Monday, September 19, 2005

Dutch cable companies start to hurry

The cable companies in the Netherlands finally start to go digital. In the past they have attempted to convert consumers from analogue to digital television. But they have the dilemma, whether they have to provide the media player themselves and asks a monthly subscription or that the consumers buy the set-top box themselves. But now it looks like they are in a hurry to get the set-top box in the home. UPC starts introducing digital television for all subscribers from October 1, 2005, while Essent has already 80.000 subscribers with a settop box and Delta cable start the introduction of settop boxes.

UPC, the largest cable operator in the Netherlands, starts with a big campaign. The main points of the campaign are:
- the settop box, UPC MediaBox, will be provided by UPC;
- The settop box is a complete idigital box for EPG, video on demand, tv-email, games, tv-internet, voting services and home-shopping. An option is to select a box with Personal Video Recording (PVR);
- The price of the settop box is included in the subscription price.

Essent has already connected 80.000 households for digital TV. People buy their own set-top box and get a basic package of 45 channels. Extra channels cost 7,95 euro extra.

Delta Cable Comfort starts also offering digital television and radio. Consumers will have to buy the (Samsung, Panasonic or Nokia) settop box themselves. They pay from 90 euro for the box and need a starter package, inclusing a smartcard of 14,90 euro.

The other two cable companies Casema and Multikabel (to be sold soon) are following the model of Essent.

The cable companies will have to hurry as they get competition from IPTV offered by the telecom incumbent KPN and from Digitenne, a terrestrial digital operator, in which KPN has 40 per cent.

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