SKY Cable Corp. is launching a new digital box which allows its customers to access HD Cable TV together with streaming services like Netflix and YouTube.
Called the SKY on Demand box, it was created to “match the needs of consumers in the digital era,” said a company press release.
“Online viewing is gaining ground in the Philippines given the growing internet penetration over the past three years,” Claudia Suarez, SKY business unit head of consumer product group, said in the release.
A June ranking by Internet World Stats showed that 67 million Filipinos — 63% of the total population — are now connected to the internet.
But despite having more and more Filipinos on the internet, Ms. Suarez remarked in the release that “Filipinos still enjoy watching content on TV, whether it be for legacy delivery of TV programs from cable boxes or streamed via the internet.”
And the new digital box marries the best of pay TV and streaming with in-built apps (Netflix, YouTube, and its own service, SKY on Demand) alongside a host of features including picture-in-picture where a viewer can watch two channels on one screen, and the personal video recorder so viewers can return and catch up on their favorite programs.
Note that recorded programs can only be watched using the box it was recorded on and cannot be transferred to other devices.
The companion SKY on Demand Remote app also allows consumers to operate their boxes from their phones. They can link up to 10 smartphones but only one can be used to operate to box at a time.
The linked phone and the box should also be connected via one Wi-Fi connection for it to work.
The app is available for both Apple and Android phones via their respective app stores while the box is currently being offered for the new SKY Broadband and One SKY subscribers for P1,999.
“It’s an option but we recommend you get it if you’re into [streaming services] already. It’s so easy to switch from cable TV to streaming” Joy E. Lantin, SKY head of cable products, told BusinessWorld shortly after a press conference on Oct. 18 at the ABS-CBN offices in Quezon City.
“I think [streaming services and pay TVs] complement each other because people still want to watch live TV — their variety shows, etc. — and they use Netflix and all the other [streaming] players for their titles which are not available on cable TV and vice versa,” she added.
At the moment the box service is only partnered with Netflix, but Jerome Y. Almirante, SKY head of digital and OTT products, said at the press conference that they are talking to other streaming players to include them in the service.
Ms. Lantin said they are still ironing out the offer details for existing SKY Cable and Broadband subscribers because “we don’t want to leave our loyal subscribers behind.”
Currently, the SKY on Demand box is only available in Metro Manila although a nationwide roll out is expected by the first quarter of 2019.
“The people we see upgrading are people who are into YouTube and Netflix, which is a growing market now,” Ms. Lantin said before adding that at heart, the box is meant to bring “an elevated viewing experience.”
For more information on the digital box, visit — Zsarlene B. Chua