June 02, 2006

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HK's Free World Cup Broadcasts

I read with interest an article in today's [unlinkable] SCMP about how locally, Wharf Cable is being circumvented as the sole source of broadcasting the World Cup 2006 from Germany. Many people, including myself, have actually watched football matches live without subscribing to Cable TV, simply by making proper use of our broadband connection. Services like TV Ants, or PP Live, for instance, are broadcasting football feeds taken from stations from around the world (but almost entirely from China, many of which are on a peer-to-peer network basis). However, the big question was, is it legal? A government spokesman from the Intellectual Property Department has said that it was legal to watch it, as long as it is just streaming and you do not actually record the games.

I found this most interesting. It is probably illegal to upload a stream from a cable tv box, because chances are that whoever is doing it does not have permission from their own cable TV partner. It is also illegal to record, because then you would be inferring that you had a private right to own that content (all it would take would be a simple download of video capture software from the Internet). But it is apparently perfectly legal to just watch online.

Now I got into this because the building I live in, which is in Cyberport, was developed by PCCW, who naturally were slow in allowing Wharf Cable, which competes with PCCW's own NOW Broadband TV, to run cable into our building. So short of turning up in a Wanchai bar every time I wanted to watch a match, I desperately tried to find ways of watching a streaming version of matches played by my beloved Arsenal team. And that is how I stumbled upon this service, which provides a wide variety of mainland and even other cable TV feeds (HBO, CNN, etc). There are also websites whose sole purpose is to figure out in advance the Byzantine programming arrangements of say, a sports channel in Guangdong, and can tell you with certainty when and on which mainland stations those matches will be broadcast. It goes without saying that you can do this anywhere in the world with your broadband connection, not just in Hong Kong.

I have found thereby that Chinese gray-market ingenuity has engendered a viewing population on Broadband TV that would otherwise not exist, and has succeeded where so many other broadcasters have failed. The key, obviously, is having content people will pay for...

posted by HK Dave on 06.02.06 at 01:07 PM in the Hong Kong category.


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I've got the same issues with attempting to watch the NHL's Stanley Cup playoffs. Although I cannot find the streaming sites, I have been able to find a multitude of torrent sites to which I (yes, I am a criminal), dnld the games to watch at home.

It is the only thing that keeps me sane with a channel selection at my housing estate of ESPN (stolen from a Thai sattelite), CNN (Stolen from Philippines sattelite), BBC, Star World, Star Sports, Disney (absolutely horrid programming), HBO (which only shows the worst of worst movies from the 70's and 80's) and the two HK English language channels which are flooded with Mandarin language info-mercials at every turn of programming the govt doesn't deem acceptable.

Thank God for technology...

Go 'Canes!

posted by: GZ Expat on 06.02.06 at 02:13 PM [permalink]

Yes GZ Expat, technology is beautiful. There must be some way, somewhere, to find the hockey that you need, particularly now late in the playoffs, legally. I have been astounded in how I can watch obscure Sutch football teams playing each other, and I've certainly also found ways to watch NFL or MLB.

Good luck to your 'Canes...

posted by: HK Dave on 06.02.06 at 06:34 PM [permalink]

GZ Expat, can you please tell me how to get BBC and CNN in English? I have only been able to get CNN in Arabic.....

Thank you.

posted by: JJ on 06.10.06 at 09:28 PM [permalink]

hi guys, you may want to check this out also!! =)


posted by: andrewwc on 06.11.06 at 08:07 PM [permalink]

Now should we blame the upcoming technology or the people if they are trying to record the telecast? Even if its illegal, provided, why should anyone lag behind in taking its full advantage.

posted by: Alice on 06.12.06 at 12:15 PM [permalink]

Wat a sharp minds people possess now-a-days???????? Hats off to them!

posted by: Thomas on 06.13.06 at 01:39 PM [permalink]

Fans from all walks of life are passionate about FIFA World Cup. Celebrities too devote themselves to the beautiful game. Then wats the harm in watching live through broadband connection, even if its illegal.

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posted by: micheal on 07.02.06 at 12:29 AM [permalink]

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