LG Dacom, the nation's No. 3 fixed-line carrier, launched commercial services for its internet protocol television, myLGtv, in Seoul and the surrounding area on Jan. 1.
LG Dacom's myLGtv seeks to differentiate itself from its bigger rivals using high video quality and user-friendly interfaces.
Under their commercial services, IPTV operators provide subscribers with not only traditional television programming but also video-on-demand services and interactive services.
Viewers of myLGtv are able to order products on home shopping channels and will be able to search the internet while watching live television.
LG Dacom offers 24 IPTV channels, including four terrestrial channels such as KBS, MBC, SBS and EBS, and plans to increase the number to 60 by the end of March.
A latecomer to the sector, LG Dacom plans to increase customer satisfaction by delivering functions that are not offered by its rivals.
The myLGtv allows easy access to content, providing viewers with alerts on popular channels and VOD content that are related to what they are watching.
In particular, myLGtv offers English and Korean subtitles for movies, documentaries and children's programs on its VOD channel. Viewers are also able to adjust the playback speed of videos that they are watching.
"myLGtv is a premium internet TV service", a spokesperson of LG Dacom said.
While its rivals focus on increasing the amount of video content, LG Dacom offers high-definition videos, using the ultra high-speed network of its affiliate, LG Powercomm.
LG Powercomm offers the fastest internet service among the nation's three IPTV operators, which include KT and SK Broadband. More than 1 million people, half of its internet subscribers, access the company's 100 megabits per second network.
LG Powercomm is the nation's No. 3 internet service provider with a 13.8 percent market share as of the end of November 2008, according to the Korea Communications Commission. KT is top with a 43.8 percent share and SK Broadband has a 22.8 percent share. LG Dacom said although its rivals offered a greater choice of content, their video quality was below user expectations and their interfaces were complicated.
Like its competitors, LG Dacom offers bundled services, which are cheaper than standalone ones.
For example, a subscription fee for myLGtv is 14,000 won. But the tariff can be reduced to 8,800 won in a bundled offering that includes two other fixed-line services.
LG Dacom plans to invest a combined 678 billion won in IPTV services and networks, planning to launch nationwide IPTV services as early as possible.
The nation's fixed-line operators have invested heavily in IPTV business, betting that it will serve as a new growth engine in the almost-saturated telephony market. KT's IPTV dubbed Mega TV has 800,000 subscribers, while SK Broadband's Broad & TV has 780,000 and LG Dacom's myLGtv has 65,000.
By Jin Hyun-joo