‘hanaTV’ brings DVD rental shop into homes

No more trips to the DVD store.
So said Hanarotelecom President Park Byung-moo yesterday as the company launched its new video-on-demand (VOD) TV portal service.
The second-largest broadband operator unveiled its new service, “hanaTV,” at a press conference at the Westin Chosun Hotel in Seoul.
The service provides content such as movies, news, sports, children’s programing, adult and music.
“Until now, we’ve been competing with marketing tactics, but now its time to find a new growth engine,” Mr. Park said, referring to hot competition in the fixed-line and high-speed Internet market. “Our vision is not to be a network seller, but becoming a media group.”
The service is like having a DVD rental shop and cable television database right in your home.
Subscribers can choose a program anytime and all programs are offered in high-definition digital images with a 5.1 channel sound support system. There are also traditional VHS functions, such as fast-forwarding or rewinding.
Hanaro has deals with more than 50 domestic and foreign content providers, including Sony Pictures Television International, Walt Disney Television, National Geographic, and broadcasters BBC Worldwide and EBS.
The company is negotiating with more major movie producers in Hollywood and major Korean broadcasters.
Most content can be viewed with a flat monthly subscription fee that ranges between 7,000 won ($7.40) and 11,800 won. Service rates vary depending on length of contract and if customers subscribe to Hanaro’s broadband service and fixed-line.
The set-top box is free for the duration of the subscription. Hanaro also plans to add some premium “paid” contents.
Mr. Park said that Hanaro tried to stick to the basics of what TV viewers wanted.
“The reason VOD or Internet Portal TV was unsuccessful in the past was because service providers asked users to be too interactive. TV is TV. We tried to preserve the passive traits of the user as much as possible,” he said.
He said “hanaTV” has a fundamental difference in technology. “Existing IP-TV services were mostly streaming services, and the quality of the images was not good. We developed our own technology which downloads the program temporarily to the set-top box― preventing lags and generating fine images,” he said.
by Wohn Dong-hee for JoongAng Daily


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