SkyCable

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SkyCable
IndustryTelecommunications
FoundedJanuary 26, 1992
Headquarters33rd Floor, Tektite Towers, Philippine Stock Exchange, Exchange Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City, Philippines
ProductsCable Television
OwnersABS-CBN Corporation (55%)
Lopez Holdings Corporation (5%)
Sampaquita Communications Pte. Ltd. (40%)
ParentSky Cable Corporation
Websitewww. mysky.com.ph
 
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This article is about cable television provider in the Philippines. For other uses, see Sky (disambiguation).
SkyCable
IndustryTelecommunications
FoundedJanuary 26, 1992
Headquarters33rd Floor, Tektite Towers, Philippine Stock Exchange, Exchange Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City, Philippines
ProductsCable Television
OwnersABS-CBN Corporation (55%)
Lopez Holdings Corporation (5%)
Sampaquita Communications Pte. Ltd. (40%)
ParentSky Cable Corporation
Websitewww. mysky.com.ph

SkyCable is a cable television service of Sky Cable Corporation, the Philippines' largest cable television provider.[1] Its franchise area covers Metropolitan Manila, and its suburb or neighboring areas and its also in provincial areas that both digital and few analog services, and it has 700,000 subscribers controlling 45% of the cable TV market.[2]

History[edit]

Since it started community antenna television system operation in the Philippines on January 26, 1992, SkyCable provides cable Internet, VoIP services and digital cable TV service.

Basic cable packages[edit]

In order to be competitive in the cable TV industry, SkyCable adopts an alternative pricing model for its subscribers. It allows its subscribers to select their own packages or channels, comparable to a pay per channel service most generally used in the United States. SkyCable also introduces the package-pricing model typically used by other cable television providers in which channels are classified into packages.

Postpaid[edit]

The SkyCable postpaid bundles are categorized into 10 clusters named as Select, Bronze 299, Bronze 399, Bronze 499, Silver, Gold, HD and a separate payment scheme for its Premium/Pay-Per-View.[14]

Prepaid[edit]

SkyCable also offered prepaid packages to its cable TV service, the Silver Prepaid and Select Plus Prepaid. It was a prepaid cable TV service based on a non-recurring subscription scheme and allows non-postpaid customers to subscribe to selected channels and pay only for the desire duration of viewing and the service requires a digital addressable set-top box. The prepaid plans came in an array of card denomination to choose from that is suitable to its non-postpaid subscribers. Silver Prepaid and Select Plus Prepaid packages came in similar denomination: 3, 15 and 30 days.[36]

Cable services[edit]

SkyCable coverage area for analog cable TV is available in selected areas in Metropolitan Manila and its suburb while its digital services covers key cities in the Philippines. It offers basic to premium cable TV services.

Digital system[edit]

In an ongoing exertion to battle cable piracy and averting illegitimate connections,[38] SkyCable through SkyCable Digital adopts digital video broadcasting for cable or DVB-C. It is a standard for transmitting digital television signal over cable. SkyCable uses digital video compression or distribution through its digital addressable box or the Digibox, a digital set-top box that uses the DVB-C broadcast standard to give its subscribers access to its digital infrastructure.[39]

Set-top box[edit]

The Digibox provides an enhanced viewing experience with features such as crystal clear picture quality; allowing its users to customize its viewing preferences by organizing its channels and useful programming information by its real-time onscreen electronic program guide with highlights and synopsis of every program shown; and an in-house mail function for its technical and corporate announcements.[40] One key feature of the Digibox is the parental control lock that can pre-select channels and set an automatic parental rating level that locks programs or channels. It also has built-in games, the classic Tetris and GoBang.[39]

Smart card[edit]

SkyCable Digital’s Digibox conveys programming with encryption to alleviate signal piracy. It utilizes ISO/IEC 7816 smart cards, which transmit digital signals to the receiver to decrypt the programming for viewing. To fully consummate the Digibox, it uses Irdeto Access B.V. smart cards, which are ISO/IEC 7816 compliant. It is given to all subscribers with standard and high definition set-top boxes. The smart card stores the subscriber’s information and the plan to which they subscribe.[45]

High-definition channels[edit]

SkyCable HD logo

On September 19, 2008, SkyCable initiated the pay-per-view broadcast of the 2008 Ryder Cup[46] golf tournament in high-definition (HD). It is transmitted in 1080i resolution and paves the way for the Philippines to convey the first HD signal. In July 2009, Skycable also commenced a locally produced HD program through, now the defunct Balls HD, the collegiate basketball tournament—University Athletic Association of the Philippines and the National Collegiate Athletic Association.[47] At present, SkyCable offers 14 HD channels accessible through separate payment. Lineup consists of Discovery HD World, History HD, National Geographic Channel HD, HBO HD, NBA Premium TV HD, Fox Movies Premium HD, Fox Crime HD, Comedy Central HD, Fox Sports Puls HD, HBO Hits HD, Fox HD, MTV Live HD, Fox Family Movies HD, STAR World HD, ASN HD, Cartoon Network HD, Outdoor Channel HD, Fashion TV HD and the Freeview Channel HD.[33][48]

Personal video recording[edit]

On December 8, 2010, SkyCable announced that it would launch a new service similar to U. S.-based TiVo for its high and standard definition services within the first quarter of 2011.[49] Initially, the service will be called PVR or personal video recording, which has a 500GB internal hard drive enough to record 135 hours of cable programs in high definition or 217 hours for its standard definition service. Distinct from regular digital video recorders, the PVR uses the built-in electronic program guide that enables its subscribers which programs to be recorded. The new service will also feature Timeshift, a new way of recording programs to be viewed to at a time more opportune to its subscribers, and that would also allow recording of favorite programs on a time delay basis. Timeshift will also allow its subscribers or has the ability to pause live broadcast and in slow motion.[50] On March 21, 2011, SkyCable launches its first personal video recording in the Philippines, the iRecord. It is an enhanced version of its digibox. It allows subscribers to record cable programs up to 145 hours in standard definition or 86 hours in high definition platform. It comes with a 320GB disk space.[51]

Former services[edit]

SkyCard Mastercard/SkyCard-Citibank Mastercard[edit]

The first cable TV branded credit card in the Philippines.

In June 1997, SkyCable in partnership with SolidBank Corporation through Solidcard Products Corp. launches the first cable TV branded credit card in the Philippines, the SkyCard MasterCard. A fully integrated credit card exclusive to its qualified subscribers. At the height of partnership, First Metro Investment Corp., a financing house of Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company is in talks with SolidBank Corp. for possible merger and acquisition.[6][52] On June 1, 2000, First Metro Investment Corp. fully acquired the financial and non-real estate resources of SolidBank.[53] And on September 22, 2000, First Metro Investment Corp. completed its acquisition of SolidBank Corp. and its subsidiaries AB Card and Solidcard Products corporations and launches its own brand, the Metrobank Value MasterCard. At the time of the merger, SkyCable through Sky Vision Corporation turned its financial facilities and transferred its SkyCard MasterCard accounts to Citibank N. A. and rebranded it to SkyCard-Citibank MasterCard. Months after it was launched, the SkyCard-Citibank MasterCard failed to reach its target market and eventually ended the partnership.[54]

Carriage and content disputes[edit]

GMA Network signal tampering/distortion[edit]

In February 2003, GMA Network, Inc., operator of a close competitor to ABS-CBN filed a complaint against SkyCable for allegedly moving GMA Network from channel 12 without approval of the National Telecommunication Commission. Local authorities decided on April 25, 2003 that SkyCable violated the provisions of Memorandum Circular 4-08-88 and ordered to carry the free-to-air television signal on its system except when theoretically impracticable. It also ordered SkyCable to faithfully and strictly conforms with the requirements and to conclude from randomly changing channel assignments without notice and approval from local authorities. As a result, SkyCable filed a motion for reconsideration addressing the rule invalidate the means as it conflicts with a state law on intellectual property but local authorities denied the motion and directed SkyCable to comply with its previous decision. Consequently, the latter filed another appeal through an appellate court but still rejected their request and ordered them to conform to local authorities resolution.[55]

Carriage disputes with Solar Entertainment[edit]

On January 1, 2008, Solar Entertainment pulled its 6 cable channels from SkyCable; namely Basketball TV, Solar Sports, ETC, 2nd Avenue, Jack TV and Crime/Suspense. The channels were replaced by 6 new channels owned by fellow subsidiary Creative Programs, Inc.; AXN Beyond, Balls, Fox Crime, KidsCo, Maxxx and Velvet. While vice president Juno Chuidian stated in a report to GMA News TV that the new channels were added because they would offer less "redundant" programming and feature more series that had never been aired in the country before, reports surfaced that the channels were pulled due to a dispute; ABS-CBN believed that Solar's lower fees for advertising on its channels were causing ABS-CBN to lose revenue.[56]

Solar Entertainment however, retaliated by expanding its partnership with the terrestrial broadcaster Radio Philippines Network; adding programming from its C/S cable channel to its primetime lineup, and using the channel as part of its successful bid against ABS-CBN for the next PBA broadcast contract.[57]

STAR TV pulled its plug[edit]

Due to programming costs, STAR TV pulled its plug over SkyCable while a negotiation was still in the offing. In May 1999, STAR TV decided to unilaterally cease its entire channel signal and demanded that SkyCable carry STAR Movies, STAR World, STAR Sports, ESPN, Viva Cinema, Channel V, STAR Movies Mandarin (now STAR Chinese Movies) and the National Geographic Channel (formerly NBC Asia) and asked the cable company to pay twice the amount from its original contract. As a result, SkyCable dropped STAR TV channels and its affiliates and launches Lifestyle Network. After three years of absence, SkyCable and its sister company, Home Cable relaunched the STAR TV lineup.[58]

SkyCable axes AXN[edit]

On August 1, 1999, SkyCable axes AXN from its programming lineup due to low and poor content, and too much violence on its programming. In addition to various complains from its subscribers, no new programming lineup was offered by AXN. Consequently, SkyCable replaced AXN with a business channel, Bloomberg Television. In May 2000, AXN resumed its broadcast in SkyCable and offered AXN to its programming lineup as one of its exclusive channels.[58]

TV5 files complaint[edit]

On March 14, 2011 local television network, TV5 through its parent company, ABC Development Corporation filed a complaint to the local National Telecommunications Commission against SkyCable. The latter accused SkyCable of unfair practice for refusing to carry its news channel, Aksyon TV. Under NTC Memorandum Circular 4-08-88, all cable and satellite companies in the Philippines must carry all free-to-air local channels on its lineup.[59][60] On April 1, 2011, SkyCable announced the inclusion of AksyonTV to its lineup effective May 4 on channel 61 which was being occupied by a religious channel, EWTN. However on April 28 2011, SkyCable said it would start airing the channel on April 30, four days earlier from its original pronouncement and it will only be available through its digital platform.

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]