SINGAPORE - Broadband users on any network including those of Singtel, StarHub and M1 can now have easy access to the movie streaming services of overseas websites, such as Netflix and Hulu Plus.
This is via a new set-top box with the tech smarts that save movie fans the trouble of jumping through hoops to access overseas websites, many of which restrict content distribution to regions such as the United States and Britain.
Previously, fuss-free access to such sites was available only to the broadband subscribers of Internet service providers (ISPs) ViewQwest and MyRepublic, which have the same tech smarts known as virtual private network (VPN) in their broadband networks.
But now, ViewQwest has transferred all its VPN into a set-top box so it does not matter which ISP consumers are subscribed to. This means that Singtel, StarHub and M1 broadband users can also have the same fuss-free links to Netflix and Hulu Plus if they use the set-top box.
On Friday, ViewQwest launched its TV 4K box, which will go on sale next Thursday at tech trade show Comex for a promotional price of $249. The usual price is $299.
The box sits between the TV and the Internet modem. Once plugged in, users can start streaming Hollywood movies and TV series from the pre-installed Netflix and Hulu Plus apps, as well as British drama series from the BBC iPlayer app, among others.
After the first year, consumers have to pay ViewQwest $10.70 a month to continue to use its VPN service. Consumers also have to subscribe to Netflix and Hulu Plus, which has a monthly fee that starts at US$8. They can pay using their Singapore credit card.
CEO of ViewQwest Vignesa Moorthy said: "Viewers want to get their entertainment fix without the fuss of complicated set-ups or worrying whether their ISP offers VPN (services)."
Today, more than 50 per cent of the Internet traffic on ViewQwest's broadband network is from users accessing Netflix content, he added. This is thrice as much as the amount from users accessing YouTube content.