Tuesday, February 9, 2010

PLDT myDSL Watchpad

WHETHER we like it or not, the World Wide Web has changed the way we watch our favorite TV shows, thanks to sites like YouTube and Hulu.com, among others.

Back here at home, there have been quite a few attempts to make online entertainment more accessible to more people, especially the more mobile amongst us such as SmartTV (what happened to that?) and more recently, PLDT myDSL Watchpad, which has continued to improve since I wrote about its launch for the Infotech section of the Manila Bulletin last year.

Recently, PLDT myDSL Watchpad in partnership with Channel [V] brought us Musicfest 2010, a music festival featuring American Idol winner Kris Allen, Jabbawockeez and Boyce Avenue. Subscribers who could not make it to the shows in Manila and Cebu were able to watch it on live streaming video.

Just how much PLDT myDSL Watchpad has progressed since its launch? So far it seems to be chugging along pretty well. One big acid test that awaits it is how well will it cover the coming elections. In any case, here is an updated version of that October, 2009 news item that I wrote about it.


MULTITASKING online suddenly got a lot more entertaining.

At least for subscribers of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT) Company’s myDSL broadband internet service, there is now one more reason to go online. With its recently launched Watchpad, users can now watch their favorite TV shows in streaming video for free even as they surf the web, check their emails, update their social networking status, write their blogs, chat in real time and play online games.

With Cignal HD as content provider, Watchpad is a revolutionary service that combines broadband connection with rich multimedia content. Initially available right off the bat are popular free TV and cable channels National Geographic, Cartoon Network, MTV, Pinoy Box Office, CNN, Animax Mobile, CNBC and GMA while newly-added networks now include MTV, PLDT, Living Asia, Bio, History, Crime Investigation, Tin Word, Go E! Entertainment and most recently, Channel [V]. myDSL subscribers only need to register at PLDT myDSL Watchpad's official site to get a username and password in order to access them for free.

“While it’s true that you can access streaming videos of your favorite shows in the internet from various sources online, what we did here at Watchpad is bring them all together under one online roof,” says PLDT Retail Business Group Head Dan Ibarra. “So our users can spend more time watching, surfing, chatting and blogging instead of searching the web for these show.”

And that’s not all. Watchpad is also introducing myFlicks, its own one-stop, commercial-free movie central channel which will show the acclaimed films of 2009 Cannes International Film Festival Best Director Brilliante Mendoza starting this month. Mendoza, who has so far directed a total of eight films, is the first Filipino to get this prestigious recognition at the annual film festival held in France.

During the press conference launching his inclusion in Watchpad’s initial entertainment line-up, Mendoza said he’s very pleased to see his films such as Serbis, Twilight Dancers, Masahista, Mamoro, Foster Child and soon, Kaleido and the award-winning but controversial Kinatay exposed to a wider online audience. The filmmaker pointed out, however, that since myFlicks is still subject to MTRCB regulations, only the MTRCB-approved cuts of his films will be shown in Watchpad.

For PLDT’s part, Ibarra and AVP Gary Dujali announced that aside from those by Mendoza, more acclaimed films from the country’s best directors are coming soon at Watchpad. Another exclusive Watchpad channel, myView, will feature special shows from popular celebrities like Isabel Oli who will discuss her fashion tips and Rhian Ramos who will dwell on her own celebrity status in myLife. Also in myView are the latest showbiz gossip from fashion designer slash musician Kate Torralba and respected industry scribes like Shirley Pizarro, Isah Red, Dolly Anne Carvajal and Ricky Lo, now known as myFoursome.

Dujali pointed out that the Watchpad service is not just limited to films and television but also the latest online games from LevelUp! Games. Initially available for Watchpad are CrazyKart and Hello Kitty Online Philippines.

With regards to the speed and quality of the streaming videos and overall quality of the service as a whole, Dujali and Ibarra are one in saying that while Watchpad is available to all PLDT myDSL subscribers, “the service is best experienced for those who are subscribed to Plan 1299 and higher.” Plan 1299 is also the minimum requirement for those who want to enjoy the streaming videos of available Watchpad entertainment in High Quality (HQ) resolution.

According to Ibarra, PLDT has a total subscriber base of over 1.5 million for both its wired and wireless broadband service. He said he expects this number to significantly increase with the introduction of Watchpad.

Dujali also reveals that there are plans to acquire 25 to 30 more channels to augment the service as it continues to be a hit with PLDT myDSL subscribers. He hinted, however, that just like cable TV providers, PLDT may also require subscribers to pay a premium for certain channels as well as special shows like the recently concluded Pacquiao-Cotto match available only on pay-per-view.

Here's the first TV commercial for PLDT myDSL Watchpad:

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