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Streaming TV programs over the internet in Thailand

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 Streaming TV programs over the internet in Thailand

Tue 4 Aug 2015, 11:55 am

Hi ForumMates,

Here is an excellent, in-depth article from Ajarn.com about iLike HDTV, http://www.ilikehdtv.tv and 365 Sport https://www.365sport.tv/ two TV streaming services here  in Thailand (only). It is pretty painless to sign up with easy ways to pay online including PayPal.  They don't impose deposits or demand a signed copy of your passport faxed (faxed!!!) to them or any  other 19th Century tortures as do True and the other cable/satellite providers. I have put my True satelite on vacation status and will give iLike HDTV a try.  If it works out, bye bye True!  Like the gentleman who wrote the article on Ajarn.com, I am tired of paying 900 THB per month to watch 2 or 3 shows once in a blue moon.  HBO and Cinemax sound great on paper, but, at least for me, there are hardly any movies that I care to watch.   I'll post again and let you now how it works out

I'm going to review two internet streaming services that I regularly use to watch TV at home in Bangkok. One is 365 Sport and the other is a relatively new kid on the block called iLike HDTV. Both services are based in Thailand.
I love sport

I've never been a couch potato - someone who just lounges on the sofa, remote control in hand, flicking through channel after channel until he finds something half decent to watch.

However, I love watching Premier League football, especially my beloved Manchester United - and that's always the main reason I would subscribe to any TV service in Thailand.

I might also watch the odd comedy show, British reality TV program or perhaps one of the major news channels (CNN or BBC) if I wanted to follow a major news story. And that would really be it.

I'm not particularly interested in watching movies or documentaries and I don't have children to sit in front of the box to devour hour after hour of cartoons.
The UBC days

Like many other TV viewers in Thailand, I used to subscribe to UBC cable TV. In fact for many years, UBC was literally the only option.

But when I worked out that I was paying about 18,000 baht a year (1,500 baht a month) to watch four or five live football matches - and nothing else, it started to sound like a very expensive luxury and I decided to cancel my subscription.

Especially once I found out there were cheaper alternatives available.


365 Sport

365 Sport has been going for almost two years and I've been with them almost from the start.

I am now in my second year as a 365 Sport subscriber and I pay an annual fee of 6,000 baht (500 baht a month) to receive something like 9-12 channels. The number of channels is increased whenever there is a major sporting event such as the football world cup.

You don't have to subscribe for a year. You can take out a subscription for a shorter period of time, but as you would expect, the average monthly fee becomes slightly more expensive

As the name suggests, the 365 Sport service is totally dedicated to sport - from all corners of the world.

English Premier League, darts championships, American football, ice hockey, tennis, formula one, cliff-diving from Acapulco - there is something for every sports fan depending on what sport you follow.

For footy fans, nearly all the English Premier League games are shown live with coverage coming via Astro Supersport and Fox Sports. The very few Premier League games that aren't shown live are shown in their entirety a few hours later.   


On demand

The thing I most love about the 365 Sport system is that every broadcast of every program is kept on demand for five days. You don't have to watch a match or an event live.

As a Man United fan, this has been particularly welcome when a game kicks off at midnight (Thai time) or when perhaps it's a midweek Champions League game that starts at the ungodly hour of 2.30am.

There's no need to set the alarm clock and get up in the middle of the night (as I used to do in the good old UBC days) Simply watch the game in the morning as if it were live. 

Quality is key

However, as with any internet streaming service, it's all about the quality of the viewing. And this is where 365 Sport has often let itself down and the main reason I probably won't be renewing my subscription when it expires in August.

Far too many of the programs - including some of the Premier League matches - are nowhere near what I would call 'good quality'. Watchable yes, but only just.

When I first installed the 365 Sport system, the picture quality was quite frankly a joke and I was quick to complain to the customer service department. I got a very fast response (as I always have with 365 Sport) and they promised me that the quality would improve greatly as the company got to grips with the technological aspects of the service.

And improve it certainly did. The picture quality started to get much, much better.

It hasn't all been plain sailing and happy viewing though.

I stand to be corrected, but I believe the 365 Sport signal comes out of Vietnam. So if poor weather conditions are affecting the transmission, you will lose the picture completely. This happened to me earlier in the year for three out of four midweek Manchester United games and I started to become very frustrated with the whole system.

Very recently, and possibly aware of the need to further improve, 365 Sport added several HD channels to the mix and promised subscribers an even better quality picture.

In conclusion, I've been very grateful for the service that 365 Sport has provided despite the fact that it's been a rather hit-and-miss affair.

At times, I've enjoyed a great quality picture but too often it has been unacceptable, not to mention those times when adverse weather conditions mean you don't get to see any of the big game at all.

And right now in Thailand, 365 Sport has some fierce competition in the shape of iLike HDTV. So let's take a look at those guys.


ilike HDTV

Launched just several months ago in Thailand, iLike HDTV is quickly setting the standard for internet TV streaming. I've been a subscriber for only two months but I'm thoroughly enjoying the service so far. And while I'm not prepared to give them 10/10 just yet - I'm becoming a huge fan.

iLike HDTV is the complete internet TV package in terms of the number of channels offered. How many channels exactly? Ask me an easier one. The choice of channels is just mind-blowing and frankly, I don't know where to start.

Even the basic 'international' package that I subscribe to has almost 200 channels including dedicated movie channels, all the Sky Sports channels from the UK plus BBC1, BBC2 and Channel 4, lots of American channels plus all the Thai ones, etc, etc. I really think the best advice would be to go and have a look for yourself. 

Be careful though. Apart from watching all of the cricket world cup matches on Sky Sports, I've now developed a passion for daytime TV programs like Bargain Hunt and Countdown, when I really should be working. There are just so many channels available. You'll be amazed!

Pricing

iLike HDTV has a rather strange pricing system where you pay for your monthly subscription using 'points'. One point is one baht.

The basic 'international' package that I subscribe to (and which is more than enough for my needs) is 350 points per month (or 350 baht) And for that 350 baht, I get almost 200 TV channels.

Thre are several ways to pay for your subscription including credit card, paypal, bank transfer or you can purchase a TRUE money voucher from your local 7-11.

And here's the great thing - if you just want a trial and to test the quality on your PC or laptop OR perhaps you just want to watch one big Premier League game, you can buy a couple of hours viewing for just 30 baht. Or 5 hours for 50 baht. It's a hell of a deal!

I'm personally subscribing to the system month-by-month for 350 baht. At the moment, there doesn't seem to be an option to pay an annual fee and perhaps reduce the monthly average cost. Maybe that will happen sometime in the future.

Plans for on-demand

One disadvantage of the iLike HDTV system is that every channel has to be watched live. So if a game starts at 2.30 (Thai time) then that's when you'll have to watch it. And it's the same story with peak-time TV. The best TV programs in the UK for example are usually shown between 7pm and 11pm. This is of course the middle of the night in Thailand.

I believe that iLike HDTV has plans to introduce a three-day on-demand service. Now that would really be something!
Movies and TV series on demand

As well as more TV channels than you can shake a stick at, iLike HDTV has a dedicated on-demand movie channel with a library of hundreds of recent films plus an on-demand channel consisting of nothing but the latest TV series. These are not something I'm interested in but I know lots of folks will be. These on-demand channels cost just 200 baht a month.

Picture quality

Ah, the all important topic of picture quality. Most of the channels - certainly the ones I want to watch - are pretty much perfect. However, some of the more obscure cable TV channels are a little bit 'fuzzy'. Not that I've got time to watch them anyway.

Picture quality isn't the problem - but 'buffering' certainly is (buffering is when the picture freezes or hangs for a few seconds or longer) and I've noticed that the buffering has got worse over the last couple of weeks.

As an example, if I watch a one-hour TV program, there might be a couple of occasions when the picture freezes or 'buffers' for a second or two. Saying that. I watched a whole 5 hours of cricket a few days ago and the system didn't buffer once.

When all's said and done, you are of course at the mercy of your Thai internet connection.

I contacted iLike HDTV's customer service department last week to mention that there had been an increase in the buffering - and again I got a very speedy response. They told me that they were aware of the situation and they were currently experimenting with different server configurations to hopefully eliminate buffering completely.

Let's keep our fingers crossed because if the Ilike HDTV system becomes buffer-free, then I can't think of a reason I wouldn't give these guys ten out of ten for the service.

Give it a go

Why not try the iLike HD TV system for yourself? As I mentioned earlier, you can pay 30 baht for just a couple of hours and explore all the channels for yourself. Add your favourite channels to a favorites section to make them easier to find and access.

If you click on this link, you'll be taken to a 'create an account' screen. You MUST create an account before you start paying to use the service.

Don't be put off by the 'blandness' of the create an account screen, with its distinct lack of corporate branding. I have mentioned this to customer service as well as something they need to improve on.

Rest assured that once you have created your account, you'll have lots of fun watching your favourite TV channels from home.

Happy viewing!

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--- Quote from: fceligoj ---Rex, I am like you, I like it to be KISS!

The True Vision technicians told us about it.  As a side, they sell the device for the guy who has a shop in Khon Kaen.  That is how we found out aout it since I was not will for True to drill holes in my wall and install a cable and a cable box from their satellite which would have hung on our house and would have cost us an arm and a leg under a contract.

We bought the little box that changed our dumb TV to a smart TV.  (We use the 10Mbps internet connection, no more.)

But then we went in to get more top up cards (250 Baht per card) from the store on Klang Muang, which is right across the street from the old Samsung Service Center, we were shown all the capabilities.

I also am able to use the IpPlaybox website and enter my user ID and password and I can run all which is on the IpPlaybox website on my computer.  I DO NOT HAVE TO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT STREAMING OR TORRENTS OR ANYTHING THAT WOULD FRUSTRATE MY PATIENCE.

THEY ALSO HAVE MANY, MANY SERIES ON THEIR LIST OF ITEMS.  I FINISHED WATCHING 24 HOURS ALL THE SEASONS AND EPISODES AS WELL AS BANSHEE AND STRIKE BACK, I AM IN THE MIDDLE OF WATCHING HOUSE NOW.  They have all the current ones available.  I was just trying to give everyone an alternative to spending big money, including those willing to pay 500 baht a month or more for less capability.

If you needed me to come to your house and access IpPlaybox on your computer and give you a demo of what you get, I could do that.  Then you could tell everyone on the Forum of what you think about it.  It would not be coming from me directly then.
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Wed 5 Aug 2015, 3:09 pm

Thanks Frank and everyone for the input.  I am going to sticky this post, and hopefully it will become a collection of tutorials and reviews of equipment and providers.


Can any of you guys out there who are into streaming tell us about your gear and content providers?  What kind and brand of gear is it?  Where did you get it?  Prices?  Your review . . .

My research tells me that Roku and especially Roku 3 with voice recognition (with Roku 4 coming soon) is the top of the line.  Unfortunately, from what I can determine, you cannot buy it in Thailand.  However, I discovered that I had some rewards points on my Amazon visa, used that as a justification to buy, and the pay the FedEx to Thailand from my mail forwarder in the U.S.  If it were not for those reward points, I would have just shopped around, and probably ended up getting something from Lazada.  Search "android boxes."  They have a big selection from 1,600-5,000+ THB.  None of it that I saw was name brand, so it would be difficult to do an intelligent comparison without being fairly educated about the specs and stuff.  In any event, Lzada really has their act togetherin trems of online shopping; huge selection of stuffs, good prices, relatively intelligent functional shopping cart, free or cheap delivery, fast turnaround, usually just 2 or 3 days. good communication such as sending confirmation e-mails, tracking numbers and such, fairly decent customer support when you need to speak with someone.

 

Same-same for content providers and packages.  I know there are many out there.  We have already disussed three.  Any others?  Quality, pricing, selection of programming/packages?   Convenience?

I ordered iLikeHD I have not used it enough yet to comment much.  They got bzillions of channels and the quality seems OK so far.  My big gripe with them--and maybe everybody as well--is the interface; the channel guide and steps for navigating around the system to find what is available and to get at what you want.  It seems to me that all these companies are probably going to provide similar content, possibly with different types of packages, so at the end of the day, the only thing that really matters is the interface and easy of use.


Anyway, interested in seeing what yooze guys think.[/size]

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