Yunnan Telecom and Chinese consumer electronics manufacturer TCL Corporation (000100.SZ) held a strategic partnership agreement signing ceremony in Kunming yesterday and launched a smart TV set that supports China Telecom's (NYSE: CHA; 0728.HK) iTV IPTV platform. Yunnan Telecom's partnership with TCL will extend beyond iTV to encompass possible future cooperation on content, services, products, and sales.
Ma Shan, deputy general manager of Yunnan Telecom, said that the iTV HD IPTV service currently offered 106 live channels of programming, as well as six channels of free HD programming and 60 channels of free on-demand HD programming, and functionality including "smart replay" time-shifting, interactive on-demand programming, true HDTV, local highlights, and smart applications.
The content operator for the new partnership has not been named. In previous arrangements, TCL has announced deals with Hangzhou-based DTV and IPTV operator Wasu Digital Television Media Group and CCTV's national online TV station CNTV.
In October 2009, CNTV and Yunnan TV announced a joint venture, Yunnan Love-It Network (iptv.yntv.cn), through which they would partner on developing a "Yunnan Model" for operating an IPTV platform integrating CCTV, local television, and local telecom operator resources, albeit with CNTV continuing to hold a controlling interest. CNTV's plans called for it to launch IPTV services, overseen by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), after connecting its central broadcasting platform with network convergence trial cities in 2012.
An industry insider said that Yunnan Telecom's partnership with TCL could be a blow to cable DTV and set-top box (STB) services.
Editor's Note: For more information on this topic, please see "CCTV, Yunnan TV Establish IPTV JV," MD 10/19/09 issue.