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Astro launches 4K Ultra Box, free upgrade for existing customers

Astro has officially unveiled its Ultra Box which delivers a better viewing experience in 4K UHD. In addition, the set-top-box also offers cloud-based video recording and access to 50,000 video-on-demand content.

With Ultra, customers can expect 4X the clarity than HD and smoother images at 50 frames per second. Existing Astro customers can switch to Ultra Box for free if their are on a subscription pack of RM100/month and above. For subscribers on a monthly pack below RM100, you’ll have to pay RM199 for installation fee. For new Astro subscribers, Astro Ultra costs RM99 for installation on a monthly subscription pack of at least RM100 and RM199 on a monthly pack below RM100. Do note that there’s a 24-month contract when you switch to Ultra. You can also switch to Ultra without contract by paying RM499.

The Astro Ultra Box uses a hybrid setup and it still receives TV broadcast via satellite. According to Astro, current customers can use their existing cabling and dish but the receiver unit that’s attached at the end of the dish has to be replaced. Ultra also requires a minimum broadband connection of 10Mbps for cloud recording, video on demand and other interactive services. The box supports both WiFi and LAN connectivity.

By default, customers will get 200 free hours of HD storage for cloud recording. If you need more, you can upgrade to 1,500 hours for RM15/month. Astro Cloud recording also allows you to record multiple shows simultaneously. In addition, Astro has also introduced a new interface which is consistent with its Astro Go app. If you switched on your TV when the show has already started, you won’t miss a moment as the cloud storage also allows you to play the show from the start.

At the moment there’s no change of subscription fee and the 4K content is available in 3 channels – CH780 and two Astro Best Video-on-demand channels. The CH780 channel will show a mixture of sports, documentary and movies that are available in 4K. Astro will be adding more 4K channels to its lineup and it will be dependent on the content partners. Astro customers can also watch their favourite channels thru multiple screens via Astro Go. During the event, they shared that they are working on releasing the Astro Go app for popular Smart TV models and they are also plans to enable casting via smartphones in the future.

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If you’re interested, Astro Ultra Box is available starting today. If you need broadband for your home, it is also offered with their Astro + Broadband bundle. Unfortunately, it isn’t available for IPTV customers just yet and it is currently offered only as a satellite + fibre broadband combo.

Alexander Wong