Traditional TV facing challenge from the Web

By Jiang Xueqing ( China Daily ) Updated: 2013-11-29 07:45:17

Traditional TV facing challenge from the Web

Song Chen / China Daily

Traditional TV facing challenge from the Web

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Traditional TV facing challenge from the Web

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Internet companies are changing the landscape of the television industry by combining entertainment with commerce, reports Jiang Xueqing

Within 28 minutes, 5,555 over-the-top TVs were sold out by LeTV, an online video portal in Beijing, on Nov 11. The TVs, which deliver video and audio over the Internet, cost 6,999 yuan ($1,140) each for 60-inch models and 1,999 yuan for 39-inch versions.

The buyers made a great contribution to the spending spree on the so-called Chinese Singles' Day, invented by e-commerce entrepreneurs to boost sales.

Also on that day, 1,111 OTT set-top boxes from LeTV were sold as soon as after they became available. Each box cost 490 yuan, providing one-year access to the portal's online video service plus a gift card offering an additional three months of access.

The hot sales came just 20 days after the company took orders for 21,000 50-inch OTT TVs on Oct 22, though it had only 10,000 in stock.

"Market demand went far beyond our expectations. Consumers started to realize that over-the-top content delivery is the future direction of television," said Zhang Zhiwei, vice-president of LeTV.

Since the beginning of this year, OTT TV and set-top boxes have grown in popularity. Web users are no longer satisfied with watching copyrighted movies and TV series online on the small screens of their personal computers, laptops or tablets.

They feel more comfortable watching a wide range of content on a large screen with better visual quality.

"I got tired of connecting my laptop to my TV. It's not convenient," said Han Peng, a software development manager at an information technology company in Beijing.

He bought an OTT set-top box from Xiaomi Corp, a mobile Internet company that develops smartphones, apps and consumer electronics. The box is mainly used for playing children's cartoons and movies for his family.

"Before I bought a MiBox, I had to watch whatever was shown on TV at a fixed time. But now, I can choose what I want based on my own schedule," he said.

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