VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnamese enterprises, from Internet content firms like
VC Corp, VTC Online to infrastructure ones like FPT Telecom, all have, or are
going to market set-top box products and provide smartTV-like utilities to
The convergence of TV, digital content and Internet
In December 2012, VC Corp marketed SohaTV, an entertainment device using Android
operation system, integrated with many digital content services, such as
watching TV with HD standards (Soha Phim), karaoke (San Nhac) and apps for
children (Soc Nhi). Besides, since the device runs on Android, SohaTV has been
integrated with web browsers which allows users to play games on Android such as
Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja…
SohaTV, which uses 1Ghz microprocessor chip, RAM 1G, and 2G memory, 5.1 sound,
has the sale price of about VND3 million. Especially, SohaTV is compatible to
nearly all kinds of TV available on the market, while it can serves as the wifi
transreceiver, useful for the families which don’t like wired networks.
It is expected that the webgames of Soha Game would be put into SohaTV, while
the high quality music service (loseless) would also be updated.
VTC, another big guy in the digital content industry, is also moving ahead to
market the next generation set-top box which allows watching films with HD
standards and high quality sounds.
Not only Internet content firms, FPT Telecom, an infrastructure company in late
December 2012 tested the new set-top box FPT Play HD before it markets the
products in 2013.
FPT Play HD allows watching images with Full HD standards 7.1 sounds. Once
getting connected with Internet, FPT Play HD would serve as the family central
entertainment device which allows to watch the contents from hardware drive,
external memory cards, mobile phones, tablets and home network’s devices.
Besides, when connecting TVs, FPT Play HD would bring the content services on
Internet or the third parties like Youtube, Picasa.
According to Phan Anh Tuan, Deputy Director of VTC Online, the next generation
set-top box is the convergence of TV, Internet and media. “That explains why
Internet firms, from content service providers to infrastructure enterprises all
get determined to jump into the set-top box market,” Tuan said, adding that this
would lead to a cutthroat competition among the firms.
However, the competition would not be seen in terms of technology, or the
features of products. Analysts believe that there would not be many differences
in set-top box products to be launched by different manufacturers.
As such, the expenses on the devices would only amount to a small proportion of
the total turnover, while the majority of turnover would come from the contents,
through the premium account.
A senior executive of FPT Telecom also said that FPT Telecom decided to market
the next generation set-top box, because this is the “bridge” that links the
infrastructure and the contents, which would allow the enterprise to well
control the services it provides.
Google and Microsoft, for example, have also provided the devices to optimize
the contents they provide.
Copyright infringement may hinder the content development on set-top box
Also according to Tuan, in the context of the current widespread copyright
infringement, if a firm provides copyrighted contents on set-top box like the
way VTC is following, it would meet certain disadvantages, because of the higher
production costs and the unfair competition with unlicensed devices.
Therefore, VTC plans to combine the two groups of clients of VTC Online and VTC
digital TV who have the same demand of using set-top box devices.
“There would be no way for enterprises to exist in Vietnam, if they simply
integrate copyrighted films and TV programs into devices and sell to clients,”