Digiturk plans to launch a high capacity personal video recorder (PVR) in Turkey in 2007 as the direct-to-home operator bids to bring leading edge technologies to the Turkish digital television market.
"Our subscribers will be able to choose how and when they want to watch TV," Hatice Memiguven, Digiturk's COO, told Satellite News. "This box enables our customer to create their own TV schedule, pause live TV, watch different channels in different rooms and record other events simultaneously for their TV viewing. We decided to have all these features in one box, so to avoid customers having a different box in two years. This box will enable push video services, recording facilities, as well as be HD and MPEG-4 compatible. It will all be in one box. It is not just a PVR."
The operator, which has more than 1 million subscribers, plans to aggressively push its new PVR offering, as the company targets 1.5 million subscribers, in a market of 17 million households, by the end of 2006, Memiguven said.
But Digiturk still is unsure what business model it will use when PVR services are launched, Memiguven said. "It will be launched in 2007, but it is not clearly defined yet what kind of business model we will use," she said. "In the beginning we may subsidize the box a little. It will also be available in terms of a retail model as well. There will be all different models in the market. 2007 will be a huge year for us in terms of launching VOD (video-on-demand) and HD services in Turkey. Digiturk subscribers are waiting for this new box."
Services such as push video and high-definition (HD) offerings will play a key role in Digiturk's PVR, Memiguven said. "You can download movies on the box and then people can watch them whenever they want," she said. "You will be able to push services on the hard disk. All the DRM (digital rights management) issues will be resolved. We aim to give our customers a video shop in their house which they can use any time. It will be mainly movies, new and archived movies, but there will be news also. We will also be able to transmit some events on there as well."
The growth of HD services, while key to the PVR, will take a bit longer to take hold, Memiguven said. "We are just beginning to see HD-compatible TV sets being sold in the market place, so at the moment, Digiturk Premium HD service will be ready in the first quarter of 2007, when there will be a penetration of these TV sets," she said.
Digiturk executives will use the PVR to beef up the company's interactive service offerings to customers. "Around 75 percent of our boxes are capable of interactivity," she said. " Unfortunately, betting is not legal here yet in Turkey. There are other interactive services such as gaming, EPG, weather reports, financial data, news, mosaics, all what you have on every platform. These services are very attractive products, which distinguish our services from other TV services in Turkey, but it is not that much of a profitable business yet."