ASTRO brings Next Generation Entertainment to Malaysian homes

Friday, December 11th, 2009 
Astro TV logo

First High-Definition Service starts on 18 December

KUALA LUMPUR — Astro today launched ASTRO B.yond, a multi-phased innovative service starting with the first ever High Definition (HD) broadcast, setting yet another new benchmark in Malaysia’s broadcast industry.

“At 48 per cent penetration of Malaysian TV homes, we are part of 2.875 million homes. It is a privilege we do not take for granted. At Astro, we are committed to innovation in content, technology and customer experience. We would also like to ensure our customers get the maximum value out of every ringgit they spend with us,” said Dato’ Rohana Rozhan, Chief Executive Officer of ASTRO.

Incorporating best in class technologies, the newly launched ASTRO B.yond offers customers more innovative services which will be introduced in phases. Starting with the first ever High-Definition (HD) broadcast in Malaysia, Astro B.yond will change TV viewing experience with richer colours, picture-perfect clarity and cinematic surround sound. Along with this, a new and improved Electronic Programming Guide (EPG) designed for better viewer interface will be introduced.

As the technology infrastructure and hardware around Astro B.yond is future-ready, more innovations will follow. In 2010, ASTRO TV aims to be the first in the world to offer video recording through an external hard drive. With this service, customers can record their favourite programmes and personalize their TV viewing schedules. Astro B.yond will also introduce Digital Video Recording (DVR), Video on Demand (VOD) and IPTV connectivity in phases over the next 24 months.

Dato’ Rohana continued, “ASTRO B.yond is our promise to be at the forefront of innovation and to delight our customers with services that go beyond their expectation. Only by doing this will ASTRO stay as their number 1 choice in entertainment. It is our promise to our loyal customers that the best is yet to come!”

As ASTRO B.yond is a major shift in technology, it calls for total revamp in capabilities, hardware and installation. In addition to our delivery infrastructure, to experience Astro B.yond, customers who wish to experience Astro B.yond and access to the HD services have a choice to sign up at an additional service fee of RM20 per month and a commitment of 12 months. As part of the new B.yond service, customers will get the new B.yond box, new smart card, new outdoor unit dish, HD Multimedia Interface (HDMI) cable and new remote control. New set-up installation fee will be waived in exchange for the existing box.

On HD content, ASTRO will start with 3 key genres that are recognized as HD content drivers globally – sports, movies and documentaries. The channel line-up includes Astro Supersport HD, ESPN HD, HBO HD, National Geographic Channel HD and HISTORY HD. However ESPN HD will be available in January 2010. Sports fans will also be thrilled to know that they can soon watch FIFA World Cup 2010 in HD. Astro plans to roll out more HD channels, including local content, in 2010. The access to enjoy the HD channels corresponds to the customer’s current package subscription.

Broadcasting primarily in 1080i and when required 720p resolution, ASTRO B.yond’s HD provides the following features in line with international standards: 10 times better quality images in true high-definition details, 5 times better audio quality with Dolby 5.1 cinematic surround sound, vibrant colours and wider screen compared to standard definition TV.

From 18 December 2009, customers can sign up on www.astro.com.my/byond or call the ASTRO customer Hotline 1300 82 3838. As the installation of Astro B.yond involves homes throughout Malaysia, it will be on a first come, first served basis.

“Today approximately 1.2 million of our customers are HD-ready. According to an industry report, 59 per cent of all televisions sold in 1H 2009 are already HD-ready with an uptrend in sales. All data indicate that Astro’s introduction of HD service comes at an opportune time and the market is ready for HD content,” said Dato’ Rohana.

“ASTRO B.yond is ASTRO’s commitment to bring Malaysians the future of the media space and to remain as Malaysia’s number one choice. We want to continue enriching their lives by delivering innovation in our content, delivery and services.” concluded Dato’ Rohana.