipster!]
Earlier this week, we’ve discussed the possibility of English Premier League coverage on TM’s HyppTV through a content collabration with Astro. Looks like the information that we received are technically accurate thanks to a media invite that we have just received from Astro.
As shown above, Astro and TM is set to officially announce their new collaboration at a signing ceremony that will take place tomorrow morning. There were no further related information were provided in the mail but the title of the invite – “Astro & TM Collaborates to Bring Local & Intl Sports to More Malaysians” – does sounds interesting.
Expect to hear more from us tomorrow as we will be there ourselves at the signing ceremony to seek further information about this new content collaboration between Astro and TM.
When we stepped into the venue where Astro and Maxis held their Astro B.yond IPTV with Maxis briefing earlier today, we didn’t expect to learn anything new on top of what we have discussed last week when the service’s official website went online. After all, this is not the first time that Astro is offering B.yond IPTV to fiber-optic customers as they did the same thing with Time Broadband in 2011.
Well, we were wrong…or it could be that we just missed it the first time around.
Apparently, Astro B.yond IPTV with Maxis customers are able to enjoy 10 new HD channels and more than 700 hours’ worth of on-demand contents via Astro Select. Five out of the 10 new HD channels are available immediately which include HBO Hits, HBO Signature, HBO Family, WeTV and check this out: Comedy Central – home to some of the world-renowned comedy show such as South Park and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. The remaining five HD channels are scheduled to be out by the next quarter, said Astro.
For those who wondering whether these new channels will be made for standard Astro B.yond customers, well…not anytime soon. According to Astro’s CEO, Dato’ Rohana Rozhan, Astro Select is exclusive only for Astro IPTV with Maxis customers. In fact, not even Astro IPTV with Time Broadband customers will receive the new contents which made Astro Select as one of the biggest differences between it and the new Astro IPTV with Maxis.
We got to say that is quite a bummer especially for hopeful Comedy Central fans out there. Nevertheless, for those who are curious about the new Astro IPTV with Maxis which also features high speed broadband of up to 30Mbps and optional voice service, click on www.astro.com.my/iptv and www.maxis.com.my/astro for further details.