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Consumers await news of hyped Astro B.yond HDTV services - 09-January-2010, 07:21

Consumers await news of hyped Astro B.yond HDTV services


DST Kristal Astro are unable to confirm new High Definition (HD) television services for Brunei Darussalam, forcing consumers to wait for further news from Malaysia to establish what hardware to purchase to enable viewing of the new HDTV services. “We have not received news yet from KL about the new services, so we do not know if it is coming here,” said a spokesperson from DST Group in a brief telephone interview yesterday.

A subsidiary of DST, Kristal-ASTRO Sdn Bhd is the sole operator of Brunei’s multichannel pay-television service, and is a joint venture between Kristal Sdn Bhd and Malaysia’s MEASAT Broadcast Network Systems Sdn Bhd.

Over the last several weeks, Astro satellite pay-tv service received in Brunei Darussalam has been actively advertising the new HD services called Astro B.yond. The new Astro B.yond will supersede the satellite service in use for Brunei subscribers Digital Multimedia System (DMS) – the same system that is being replaced by Astro in Malaysia. Currently the pay-tv services provide more than 30 television and radio channels that have been customised to ensure that all programmes adhere to Brunei’s religious, cultural and social values.

Meanwhile Radio Television Brunei (RTB) have already announced its plans to launch its own HD service using their transmitter, located at the Subok earth station near Bandar Seri Begawan. Their facilities in Subok also include a playout centre with digital equipment among its fully digital complex in Sungai Akar. RTB successfully completed its HD studio in Kuala Belait in October 2008.

According to Brunei’s Consumer Electronics retailers, it is uncertain whether subscribers to any new service from Kristal Astro will be able to view RTBs HD TV services from their set top boxes or vice versa.
Currently the set top boxes themselves are not being provided by any of the retail stores in Brunei Darussalam. However over the last year, sales of HD TVs had risen, especially during the tail of 2009 when many Bruneians decided to spend on HD TVs and complementing home theater systems. “The majority of television sets that we sold last year were HD TVs or HD ready,” said a retailer. The Brunei Times
   
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