Samsung building hybrid IP set-top boxes for Singapore telco StarHub

Samsung is building and launching a line of three new hybrid set-top boxes in collaboration with Singapore MVPD StarHub.

The service provider said the first new hybrid box will be able to load VOD content four times faster than current models and will include recording capabilities and a search function that lets users access such applications as traffic conditions. Another two set-tops will be launched in "the near future," the two companies said, offering features like recording, multiscreen and IPTV.

"The interface is designed to make it more seamless, more IP-like," Lin Shu Fen told Today Online. "Most of our customers are on [the] cable platform, so our focus is on enhancing service on the cable platform. But we are future-proofing our boxes so all our boxes will be IP-ready."

The first box received a mixed review from Alfred Siew on Techgoondu.

"The set-top box, like it or not, is still based on old cable TV technology," Siew wrote, noting that while it is "nicer and smaller than before, [it] will never be as interactive as a PC or even a WD Live box or game console connected to the Internet. Heck, even a low-powered Android box that runs apps on your large-screen TV … might appear more interactive."

On the other hand, Siew conceded, "with half a million households on cable TV in Singapore, StarHub's newfangled set-top box … will still matter to some couch potatoes in Singapore."

While not claiming the deal is exclusive, Samsung, which has collaborated with telcos in Europe and the U.S., said it has no plans to collaborate with Singapore's other pay-TV provider, SingTel.

For more:
-see this Today Online story
- and this Techgoondu review

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