MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos can now experience the newest and biggest innovation that will transform their TV viewing experience as ABS-CBN launches ABS-CBN TVplus, which promises clear picture and sound and will offer free exclusive channels on top of all the free-to-air channels available via digital transmission.
ABS-CBN TVplus, a digital box more popularly known as the ‘mahiwagang black box,’ brings dramatically clear picture and sound that is comparable to seeing a movie on DVD, a far cry from the prevailing analog system.
“Digital terrestrial television (DTT) is a major investment for ABS-CBN, but it is actually investing in our fellow Filipinos. We believe that the inspiration and the information that DTT will beam into our homes will help open new windows of opportunity for every Filipino family,” said ABS-CBN chairman Eugenio Lopez III.
The ceremonial switch-on that marked the start of the digital television age in the country happened last night (February 11) at the ABS-CBN Center Road led by Lopez, ABS-CBN president and CEO Charo Santos-Concio, and ABS-CBN head of access Carlo Katigbak.
“The ‘mahiwagang black box’ has long been ABS-CBN’s dream for our fellow Filipinos who don’t get to watch crystal clear TV. Now, everything will change for them,” Concio said.
“ABS-CBN is the pioneer of the newest innovation in television. As we mark a new milestone in the history of TV, we want to thank every Kapamilya who has contributed to the transformation of digital TV from a dream to a reality,” said Katigbak.
ABS-CBN TVplus offers a more enjoyable TV watching experience for the whole family. On top of ABS-CBN and ABS-CBN Sports+Action, viewers will be able to access four more exclusive free-to-air channels upon purchase of a ‘mahiwagang black box’ to be connected to a television set.
These include CineMo, the first-ever all-day movie channel on free digital TV that airs a wide variety of action, comedy, and blockbuster movies of favorite Pinoy idols.
Kids can tune in to Yey!, an all-day children’s entertainment channel that features a mix of wholesome action, fun, adventure, and edutainment programs for boys and girls.
Knowledge Channel, meanwhile, is the only TV channel with curriculum-based programs and content for primary and secondary students.
ABS-CBN TVplus also offers DZMM TeleRadyo, which airs the live TV broadcast of all-day news, information, commentary, and public service programs from the leading AM radio station DZMM Radyo Patrol Sais Trenta.
“Our channels cater to all members of the family – young and old, male or female. Those who are not able to afford cable TV are offered more choices so they can enjoy watching TV and increase their bonding time with the whole family,” said March Ventosa, ABS-CBN head of narrowcast and DTT channels.
“We have closed deals with some of the country’s biggest film companies to build a film library of Pinoy idols such as Fernando Poe Jr., Dolphy, Robin Padilla, other Asian action films, and English movies for our Filipino viewers. We’ve also acquired children’s entertainment programs from Nickelodeon and other studios,” said Leng Raymundo, head of ABS-CBN Program Acquisitions and International Sales Distribution, which is in-charge of acquiring content for the channels.
ABS-CBN TVplus is offered at an affordable one-time payment price of P2,500 only, with no monthly or installation fee. For a limited time, each box comes with an ABS-CBNmobile prepaid SIM card with P50 load that can be used to call, text, surf the Internet, or watch Kapamilya programs through the iWantv! app.
The ‘mahiwagang black box,’ has been developed to work with all kinds of TV sets, even older ones, to get crystal clear signal.
It will be available initially at the ABS-CBN Store, ABS-CBNmobile Store, SM Appliance Centers, 2Go Express, Solid Service Center (Sony Authorized Service Channel), Villman, Silicon Valley and other electronic, appliance and hardware stores. Authorized ABS-CBN TVplus sales agents will also be selling house-to-house. Consumers may also purchase it online by visiting www.abs-cbnstore.com, or calling (632) 488-8888 and 1800-10-4888888 (outside Metro Manila), or sending a text message to 23661. The box will be delivered via LBC and 2G0, free of charge within the area of digital coverage.
According to ABS-CBN DTT head Chinky Alcedo, ABS-CBN TVplus will be available where digital signal transmission is currently available, such as Metro Manila, Rizal, Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Pangasinan, Benguet, and Metro Cebu.
“ABS-CBN TVplus will soon be widely available in more areas as we aim to bring more digitally clear signal and a more enjoyable TV viewing experience for all Filipinos nationwide,” she said.
The term ‘mahiwagang black box’ was coined and popularized by broadcast journalist Ted Failon” in his program “Failon Ngayon sa DZMM” via a hit promo contest, which created awareness and excitement among Filipinos for DTT, as evidenced by long queues of people who want to win the box.
ABS-CBN has been preparing for the digital switchover since 2007, having conducted test broadcast activities for the past seven years to ensure a smooth transition to DTT. The network has conducted DTT trials in key areas all over the Philippines. The consumer test results have been highly positive, ensuring ABS-CBN’s DTT offering will provide more and better opportunities to deliver content and serve Filipino viewers.
The network is also the frontrunner in introducing world-class television innovations and delivering content to Filipino audiences. It was the first to add colors to its broadcast and pioneered cable TV through SkyCable. It has also revolutionized the viewing habits of Filipinos through video-on-demand and livestreaming sites TFC.tv and iWantv!, and ABS-CBNmobile, which allows its subscribers to watch ABS-CBN shows on their mobile devices whenever and wherever they are and has been offering original programs and content.