The days of having to fork out for a cable TV subscription or buy expensive new DVDs (or dodgy pirated copies from the local market) in order to watch your favourite movies and TV shows are long gone.
Over the past couple of years, partly thanks to the likes of Netflix and Hulu, online streaming services have become increasingly popular and are starting to replace the more traditional platforms as a way for consumers to watch movies and TV shows.
Whilst we’re still waiting for Netflix and some of the other online streaming services, which have become so popular in the UK and US, to be officially available in Thailand, the competition amongst Thai companies offering similar services is heating up.
Last week, ThaiTech caught up with Mr Pipat Amonrungmetham, managing director at Hollywood HDTV, which provides on demand movies and TV shows in both English and Thai from 199 THB per month.
Mr Pipat told us more about the services offered by Hollywood HDTV and talks about the challenges Hollywood HDTV faces from content piracy, which is widespread in Thailand.
You can visit the Hollywood HDTV website for more info (there’s an English version available).
Interview with Pipat Amonrungmetham from Hollywood HDTV
ThaiTech: Tell us a bit about Hollywood HDTV, when did you launch, what’s your background, what services do you offer? etc
Hollywood HDTV: We provide an On-Demand Internet Streaming of Movies, TV Series, Cartoons, and Live TV through our iOS, Android and Web platforms. Our service was launched in March 2014.
ThaiTech: Will there be any movies available in both Thai and English? e.g. with subtitles
Hollywood HDTV: Yes. All of our Hollywood titles are available with English soundtrack with Thai and English subtitles. Some of the classic Hollywood titles do not have Thai dubbing, but all are available with Thai and English subtitles.
ThaiTech: Do you have plans to stream TV shows?
Hollywood HDTV: Live TV streaming is available now.
ThaiTech: How many new Hollywood movies will be added each month?
Hollywood HDTV: At any given time, over 1,000 titles are available in our service (and increasing). 100+ new titles are added each month.
ThaiTech: Can I watch on my tablet, phone and TV?
Hollywood HDTV: Yes. You can watch on any iOS and Android devices (smartphones and tablets). You can also watch on your TV with the aid of an “Apple TV” (if using iOS) or HDMI cable (if using Android). PC viewing is also doable via at www.hollywood-hdtv.com
ThaiTech: What content / pricing options will you offer? Subscription / purchase / rent / etc.?
Hollywood HDTV: 199 baht per month for unlimited (buffet) access to Hollywood movies, TV series, Asian movies, Asian TV series, Cartoons and Live TV.
We also have an a la carte service where customers can buy individual movies starting from 89 to 299 baht (depending on the title). Rental is also coming in May 2015.
ThaiTech: How can users pay for your services?
Hollywood HDTV: Payment can be made using credit card, ATM, bank transfer, Counter Service, In-App purchase (for iOS), or buying our access card at any B2S, FamilyMart, Watsons, Tops Daily, Tops Market and Tesco Lotus Express.
ThaiTech: What bit-rates, speeds and video formats do you use to ensure high quality video? Is there any kind of adaptive streaming being used?
Hollywood HDTV: Yes, we use adaptive bit-rate streaming (300 kbps – 1,900 kbps).
ThaiTech: In Thailand and throughout Southeast Asia, piracy, especially of Hollywood movies is widespread. Every market sells copied DVDs! How much of a challenge does this present for your company and how does it impact on attracting users to your service?
Hollywood HDTV: Though piracy is a concern, we don’t let that distract us. We are focused on providing a high quality service, with sensible pricing, and the convenience of entertainment anytime, anywhere, anyhow. Our buffet pricing is actually cheaper than the illegal DVDs. For those that download illegal contents for free, they are not our target customers. We’ve already proven that many people don’t want to steal if there is a legal alternative, especially at a good price, high quality and convenience.
ThaiTech: The competition among on demand video streaming services is hotting up in Thailand. How can you see your business expanding against the likes of Prime Time, the soon to be launched HOOQ and maybe one day Netflix?
Hollywood HDTV: At this time, competition is actually a good thing. In Thailand, knowledge is quite limited on a movie streaming service, so anyone else coming in to help educate the market is welcomed.
In Thailand, we do have a first mover’s advantage and we will fully utilize that to get ahead. Our focus is internal, to provide the best service. The result will speak for itself when the dust settles.
ThaiTech: What further plans do you have in store which will increase media attention once similar services have launch in Thailand?
Hollywood HDTV: We have some exciting stuffs coming up in the areas of new contents and technology. This will be revealed at the appropriate time. Please stay tuned.
ThaiTech: What’s next for Hollywood HDTV?
Hollywood HDTV: We’ve just started the business, so “what’s next” might not be the right question at this time. We are definitely full-steam ahead to increase subscribers through our focus on quality service, quality contents, convenience, and attractive pricing.
ThaiTech thanks Mr Pipat for taking the time out to answer our questions.
Jonathan is our Google Nexus and Android enthusiast. He is also fanatical about football which makes it all the more strange that he should support Stockport County. In addition to writing about tech, Jonathan has a passion for fitness and nutrition and has previously written for one the UK’s leading watch and horology websites.