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Thanks to Thai military latest attempt to return happiness to the people, Thai football aficionados won’t have to break the bank to enjoy the World Cup.
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission (NBTC) board agreed Thursday to subsidize the airing of all World Cup matches on free Channel 5, 7 and RS Channel 8.
Happiness comes with a price : 427 millions baht
NBTC agreed to spend 427 million baht from its research and development fund for the subsidy of the live broadcast of all 64 matches, instead of earlier 22 matches offered by RS Company Limited, right holder of the 2014 World Cup granted by FIFA.
Although the midnight-04.00 a.m. is still in place in over half of the country, World Cup fever remains high among people eager to come out to watch outdoor as it gives more excitement than watching just indoor and cheering their favorite team alone.
But for provinces where curfew has been lifted tourists and locals alike could enjoy the matches throughout the night tonight and cheer with no concern of having to leave for homes like those in Bangkok and cities where curfew is still enforced.
Business, entertainment places in Phuket, Hat Yai, Samui, Pattaya are expected to open late till morning to allow customers to watch the first match at 3.00 a.m. Friday from huge TV monitors they installed to attract customers.
For Bangkok, the fever could be seen from World Cup decorations at many places.
Bangkok’s Rajaprasong and Ploenchit area are decorated with national flags of soccer teams participating in the 20th FIFA World Cup. A large screen TV is also installed at Novotel Hotel to show all 64 World Cup matches to its guests while the hotel staffs worked today, wearing national jerseys of soccer teams.
Most tourists areas have already had the curfew lifted, except Bangkok
For the die-hard fans who really want to push the limit in the Bangkok area, some bars are allowing its patrons to be locked in once the curfew starts at midnight and stay until 4 a.m.
Many of these sports bars are located on Sukhumvit road. If you chose to stay home and you do not have a TV you can watch the matches by subscribing to a live-streaming service. There are a few options available in Thailand, most notably Thai Expat TV and http://www.365sport.tv/ .
For 600 THB Thai Expat TV offers all 64 World Cup games. A two-day free trial is available, but you need a credit card to register for it. You also need at least a 3Mb internet connection. Good luck with that in Thailand.
http://www.365sport.tv/ offers a similar priced service.
If you have a TV set at home you have several options. One way is through the RS Sun Box along with the special World Cup package, which can be purchased from satellite retailers and 7-Eleven stores.
The World Cup package costs 1,590 THB, however this box is not as simple as it appears. A satellite dish is required in order to view these programs. Previous subscribers on the Sun Box are also being asked for an additional 299 THB in order to watch the World Cup.
Not all games will be shown on the regular Sun Box. For those who have True Visions as their service provider, all 64 matches will be provided in HD quality for Gold and Platinum package subscribers. Some HD matches will also be shown to those with lower subscription. Also, True Visions Plc’s concession agreement is set to expire on September 30, 2014.
By switching your service provider to True Visions Group, a special offer is available for 20 additional channels and coverage of the World Cup with no extra cost. True will be hosting the World Cup matches on channels 4, 37, and 99 in SD.
The matches are also available in HD on channels 668 and 678. All World Cup channels will be broadcast in Dual-Language for the first time in both English and Thai.
If spending money isn’t an option and you do not mind Thai language commentary, you may watch all the matches in standard definition on free to air analog TV on CH5 and CH7. Both CH5 and CH7 have live stream output on the internet, but is not clear yet wether they will allow the matches to be streamed live on the internet. The newly launched CH8 on digital terrestrial TV will also broadcast some of the matches.
The Official World Cup Website
WORLD CUP 2014 – SCHEDULE THAILAND TIME
PAY TV IN THAILAND
http://www.rssunbox.com/ (Thai language only)
http://psisat.com/site/index.php (Thai language only)
FREE TV (ANALOG AND DIGITAL)
http://www.ch7.com/ (Thai language only)
LIVE STREAM CH7: http://www.ch7.com/live.htm
http://www.thaich8.com/ (Thai language only)
LIVE STREAM CH8
http://www.tv5.co.th/web56/ (Thai language only)
LIVE STREAM CH5: http://www.tv5.co.th/web56/live_56.php
Thailand Tourism Situation Update (Official Website)