MultiChoice has launched a new satellite into space which has sparked a raft of changes across DStv's bouquets. The IS36 satellite was launched on 24 August which means that DStv now has additional space to take us further into the HD future.
During the month of October and November, certain DStv packages will undergo changes and customers will get more channels in crystal clear HD. It’s all part of a process aimed at refining channel offerings based on customer feedback and viewing behaviour.
This news was announced at a press conference at the MultiChoice headquarters in Randburg today and was accompanied by the announcement of a blitz of other developments.
This is the lowdown you need to know:
9 DStv channels will change to HD
The nine channels will include some of the best loved M-Net channels such as M-Net Movies All Stars, M-Net Family, VUZU, Mzansi Wethu and kykNET & Kie as well as certain international favourites such as BBC First, HISTORY, Crime & Investigation and Food Network.
Bring it on! We can't get enough of HD. We want and need more. We're hoping that the move to HD for HISTORY has a quality knock-on effect and improves the content on the channel.
More channels will be added to other DStv packages
Extra customers will get ITV Choice HD and Lifetime, Family customers will pick up M-Net Movies Stars HD, while EasyView customers will receive Jim Jam and Mzansi Music.
Extra customers will also be able to enjoy the specialist language channels: RAI, BVN, RTPI, TV5 Monde and Deutsche Welle.
These changes and the addition of the HD channels will happen on Monday, 17 October.
Anything extra for the same price is good.
Four channels to be ditched
The following channels will stop airing from the end of October: CBS Action and Drama, AMC and True Movies.
General Manager for Content, Aletta Alberts, explained the rationale behind these changes. "Our focus is to bring our customers the best entertainment possible. We do research every month to understand what they’re watching and what they’d like to watch. This research helped us identify some channels that weren’t popular or that had the same content as other existing channels.
"We also use this research to understand what we can do to improve the channels we have. This year alone, we’ve enhanced the offering on a number of channels - M-Net Movie Channels, M-Net City and M-Net Family, ITV Choice, FOX Entertainment, VIA, Discovery Family and Discovery IDx to name but a few. This means our customers will be seeing fresher content on a more regular basis."
The CBS channels have always been a bore but AMC and True Movies had a lot of unrealised potential.
True Movies would have succeeded if it had been available from the DStv Family bouquet upwards. It's been competing with the blockbusters on Premium and wouldn't have had this challenge if it was available on bouquets that don't have a large movie selection.
AMC has been a disappointment since the start. We imagined it would be the same as its American counterpart but it isn't. Its death concerns us for one reason only: Fear the Walking Dead. We hope it will move to FOX and vow to bite the people responsible if it doesn't. #FearTheWalkingTVSA
New Explora launched
Our flagship Explora decoder has significantly enhanced the viewing experience for our customers. In a world where connected television services are becoming more commonplace, the Explora enables customers to connect their decoders and get access to an extended catalogue of content on Catch Up Plus and ShowMax.
We want to give more of our customers the Explora experience without having to worry about expensive data costs. So we created a decoder with the same features and services as our current Explora, with a streamlined hard drive to keep it affordable.
Nyiko Shiburi, Group General Manager for Broadcast Technology, said ‘Our new Explora uses the latest video compression technology, which means our customers will in future spend less on data when they connect their new Explora to the internet.’
The new Explora has the same extensive Catch Up service, the ability to rent up to 30 BoxOffice movies and internet connectivity for Catch Up Plus, Remote Recording and ShowMax.
This extensive content catalogue means our customers are recording less on their Exploras, which is why we’ve made the hard drive smaller to keep the decoder affordable. Customers can record up to 80 hours of HD content on their personal playlist (current Explora has 150 hours of HD recordings).
‘We believe the sheer volume of content available on our Catch Up, Catch Up Plus and ShowMax services, offers our customers an unparalleled entertainment experience. And the streamlined version means we can continue to offer all our customers the chance to own an Explora at an affordable price, despite our weakened Rand,’ continued Nyiko.
The new Explora gets a new A7 remote control, which incorporates features that customers have asked for. These include backlit buttons, which enables users to see it in the dark, the ability to easily program it as a universal remote for your TV and music system, and a ShowMax button for one-touch access.
The new DStv Explora will retail at R1 499 and this price will be fixed until the end of 2017. It will be available from Friday, 14 October.
The decrease in recording hours could be a blow if you want to record loads of series and save them to binge-watch at another time. You can't do this with Catch Up because the episodes expire.
On the other hand, there's so much to watch that you have to be selective if you want to make it out alive so having 80 hours of commitment instead of 150 could be a good thing.