DStv operator MultiChoice is upping the ante with its new rival On Digital Media (ODM) and its TopTV service. On Thursday, the incumbent satellite pay-TV operator introduced a cut-price high-definition personal video recorder (HD-PVR) decoder that it hopes will drive HD technology to a broader audience.
The new decoder, which costs R1 999 (compared to the older but more fully featured HD-PVR’s R2 999 price tag), is also believed to fix many of the performance problems that have plagued the older product.
The new machine, called the HD-PVR 2P, allows consumers to view one channel while recording another, but not to record two at the same time. This is possible on the older model, which will remain on sale.
The new product also does not feature DStv On Demand or the ability to block record TV series, two features recently launched by MultiChoice on other PVR decoders. However, these services will be launched later in 2010 on the new HD-PVR, the company says.
Hard drive capacity in the two HD-PVRs is identical at 500GB. This allows for up to 50 hours of HD recording and 150 hours in standard definition (SD).
MultiChoice is hoping the upcoming 2010 soccer World Cup will spur demand for the new decoders. All games in the cup will be broadcast by SuperSport on two dedicated channels, two in SD and two in HD.
The new decoder comes just four weeks after the launch of TopTV, on 1 May. ODM is believed to have sold more than 50 000 TopTV decoders, though it’s not clear how many of those have been activated to date. Unlike MultiChoice, ODM says it has no plan to offer an HD service. — Staff reporter, TechCentral