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YTL-Sezmi hybrid TV to only available end next year

YTL Communications Sdn Bhd on Monday signed an agreement with Sezmi Corporation. The agreement allows YTL to offer hybrid TV service in Malaysia.

(Wing K Lee, CEO of YTL Comms (left), exchanging the MoU with Buno Pati, CEO of Sezmi (second from right). Withnessing the exchange is Tan Sri Dr Francis Yeon (second from left), Dato’ Seri Mustapha Mohamed, Minister of Ministry of International Trade and Industry, and Phil Wiser, Chairman of Sezmi.)

An agreement was signed but nothing much was revealed regarding what was exactly being signed. First, YTL can’t promise or say what channels/content they would offer. Secondly, most of the channels(Fox, ESPN) shown in the demo by Sezmi are already available on Astro. The channels are probably exclusive to Astro for the next few years. So I don’t see exactly what sort of content/channels that YTL-Sezmi would be able to offer Malaysians unless they develop their own content.

On top of that, there are quite a number of IPTV/web TV providers out there including Hypp.TV, HYPP TV(TM’s IPTV), DeTV, Worldip.tv, Astro TV, Maxis IPTV, Stadium Astro and quite a few more that are being developed/tested.

By the time YTL-Sezmi comes in to the market which is the end of next year, consumers will have tons of choices already. But I don’t see how YTL-Sezmi would compete with these providers in terms of pricing. TM’s Hypp.TV is charging RM9.90 per month for its online channels and it is only a matter of time before it is made available to everyone regardless of the ISPs they are using. Can YTL-Sezmi compete at this price?

YTL is expected to spent between RM1-2 billion for their investment on YTL-Sezmi according to TheStar.

During the demo at the media event, Sezmi used their Ethernet set-top box and streamed the content wirelessly on iPad and the iPhone. I’m not sure if they have any Android apps since YTL WiMAX is focused on Android.

Finally, the only reason I think YTL is rolling out Sezmi at the end of next year is simply because they don’t have any content to offer at the moment.

Press Release on YTL-Sezmi below:

Malaysia To Launch World’s 1st Wireless Hybrid TV Service

Kuala Lumpur, 11th October 2010 – YTL Communications Sdn Bhd today signed a Licence and Services Agreement with next-generation TV innovator, Sezmi Corporation. The agreement gives YTL Communications the rights to deploy hybrid TV service in Malaysia and throughout Asia Pacific thus transforming Malaysia into a leading operational hub for digital media and television broadcasting, capable of serving the region. Through this, Malaysia will effectively become first in the world to launch an all wireless hybrid TV service by the end of 2011.

Hybrid TV brings together the best of broadcast content and Internet in the same device over a wireless network to deliver a superior customer experience and Sezmi is leading in this area. The Sezmi system is currently commercially available in the United States, one of the world’s most demanding markets for such technologies and services. It is in this very market that Sezmi has proven itself as a front running innovator in redefining the television viewing experience.

“YTL is passionate about bringing concrete benefits and positive change to Malaysians from all walks of life. We commend our Prime Minister’s vision to develop Malaysia into a high income country,” said Tan Sri (Dr) Francis Yeoh, Managing Director, YTL Corporation Berhad & Executive Chairman of YTL Communications. “Acting on this call made by the government, we bring Silicon Valley to Malaysia today with this next-generation wireless hybrid TV service. We believe Sezmi is the best partner to make this possible. With Sezmi Corporation, we will give Asia a next-generation entertainment experience by bringing together the best television and Internet experience all in one box. Malaysia is screaming for more choices and with Sezmi, we will deliver. This will inspire Malaysians to adopt the Internet at a faster rate in line with the government’s National Broadband Initiative.”

Through this partnership, YTL Communications plans to transform Malaysia into the world’s first, fully converged wireless quadruple-play country, effectively positioning the nation as the world’s most advanced wireless country. The service that YTL will bring together with Sezmi will require new devices, equipment, content and applications which will be developed and manufactured in Malaysia, at the same time driving FDI from world-class partners while creating export opportunities of know-how and manufactured goods to service providers throughout the region. Indirect output will also see the creation of a large pool of jobs for creative, professional and technical services, all of which are imperatives in achieving an innovation-led, high-income economy.

“When we launch our 4G mobile Internet service next month, it will be amazing. We will deliver to Malaysia a wireless dual-play service – broadband and voice on our 4G network. But this is only the beginning. Thanks to our cutting edge architecture, we will be able to deliver the world’s first wireless quadruple-play service (mobile broadband, mobile voice, mobile TV and fixed TV) by the end of next year. But our desire for innovation will not stop there, we will continue to deliver amazing experiences to our customers using our 4G platform and bring positive change to Malaysia.” said Wing K. Lee, CEO, YTL Communications.

“We’re truly excited to be a part of this project. I commend the Malaysian government and YTL Communications for their foresight in initiating a project that is as impressive as this. It is indisputable that convergence between broadcast and Internet is fast becoming a dominant trend,” said Buno Pati, CEO, Sezmi Corporation. “In developing countries, televisions are significantly more prevalent than computers. Hence, the best way to deliver broadband to every person is through a TV screen connected to a wireless network that can bring together high quality HD content and Internet all in one. We see this partnership as an amazing opportunity to realise this vision. YTL Communications’ solid financial foundation, expertise and passion make them the perfect partner to realize this vision.”

About Kugan

Kugan is the founder of MalaysianWireless. He has been observing the mobile industry since 2003. Connect with him on Twitter: @scamboy