SEOUL -- SK Broadband, a broadband internet service operator in South Korea, released a small and convenient portable device with a length of 9.1 centimeters (3.6 inches) that serves as an all-in-one playbox capable of enjoying over-the-top (OTT) services, digital channels, and entertainment services such as games and a karaoke function.
Smart TV functions can be used by connecting to a TV or monitor, SK Broadband said, adding the new device called "PlayZ" targets customers who are not willing to subscribe to IPTVs or cable TVs, single-person households without smart TVs, and MZers who need their own TVs.
In partnership with five OTT platforms -- two foreign services, Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+, and three domestic services including Watcha, Tving and Wavve -- integrated search and price comparison can be made. Unaffiliated OTT service platforms can be downloaded from Play Store, a digital distribution service operated by Google.
SK Broadband left open the possibility of its partnership with Netflix, the world's top OTT platform. "We will provide Netflix as soon as possible because various and complex discussions are underway," SK Broadband's media and home entertainment division head Kim Hyuk said in a news conference on January 25. "We will maximize profits through advertising while increasing the number of users, revitalizing advertising alliances, and minimizing the burden on users."
Unlike the United States, Kim noted that many customers in South Korea watch OTT on mobile. "About 70 percent of all Koreans use OTT, and the frequency and time of use are increasing. I thought it was right to provide a new service for OTT," he said, adding that PlayZ is not an extension of paid broadcasting, but a new media platform suitable for the changed situation.
"Rather than replacing the set-top box in the living room, it is to release services that meet various demands outside IPTV," said Kim. Customers can watch the advertisement-based free real-time TV service that offers about 30 free channels and 500 free videos on demand (VOD). Users can enjoy arcade retro games and casual games.
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