SA’s first catch-up TV service


MultiChoice, owner of the DStv bouquets of satellite pay-TV channels, has launched South Africa’s first TV on demand / catch-up TV service. DStv ON DEMAND is available as a free service to subscribers of the DStv Premium bouquet only, although MultiChoice has plans to roll out the service to its other bouquets in the future.

Premium subscribers will need an M-WEB ADSL account (with uncapped ADSL) to access the service. MultiChoice is in discussions with other ISPs (Internet Service Providers) to see if it can roll out the service to them in the future. The file size for a movie is around 600megs and half that for an episode of a TV series, hence the need for uncapped ADSL and the highest ISP technical standards.

DStv Online GM Jason Probert referred to the DStv ON DEMAND launch as “the future of TV’. He talked about how TV technology is evolving very rapidly, changing the fundamental way consumers view TV.  “With the launch of DStv ON DEMAND, viewers can choose what they want to watch, when they want to watch it, wherever they are. Viewers can either watch the programmes online or download the programmes to their PVRs or their computers.

“Every day DStv records the most popular shows on the Premium bouquet, as well as sports highlights, and these are then available via the on demand service for seven days [much like BBC’s iPlayer]. There will be 80 hours of programming available each week. Premium subscribers with HD PVRs will receive most of the on demand programming in HD, with a few exceptions. Last night’s shows will be available the following day at lunch time.

“MultiChoice’s introduction of the PVR back in 2005 was a major innovation. However, PVR does have some human shortcomings – for instance, if you forget to set your recorder to record a programme, then you don’t get to see it. With DStv ON DEMAND this problem is solved.’

At the launch, held at MultiChoice’s head office in Johannesburg, Nolo Letele, Group CEO of MultiChoice South Africa, said that two of the company’s core values were innovation and customer focus, both of which had prompted the introduction of the DStv ON DEMAND service.

“We have a long history of innovation. In 2003 we introduced the Dual View decoder, in 2005 the SD PVR and the DStv Compact bouquet. In 2007 we introduced DStv Select 1 and in 2008 the HD PVR and XtraView. Thus far this year we have introduced DStv IP HD-1 (an IPTV service which can be found in Soccer City in Johannesburg, among other locations), and most recently, the DStv Lite bouquet.

“Our SD PVR was the first in the world to launch. When we launched the HD PVR we also introduced XtraView to allow viewers to link their decoders for multiple room viewing. MultiChoice recently launched web services to allow viewers to go online for alternative payment options. They can also find out how to fix technical problems via the web services so as to avoid telephoning the Call Centre.’


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