eircom launches new eVision TV service
New eVision digital TV service aims to bring “real value for money” to consumers according to eircom but how does it compare with Sky and UPC?
eircom recently announced the launch of its new eVision TV service a move which will see it go head to head with Sky and UPC for its share of the digital TV market in Ireland.
Competition is set to intensify among eircom and its rival operators over the coming weeks a months, as eVision continues to rollout across the country. The launch of eVision means that eircom has now become the first company in Ireland to offer quad-play services (broadband, TV, mobile phone and home phone) to it’s customers.
Price and availability
At the official launch last week, eircom put a lot of emphasis on eVision’s ability to provide “real value” to consumers with its low price points of €10 and €16 per month for its two entry level all basics packages.
On the surface these prices do look like a very attractive proposition, however this is not the complete picture. eVision is not available as a standalone TV product. Subscribers to eVision must also subscribe to ericom’s eFibre broadband service in order to be able to access the TV service. eVision TV relies on eircom’s fibre powered broadband network to deliver its IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) service.
The eFibre network itself is still in its early stages of development having only been introduced in May this year. Currently, about 450,000 homes in Ireland can receive eVision and eircom expect the figure to pass the one million mark by 2015 as they continue to expand the reach of their fibre broadband network. Customers who do sign up before the end of the 2013 are entitled to get the first 6 months of an 18 month subscription free of charge.
The combined cost of a eFibre and eVision levels the playing field somewhat and makes eVision more comparable to Sky and UPC’s triple play offers, in terms of pricing.
eVision features, content and added value
As with Sky and UPC’s TV service, eVision comes with a free set-top box with pause and rewind live TV functionality. Subscribers to eVision get 240 hours of standard definition recording time and the ability to record up to 2 programmes at once.
Installation is free and carried out by eircom technicians, while eircom says the interface is easy to use and understand which makes viewing hassle-free.
One area where eircom has a disadvantage over Sky and UPC, is the lack of on demand TV and TV on the go services available with eVision at the time of its initial launch.
With Sky and UPC it is possible for viewers to watch whole libraries of TV and movie content by connecting to the internet and watching on demand content at any time, while TV on the go via mobile phones, tablets and other devices is possible via the Sky Go App and Horizon TV online. As a medium, on demand TV and TV that’s accessible on the move has become very popular with Irish audiences in recent times and developing and integrating these services with eVision will remain an important objective for eircom in the long term.
The entry package “Essential TV” comes with 34 entertainment channels, including all Irish channels, BBC, Channel 4, the Discovery Channel and GOLD among other favourites.
For consumers who are looking for a wider selection of channels to choose from, eVision is also available with a 50 entertainment channel package called “Essential TV”.
With this customers will get all the channels available with “Essential TV” plus an additional 16 channels for €6 extra per month. However, some notable absentees from eVision’s basic channel lineup include, Sky One, Living TV, Sky News and Sky Sports News. Multiroom, HD channels, as well as Sky Sports, Sky Movies and Setanta Sports packages can all be added to form a more comprehensive TV package.
Although its also worth noting how these digital TV add-ons compare to Sky and UPC’s options in terms of price and content. eVision offers 2 Sports channels for €29, while Sky offers 6 channels for €35 and UPC offers 4 channels for €34.
It’s a similar story for Movies. eVision comes with less channels - 6 channels for €24 while both Sky and UPC offer 11 channels for €28 and €32 respectively. eircom may have room to expand its range of premium channels in the future however, as it will no doubt be aiming to secure better licensing agreements.
eircom reaction to eVision launch
Herb Hribar, CEO of the eircom Group, described eVision as a “game changer” and said he believes Irish customers are paying too much for their TV packages.
“We are changing that by delivering the most attractive offer in the market,” he said. “We’ve listened to our customers and we are giving them exactly what they are looking for – a great value viewing experience.”
Equally buoyant at the launch of eVision, Kevin White, Managing Director, eircom consumer said “eVision will fundamentally change the television landscape in Ireland,”
“Offering all consumers an exciting new TV service at an unprecedented price - representing not just real choice, but real value for money, for the very first time.”
### Tip for consumers
There is no doubt that eircom’s entry to the paid TV market in Ireland will add more competition in the marketplace, which can only be a good thing for consumers.
Commenting on the launch of eVision, Eoin Clarke, Head of Switcher.ie, said: “This is a welcome addition to the line-up of TV providers in Ireland. A new entrant like this can only mean good things for Irish consumers.
“No two broadband and digital TV bundles are the same. We would advise customers to take their time before switching. We expect the other providers to react to this launch with their own special offers. Before switching take the time to look at all the offers out there and choose the package that suits you best.”