DStv will soon begin offering live streaming channels in high definition and is even mulling the possibility of offering its DStv Now streaming product as a standalone offering in future, the head of digital media at MultiChoice, Graeme Cumming, said on Thursday.
Speaking during an exclusive podcast interview with TechCentral on the future of television in South Africa, Cumming said the launch of HD channels on DStv Now is “imminent”, and will in all likelihood start with the sports channels. He declined to give a specific date.
Until now, DStv Now has only been available in standard definition, with most channels streamed at qualities of up to 1.2Mbit/s (with some sports channels, like SuperSport 3, offered at up to 2.3Mbit/s).
The roll-out of HD is, however, rights dependent, Cumming said.
“A lot of the content for the digital channels, we’ve cleared SD rights for. We’re in the process of working through that channels list with the suppliers to get the HD qualities. The guys are actively working on it.”
He said it’s important to offer HD-quality streams given that the DStv Now apps for Android and iOS now have Google Chromecast and Apple AirPlay support, meaning consumers can watch the platform in a “lean-back” environment on a big-screen TV. “It becomes apparent [in that environment]that the quality needs to be improved,” he said.
“We’ll probably start with the sports channels,” he added. “There is a lot of studio content on the rest of the channels, and it’s a process of working through each studio and getting technical clearance to deliver an HD stream.”
Meanwhile, Cumming revealed that, at some point in future, DStv Now will become a standalone service, separate to a DStv satellite subscription. For now, those wanting to access it must subscribe to a DStv Premium, Extra or Compact satellite bouquet.
“At the moment, DStv Now is a ‘TV everywhere’ product, so you pay your subscription fee every month, and one of the benefits of paying that subscription fee is you get access to your content on multiple devices,” he said. A standalone service will, however, be offered in future. It’s not imminent, though, he added.
“We do a lot of research around how we package content: what are the right price points and do we need to have a satellite dish attached to your roof [for you]to subscribe to DStv? These are all strategic plans we are busy working through,” he said.
“The day will come where you don’t need to put a satellite dish on your roof anymore, where you go to the website, sign up and get access to your various bouquets. Even those bouquets may change down the line,” Cumming said.
“Right now, we have no plans to change those bouquets, but certainly into the future, if you’re looking three to five years down the line, given the way the world is moving, we absolutely have to consider new ways of packaging content and new products within DStv Now.”
Cumming also said that MultiChoice is working hard to get all the linear DStv channels added to DStv Now. It has already added the bulk of them to the platform, though there are a few key ones missing, such as news channel eNCA.
“I’m not going to say too much on when we’re going to launch eNCA, but it’s imminent.” — © 2017 NewsCentral Media