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Internet TV Services Launched in Iran
Sci & Tech

Internet TV Services Launched in Iran

A local Iranian technology firm has officially launched its latest Internet Protocol Television service.
Keyvan Jameh-Bozorg, CEO of Baran Telecom licensed with the service, said Baran has been cooperating with Iran’s sole broadcasting provider and is one of five firms to have obtained IPTV permits this year, local technology website Digiato reports.  
The official added that those with “high-speed Internet connections” can use the service called Aio (pronounced I-O).  To use Aio, a high-speed connection (above 512 mbps) is needed.
Applicants may sign up via website Aionet.ir to receive a set-top box. The service is also accessible via smart TVs, tablets, laptops and smartphones, though the website does not currently list a price for the services on either the set-top box or online.
Devices running on Android can get the Aio application from Google Play or Cafe Bazaar. The app will be released for iOS devices this week and for Windows by the end of the current Iranian year (March 19).  And those who own a Samsung “SmartTV” can use the service without having to purchase the set-top box.
The company hopes 500,000 users will use the service by the end of the current Iranian year.

  Free Services for 3 Months
The CEO suggested that the service can be used by three million users and the number should increase in the coming years. Those who register to receive the service before March 19 can use all Aio services for free over the first three months of their subscription.  
According to Jameh-Bozorg, the base options of the services are free, but the tariffs for additional complementary services are being finalized and will be announced later. He added that 21 offices have been set up in 15 provinces across the country to deal with enquiries and faults.
The CEO added that the company is cooperating closely with content developers and by March 19, at least 1,000 titles of audio and visual content will be available for viewing, free of charge. The services, however, are not limited to audiovisual content. Features that will be added in the future include educational courses, online gaming and TV banking.
Jameh-Bozorg noted that users will be able to pay their bills or transfer money using the TV banking service, which is expected to become operational in a month.      
Users can only currently access content broadcast by IRIB during the past 72 hours. Also, each registered user is given 5 gigabytes of “cloud storage” space to record their favorite programs that have been aired in the past or will be aired in future.
 
  The Competition
Other competitors to Aio are beginning to develop their own offerings, with four other operators in the mix.
The second fastest group is only a couple of months behind Baran Telecom’s offering and they too are aiming to gain the lion’s share of the online television market.
Aseman Consortium, another group, received a legal permit from IRIB to also use their content. It announced that the company will be publicly offering IPTV services by the end of the current Iranian month (February 19), Tasnim News Agency reported.     
Amir Hossein Asadi, the company’s CEO, said that with the collaboration of IRIB, a large part of their archives will be made available for viewing, including movies, documentaries, TV series, music, radio programs, speeches and audio books.
He added that users will also be able to shop online using the service on their televisions or smartphones, though he did not say when their apps would be released.
  The Industry
Outside of the heavily regulated Iranian television broadcasting sector, popular DVD series are taking home entertainment by storm.
Series such as Shahrzad have become staple fixtures across the country and the discs are available at grocery stores and supermarkets.
The entire television marketplace inside and outside Iran is being rewritten. Until a few years ago, satellite and terrestrial TV pretty much had a lock on the television marketplace. That is because there was no competitive threat to their long dominance.
Now with increased competition for viewers either from satellite television channels, DVD box-sets and the growth of non-traditional media, national broadcasters have to reformat their offering for fear of losing the changing viewer demographic.

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