A new way for watching TV was the topic at the Sunday, October 30 meeting of the Pattaya City Expats Club (PCEC). Do you remember when we had just one television channel? Or, if you were lucky, maybe three channels to choose from? Nowadays, of course, we have cable and satellites services that provide hundreds of channels. And, in the last few years, “little black boxes” have started to appear, providing not only live television channels (through internet streaming), but also a huge library of on demand TV and film content. You might never have to leave your couch again, except to go to the bathroom or to go to bed, where you can continue to watch movies, sports programmes and TV shows on your bedroom television. Maybe soon you will be able to order your meals using these black boxes!
These boxes are called IPTV (Internet Protocol TV). Some of the IPTVs are legal while others may be, well, not quite on the up and up. PCEC members were treated to a demonstration of one that is definitely legal, UK TV Thailand. The topic presenter was Stephen Saunders, who sells these units and also runs the Chuan Chim Restaurant and Tea Room located on Soi 5, Jomtien Beach Road (at the beach end of the soi).
Stephen said that UK TV Thailand uses the PremiumPlex IPTV system that is now in its fourth full year of operating. He noted that their IPTV service is used in many parts of the world and has many satisfied customers. The service is now being made available to the expat community here in Thailand.
The UK TV Thailand boxes are manufactured by Sky TV and can be set up easily in the home using a local area network (LAN) or internet connection to your television. There are basically two types of programming on UK TV Thailand: Live Channels and On Demand. With respect to the Live Channels, there are hundreds of channels available. There are 25 channels entirely devoted to cinema. The service includes You Tube, Sky Sports, and all of the BBC and ITV channels. Stephen noted that because the television channels are streaming over the Internet, there is a 50-second delay in receiving the signal in Thailand.
For the On-Demand service, there are usually 54 channels available, though the number can vary from day to day. Stephen mentioned that there are over 2,800 movies, some dating as far back as 1943. On the action movies channel alone, there are 212 movies available. Stephen said that sometimes new releases are on UK TV Thailand before they hit the cinemas. Stephen said that there are tens of thousands of TV shows included in the On-Demand service. There are also numerous music channels.
The box itself is free, but you have to subscribe to the service. Stephen charges 12,600 baht for an 18-month subscription. Included in the price is the set-up of the box in your home. Subsequent renewals, also for 18 months, cost 10,600 baht. Stephen said you can browse the movies and TV shows, etc., and that you can also search for your favourite programme. The search parameters vary according to the category. In response to a question during Question & Answer portion of the presentation, Stephen said that you cannot fast forward the On Demand programmes.
Stephen explained that you should have an Internet broadband download speed of at least 5 megabits to use UK TV Thailand, but that you will get better performance (i.e. fewer delays for buffering) if your Internet speed is 10 megabits or better.
Also, he mentioned that he has a dedicated team that deal with the maintenance and updating of their network, plus a wide variety of server systems in place, all which run way under capacity to ensure that they can provide a flawless viewing experience. You can see the UK TV Thailand system working at Stephen’s Chuan Chim Restaurant.
After the presentation, MC Roy Albiston brought everyone up to date on upcoming events and was followed by the Open Forum, where questions are asked and answered about Expat living in Thailand, especially Pattaya.
For more information on the PCEC’s many activities, visit their website at www.pcecclub.org.