MultiChoice is introducing a new DStv Explora personal video recorder (PVR) decoder and debuting 10 new high-definition channels following the recent successful launch of the Intelsat-36 satellite, on which it has leased capacity.
The new Explora is an update to the original Explora PVR, launched in 2013. Manufactured in East London in the Eastern Cape, the new product has a smaller hard drive (1TB against 2TB previously), but adds other features, including a new back-lit remote control whose keys light up when it’s picked up from a table or couch.
MultiChoice said the new Explora uses a new compression technology, called High Efficiency Video Coding, or HEVC (also known as H.265 and MPEG-H Part 2), which is 50% more efficient than the compression scheme used before.
This helps to offset the reduction in the size of the Explora’s hard drive, though there will still be less capacity available for user recordings compared to the original Explora. MultiChoice said its research shows that subscribers are recording less content on their PVRs in favour of on-demand programming via BoxOffice and Catch Up.
The new Explora, which goes on sale in mid-October, with the old one to be phased out, does not support 4K broadcasts.
The new remote control can be used as a universal remote. It has low-battery detection for the first time in a DStv unit and includes a ShowMax button, allowing easy access to MultiChoice parent Naspers’s video-on-demand platform. It will also work with all older, currently supported PVRs, should consumers want to upgrade to it.
The new decoder has a recommended retail price, excluding installation, of R1 499 — that’s the same price as the first-generation PVR.
At the same time, MultiChoice has announced plans to expand the number of HD channels on its platform, while rationalising the total number of channels. Channels getting the HD treatment include M-Net Movies All Stars, M-Net Family, Vuzu Mzansi Wethu, kykNET & Kie, BBC First, History, Crime & Investigation and Food Network.
The number of movie channels is being reduced in effect to lessen the number of repeats, MultiChoice said. CBS Action and CBS Drama are also being terminated, as is AMC and True Movies.
A number of channels will, however, be expanded to lower-priced bouquets. These are Mzansi Music (launching on EasyView), JimJam and M-Net Movies Stars (launching on Family), Lifetime (coming to Extra) and ITV Choice (also coming to Extra). Specialist language channels, until now only available on DStv Premium, MultiChoice’s most expensive bouquet, will be available on Extra, too.
The company has announced a number of enhancements to its video-on-demand movie rental platform BoxOffice, with a total of 30 movies now available to rent, including a number of Bollywood titles.
By December, the broadcaster will have a thousand movies in its online movie store at all times, it said. — © 2016 NewsCentral Media