Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan: Any place any screen
Chunghwa Telecom first in Taiwan to launch multiscreen television service
In 2011, Chunghwa Telecom announced plans to be the first operator in Taiwan to launch a multiscreen TV service and cement its position as a pioneer of IPTV in the region.
In developed nations there is already strong demand for advanced services which enable people to view TV content on a range of devices, such as smartphones, laptops and smart TV.
IPTV technology is especially well-placed to provide such services and the global market is predicted to boom in the coming years, growing from 35 million subscribers at the end of 2010 to 155 million in 2016. Incredibly, 70 percent of this increase is expected to come from the Asia-Pacific region alone.
This creates opportunities for operators in the region to develop advanced services that differentiate their offering and generate new revenue streams.
Jason Hsu, Managing Director, Marketing, Chunghwa Telecom explains the driving force behind the company’s multiscreen ambitions: "The multiscreen service is the future. This commercial area’s time is coming. Our customers desire to have a service where they can see the same programs from different devices."
Consumer demand is also driving the need for a more social TV experience. In response, Chunghwa Telecom sought to enable its customers to share their viewing habits over social networks in order to discuss their favorite programs and make recommendations to friends. At the same time, it was vital that existing services available under the company’s established and successful Media-On-Demand service (MOD) be available alongside the new features. This in itself would create a challenge.
Ching Min Cheng, PhD., Managing Director of Multimedia Department, Northern Taiwan Business Group, Chunghwa Telecom explains: "The challenge first of all is system stability. We wanted to set up a new platform that should meet one million subscribers’ usage."
The next generation
Ericsson was chosen to support Chunghwa Telecom due to its deep understanding of the complex requirements that arise when planning and implementing a multiscreen service. It recommended a complete end-to-end next generation IPTV solution that would be open and flexible enough to introduce new functions alongside existing services.
The solution included multiscreen middleware, Digital Rights Management, transcoding, video servers, content management systems and installation of set-top boxes. Ericsson’s multiscreen Software Development Kit was used to develop a new User Interface which was compatible with all devices. Ericsson Media Connect, which enables mobile devices to be used as TV remotes, was also provided. Ericsson handled design, systems integration and deployment of all aspects of the new platform, including the social media-enabling elements.
Dann Yao, Head of Chunghwa Telecom Account, Ericsson Taiwan explains that this particular project has gone beyond the typical customer-supplier relationship: "Ericsson and Chunghwa are facing challenges in the market at the same time and working together to introduce new services that do not even exist in the market, so we are working as a team to face that challenge."
First off the blocks
Like other nations around the world, Taiwan took part in the London 2012 Olympics. During the event Chunghwa Telecom had the exclusive rights to broadcast the games throughout Taiwan. The coverage included 11 live broadcasts which were available on the multiscreen service, as well as in timeshift, catch-up and 3D formats. This created a new time-to-market challenge which was overcome by the Ericsson team.
The event was a great opportunity for Chunghwa Telecom to launch its new offering and boost its subscriber base by showcasing the benefits of its expanded range of services. Ching Min Cheng explains why the operator chose Ericsson: "Ericsson has a very good product development capability. We know their roadmap and know their vision meets our IPTV service’s future, so we are very lucky and glad to work with Ericsson together."
Taiwan is currently going through a process which is now commonplace in many nations around the world – switching off its analogue signal. The Taiwanese government has a target of enabling 50 percent of all cable TV subscribers to exclusively view digital content by 2015.
As the incumbent operator, Chunghwa Telecom feels that it has a duty to help achieve this. It believes that by improving networks and providing a broad range of advanced paid-for services, consumers will see the benefits and make the change faster.
Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan
With over 20 million subscribers, Chunghwa Telecom is Taiwan’s leading telecom services provider. The company provides fixed, mobile and data services to residential and business customers throughout the country.
In 2004 Chunghwa Telecom became one of the first companies in the Asia-Pacific region to launch an IPTV service. It now provides 140 channels, which include HD and Video On Demand content.