HyppTV a worthy substitute?

Recently TM's Unifi service upgraded its desperately clunky, slow and boring HyppTV software, service and interface. The new interface should have been the interface for the service since day one and with a killer Video On Demand (VOD) service, maybe this is the future of TV, at least in Malaysia for now.

Now TM can actually become a TV network by curating its own content...

Cleaner channel navigation

To those who grew up with traditional Astro's style channel navigation, whereby every channel number is a TV channel, HyppTV just turn that upside down and flip it on its head. Might be a bit confusing but once you get it there's a lot of things to like and one of those A'ha moments.

So on Astro if you want to see TV3 its 103, Disney XD is 637, HBO is 411... well you get the idea.

But in HyppTV a channel number can be some thing different. A channel number can be either:

  • one particular channel network, just like Astro or
  • a Video On Demand (VOD) channel

The second behaviour, the VOD, is much more interesting. Now TM can actually become a TV network by curating its own content or simply ask a 3rd party TV network, producer or content studio curate it themselves.

On HyppTV channel number 821, which is a VOD channel, called Kids - Dino, shows all the shows available on this channel. From multiple season of Bob the Builder to Thomas and Friends to Barney to Pingu, TM can stuff as much of kids shows on to this channel as much as they want, so long they are licenses to do so. Once you've selected what show you (maybe in this case your little munchkin) want to watch, say Bob the Builder S10 (season 10), you can then select what episode to watch. And the most magical part is when it you hit the select button on your remote, it plays it right away!, well maybe with a one second of buffering but you will not notice it. You can pause the show, rewind and forward and when your munchkin is bored with it just press the back button to get back and select another show. Like a mini YouTube but with instant access.

HyppTV Kids-Dino

... you can then select what episode to watch.

HyppTV Bob the builder

Now this depends on what you subscribe, the Platinum pack is a good value, but even you don't subscribe to anything there's always channel 891 which is intuitively call Free View (You can watch an entire session of Upin & Ipin for free)

HyppTV Upin Ipin

You can pause the show, rewind and forward...

HyppTV Upin Ipin play

TM is not the only one curating their own channel. The Fried Chilies Network have their own channel, 833. Skop Production with their Gerak Khas franchise shows have their own channel and even CSI, Red Bull, Sports Academy (learn any sport here) and much much more.

HyppTV VOD

The content

Content on HyppTV might not be the best. There is no HBO, CineMax, Disney, AFC, AXN or any 3 letter TV network acronym. Instead there's Warner TV, Syfy, HyppSports, CBeebies and a bucket load of BBC's programming. But for me that makes it more interesting as I can discover other kinds of shows. My wife can watch different shows, she simply likes to flick the up button on the remote until a cute guy pops up and there's always cute guys on TV. And I can finally tell my son lets watch Bob the Builder without loading a DVD, and not having to explain to him why certain shows are only available at a certain time of the day. Kids are mini walking psychopaths, if they want it they want it now and if they don't get it they are prepare to wake the neighbours.

Where the content gets a bit ugly is in Interactive mode. I get what TM is trying to do with this, a single place (by clicking a single button) for apps and other services outside TV to live, but they failed miserably here. There are popular apps like YouTube and Facebook, but the interface was horrendous that you be right to guess a 4 year old did the interface. There are local apps like Traffic info, TaxiMonger (a Taxi calling service), Waktu Solat, Flight Info, but again your better off following Plus's Twitter feed, calling a cab on MyTaxi and Googling Waktu Solat and your flight number. Even the movie trailer section was also not updated.

...content gets a bit ugly is in Interactive mode

HyppTV Interactive menu

...better off following Plus's Twitter feed...

HyppTV Interactive traffic

...better off... calling a cab on MyTaxi

HyppTV Interactive taxi

The only place that had anything good in Interactive was (not surprising) a show, Try Masak. The instructional cooking videos which was nicely categorized made me realize even I could be a chef. TM could have just pluck the contents out and created another VOD channel for it, which will serve the content some justice.

Good enough if...

HyppTV will not satisfy a majority of people, especially those who have been used to watching Astro (but I used to watch Astro). And lets face it live sports events, like the Malaysian Super League (must support local football mah) and English Premier League games, gets people hooked on to subscribe other Mini packages which eventually they say they can't live without. So these people will definitely kutuk gile HyppTV for not showing their live EPL QPR game (does anyone watches QPR?, why in the heck did Tony bought this team only his wife will know).

But for the rest of us who have a family and don't like to buy a stack of Bob the Builder DVDs, only to buy them again when it gets scratch, and a wife who channel flip like crazy and also a father who thinks the TV is dead (and treats the Internet on his laptop as a second home)... HyppTV is good enough for us.

Oh, TM please remove the Interactive mode and thank you for reviving the Back button on the remote, saves me a few seconds of button pressing.

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