When multimedia messaging service (MMS) was adopted in the Philippines in mid-decade 2000s following a roll-out of 3rd generation GSM-based unit with full graphical color, still image capture, video streaming, and mobile Internet streaming capability, TV networks ABS-CBN and GMA-7 went a joint venture with either Smart or Globe to introduce an experimental roll-out of first generation mobile video streaming of ABS-CBN and GMA-7 TV shows with limited quality using an older H.261 video codec with a resolution of 128 x 96 pixels, a frame rate of 12 fps, and a bit rate of 28 kbps. The service was short-lived and discontinued, as most Pinoy Netizens would opt an alternative video streaming service to watch an uploaded videos of either ABS-CBN or GMA-7 TV shows such as YouTube on broadband Internet.
ABS-CBN.com, on one hand, introduced an online premium monthly subscription video streaming service in 2003. Various ABS-CBN TV shows being recorded from local TV broadcast feed use Windows Media Video 9 video codec and encoded with digital rights management (DRM) that can be played on Windows Media Player 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 only by online payment basis to the Internet users. Firstly was ABS-CBN Now!, then TFC Now! by late mid-decade 2000s, and finally the service was seperated between local video streaming service IWanTV.com.ph (exclusively for Sky Broadband and Bayan DSL subscribers) in 2012 and international video streaming service TFC.tv in 2012. Both IWanTV and TFC.tv use DRM-encoded H.264 video codec under Adobe Flash graphics web interface.
Back in mid-decade 2000s (about 2004, 2005, or 2006, I don’t know the exact year it was released) ABS-CBN went a joint venture with Globe Telecom to create a first generation ABS-CBN mobile prepaid SIM, dubbed “Kapamilya” SIM addressing a further affordable GSM-based mobile call and short messaging service (SMS) service rates, but that offer was discontinued due to lower number of subscriptions and because of full majority of competing popular mobile network services. In the second quarter of 2013 ABS-CBN and Globe Telecom collaborate together again a second time to create a second generation ABS-CBN mobile prepaid SIM, not only on affordable GSM mobile call, unlimited SMS, and 4G mobile Internet streaming access but also a mobile video streaming. Yes, that move would attract for most loyal ABS-CBN TV viewers that often miss to watch their favorite TV shows without sacrificing to reach through their traditional TV sets—whether (near defunct) CRT or widescreen LCD/LED/Plasma—at home.
The second generation ABS-CBN mobile prepaid SIM was officially released November 18, 2013 two days after a beneficiary concert for Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan in international code name) victims that hit in Eastern Visayas region, following an official TV ad (featuring various ABS-CBN artists) of a new SIM service version exclusively aired on ABS-CBN main local TV channel. Available in the market at selected stalls, it claimed a bonus service fee at about 1-peso GSM call rates for ABS-CBN SIM-to-ABS-CBN SIM subscribers.
Smartphone And Tablet PC Unit And Mobile Broadband Internet Requirements
As current fixed broadband Internet such as PLDT myDSL requires desktop PC and even current mobile broadband Internet stick such as Globe, Smart, and Sun require laptop PC, so as second generation ABS-CBN Mobile SIM requires the following list of smartphone and tablet PC units available in the market today:
- Apple iPhone (4, 4S, 5, 5C, 5S or higher version)
- Apple iPad (3, 4 or higher version)
- Android OS capable mobile smartphone or tablet PC with latest mobile dual-core or quad-core CPU (MyPhone, Cherry, Torque, Coby, Polaroid, O Plus, StarMobile, Skyworth, etc.)
- Windows Phone (7 or higher) capable mobile phone (such as Nokia)
- Other leading consumer electronics brand of mobile smartphone and tablet PC with other OS system (Sony Xperia, Samsung Galaxy, LG, Acer, etc.)
The above mentioned smartphone and tablet PC units must have a built-in HSPDA (3 Mbps or 7.5 Mbps) internal mobile broadband Intenet 4G network modem as well as Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n (100 Mbps or higher) capable to receive mobile video and Internet streaming. However, use of older version of Apple iPhone or iPad or older Android OS capable or other OS smartphone or tablet PC unit without 4G network—even conventional GSM-based mobile phone unit of the past—was not accessible.
Promo Access Mobile Video And Broadband Internet Streaming
Just as most present mobile phone networks in the Philippines such as Smart, Talk n Text, Globe, Touch Mobile, and Sun that offer SMS registration-based promo call, SMS, and mobile Internet services at affordable service fee, various smartphone or tablet PC users that use 2nd generation ABS-CBN mobile SIM may key in the following SMS syntax with respective feature promo Internet and video streaming access service fee and send to 2135:
- For 15 pesos loaded prepaid fee subscription, KOL15 (30 MB iWanTV mobile video streaming and mobile Internet streaming, 1-day validity, unlimited iWanTV mobile video streaming via Wi-Fi)
- For 20 pesos loaded prepaid fee subscription, KOL20 (45 MB iWanTV mobile video streaming and mobile Internet streaming, 1-day validity, unlimited iWanTV mobile video streaming via Wi-Fi)
- For 50 pesos loaded prepaid fee subscription, KOL50 (120 MB iWanTV mobile video streaming and mobile Internet streaming, 5-day validity, unlimited iWanTV mobile video streaming via Wi-Fi)
If they did not use promo access system by SMS registration, then they would opt 1 peso per 1 MB mobile video or Internet streaming service fee, free from 800 MB Internet streaming promo service limit that would disable Internet access for 1 day mainly because it was Globe-powered service just like Globe Tatoo mobile Internet promo rates.
Mobile Video Streaming Specifications
The official website of second generation ABS-CBN Mobile SIM access did not mention an actual specifications of mobile video streaming to play various ABS-CBN TV shows currently in standard definition (SD) format 480i at default, but because of 1 peso per 1 MB and basic promo service charge access giving basic digital video quality content here is my own predicted specification:
- Video codec: H.264
- Video resolution: 320 x 240 pixels
- Video aspect ratio: 4:3
- Video frame rate: 12 fps
- Video bit rate: 140 to 180 kbps
- Audio codec: AAC
- Audio frequency range: up to 14,000 Hz
- Audio track: Mono
- Audio bit rate: 10 to 15 kbps
If ABS-CBN would switch from SD to high definition (HD) format 720p or 1080i once the roll-out of ISDB-T DTTV transmission will fully commercialize, then the mobile video streaming content would possibly change from 4:3 aspect ratio to 16:9 aspect ratio depending on reconfiguring a given resolution and frame rates and even service fee rates.
Other Mobile Videostreaming Service?
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) had been approved to roll-out the second generation ABS-CBN mobile SIM, mainly because its system was stable during test run of mobile video streaming and Internet access except for roaming. No related issue of possible radio interference among other mobile broadband Internet service as well as GSM calls and SMS/MMS.
As of this writing, there were no available, possible speculation via reliable sources that TV networks TV5 and GMA-7 would imitate the concept from ABS-CBN mobile service currently negotiating with Globe Telecom that operates nationwide 4G network service. If ever, for example, both of the two aforementioned TV networks would do this in reality, then they would run on Smart or Sun 4G network, with the same service rate as that of ABS-CBN mobile but with different SIM configuration and different SMS registration on promo mobile Internet and videostreaming.
There seems to be a form of “duopoly” for negotiating between a TV network and a leading mobile network in the Philippines, depending on a possible impact to offer for many people who have had on their side of favorite local TV channel in the Philippines. The Kapisanan ng mga Broadkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) will keep monitoring the behavior of competing local TV channels together with their own mobile videostreaming service aside from conventional analog TV broadcast, in spite of deferment of KBP-member by GMA-7.
Mobile Analog TV And ISDB-T One-Seg DTV Stream Service
And if ever the roll-out of second generation ABS-CBN mobile SIM and even possible speculation of future roll-out of a SIM made by GMA-7 and TV5 offering mobile videostreaming would not be successful, there were an alternative to watch various local TV channels such as the use of built-in analog TV tuner on most Philippine-made dual-SIM mobile phone models such as MyPhone, Cherry Mobile, Torque, Star Mobile, etc. Secondly, various local TV networks would expect an upcoming roll-out of combined full-segment and one-segment ISDB-T transmission compatible for built-in ISDB-T tuner on most portable digital devices such as smartphones, tablet PC, and portable gaming consoles, to be launched by 2014 or 2015 before the switch-over from analog TV broadcast to DTV service on December 31, 2015.
Note: This blog that was intentionally promoted with consent is not connected to ABS-CBN.