DStv to launch Catch Up Plus - TechCentral

DStv to launch Catch Up Plus

John Kotsaftis

John Kotsaftis

DStv Digital Media CEO John Kotsaftis has confirmed that MultiChoice will open a data pipe on the DStv Explora personal video recorder (PVR) decoder by 20 November, paving the way for consumers to be able to watch video-on-demand (VOD) services via the Internet.

The company will sell a Wi-Fi device, called the DStv WiFi Connector, allowing subscribers to connect to the Ethernet port on the Explora, opening up the box for online VOD for the first time. Consumers will also be able to connect directly using an Ethernet cable.

Until now, Explora users have only been able to use the PVR to watch on-demand and catch-up services pushed via satellite to the machine’s hard drive. This has meant that the available material has been limited by the size of the storage in the decoder.

Consumers will be able to store up to 25 VOD titles downloaded from the Internet, but the number of titles available in the cloud will be far larger.

Consumers will not be able to stream the content for now — instead having to download content fully before viewing it — but the plan is to offer streaming from the second quarter of 2015.

“The first version will be download-only, to get around the download challenges [with South African broadband]and to manage the quality. We are scared to launch this en masse when we can’t control the network. Those are some of the challenges we are trying to figure out.”

Up to 300 titles, or about 300 hours of content, will be available at launch through the online VOD service, which will be called Catch Up Plus. Box sets will be included in the catalogue.

MultiChoice's DStv Explora personal video recorder

MultiChoice’s DStv Explora personal video recorder

Meanwhile, Kotsaftis says that MultiChoice will never attempt to prosecute anyone in South Africa subscribing to international streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu, which don’t operate in the country.

Many South African consumers — estimated to be in the tens of thousands — use services such as Media Hint and UnoTelly to circumvent region restrictions imposed by streaming video service providers.

Kotsaftis says it’s not clear if it’s legal or not for South Africans to watch Netflix and similar services. What is clear, he says, is that these companies are breaking the law when they allow access to services to consumers in markets for which they haven’t purchased content distribution rights.

“If Netflix accepts your credit card from this territory, they are breaking the law because they haven’t paid for the rights to distribute content in this market,” says Kotsaftis. “What’s happening now is there are multiple studios chasing Netflix to say, ‘You have to shut that down.’”  — (c) 2014 NewsCentral Media


  1. Well, what can I say. So grateful that John wont be “prosecuting” Netflix users, If DSTV woke up to what their customers wanted, then there wouldnt be a need to get other content. Firstly their decoders are a shambles, (incl their latest and greated Explora where you need a Wifi dongle to plug into a network port ??WTF), to their coverage of F1 for example where there is no studio , no build up from the venue etc, I could go on ALL day – and all for the princely sum of R790 odd !!

  2. I suppose what they are saying is that they want to force Netflix not to accept SA credit cards. That way they can go after 10,000 users in one go (glad I am not one)

    I dont get how using a SA credit card is breaking license rules. If I went to the US for 3 months I could sue my SA credit card to pay for services I consume in the US.
    The credit card is just an indicator and it isnt definitive

  3. my credit card is not working for Netflix transactions. But there are easy ways around that. US iTunes vouchers purchased from legit companies is just one way. Yes, they charge a slight premium, but well worth it to be rid of the crutch that is DSTV

  4. CharlieTango on

    What utter tripe. MultiCoice/DStv/Naspers don’t have the authority to prosecute anyone using Netflix or Hulu. Twit.
    The content providers (i.e. Hollywood studios) are the ones that could institute action against Netflix or Hulu for operating in countries outside their content licence agreements.

  5. Lynley Pillay on

    What a relief. Multichoice won’t be suing me…… Big woop I care now hey. Not even sure this article was worth writing.
    Now if Multichoice was planning on releasing VOD for R80 a month I would give them an ear, but they continue to rape our pockets and still one has to wonder why the fees are so much.

    It is 2014, I should be able to chose what I want to watch and when. Instead of trying to “legally” bind people to do what they want, why not up their services. And let people choose.

    Oops I forgot, choice has got nothing to do with the South African consumer hey. We have to take what we get….

  6. Wandering why their fees are so high? Have you seen their fancy new building in Randburg, the salaries of the top brass etc.!

  7. You know I’m getting sick and tired of DSTV and the poor shows that they put on! Now to tell us that they wont “prosecute” the Netflix user, makes it sound like they are doing us a favour! You know DSTV is on its way out for me. You get the same old stuff over and over again and I’m starting to think that if I really want to watch the rugby, the only reason I do have it, I should actually just go down to the local pub and watch it there. Im seriously looking into Netflix and why not pay extra for the band with, Im already wasting over R700 per month on stupid DSTV. Nee wat…

  8. O thank you Multichoice. I will sleep so much better now. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is netflix in his own house hence his reluctance.

  9. There is no way I’d pay for DSTV. Its such a ripoff. If only multichoice could wake up and see how stupid their pricing and licensing model really is, maybe they wouldn’t be losing so many clients to companies like Netflix. Netflix is doing a better job than them, for way less and they’re not even in SA!

    BTW: I don’t use Netflix my self as I prefer TPB for my media.

  10. Dear tech central, how did this article change from a Netflix prosecution one to a catch up plan?

  11. Vusumuzi Sibiya on

    Dude fully agree with you on that F1 point…

    …and to think that elsewhere in the world one has the option of viewing the race through the on-board cam of a selected car whilst DStv carries-on about online services not having the rights to content in their territory; they can’t even provide decent feature rich apps for the content they have rights for.

    I’m really ticked-off with DStv over their F1 coverage and to think that the only reason I have premium is for F1. That Explora is just a waste of cash and the very reason why I’ll be getting myself a Node.

  12. DSTV should rather work on fixing their content problem — 200+ channels and we’re still stuck with repeats most of the time. Work on stuff that matters!

  13. And dont forget your SABC TV license – a seriously outdated concept. Just imagine, you erect a massive antenna and whoever can receive your signal must pay you R295/year. Had this been implemented by the current government there wouldve been serious noise about this.

  14. Christiaan Rohmann-Jurgens on

    And remeber, because you pay a TV license in the UK, the BBC DOESN’T SHOW ADS. On the BBC, running time for a US sitcom and shows like the Simpsons are about 20min uninterrupted. Joy!

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