DStv firms up 4K launch for November


MultiChoice Group will be ready to showcase the 2022 Fifa World Cup in 4K ultra-high-definition resolution, its CEO, Calvo Mawela, said.

Mawela, who was speaking to TechCentral following the publication of the broadcaster’s 2022 full-year financial results on Thursday, said the company has experienced “no challenges at all” in preparing for the 4K launch, and confirmed that the World Cup will be used as the launch event.

“We are ready for the World Cup to be available in 4K,” he said. The World Cup, which is being hosted by Qatar, kicks off on 21 November.

Mawela’s remarks come after TechCentral reported last November on MultiChoice’s 4K plans.

Barry Dubovsky, chief operating officer at MultiChoice Connected Video, said at the time that the broadcaster was aiming to launch 4K on both DStv and Showmax Pro – the premium Showmax tier that includes live sports from sister company SuperSport – in time for the World Cup. He said then that he couldn’t make any promises about meeting the deadline. However, Mawela’s latest comments suggest everything is on track.

Moving to 4K for the World Cup will be a significant step-up in quality. MultiChoice’s streaming DStv product currently tops out at 1080p resolution, while Showmax tops out at 720p. Its satellite product broadcasts at up to 1080i resolution. 1080p and 1080i both offer 1 920×1 080-pixel resolution, or about 2.1 million pixels, while 4K content is 3 840×2 160 pixels, for a massive pixel count of 8.3 million.

Complexity

Moving to 4K adds to the complexity of the infrastructure required, Dubovsky said last year. “It’s complexity around infrastructure, it’s resourcing, it’s operational management – there’s a lot of support required. But it’s something the business is taking very seriously because we need to continually evolve the viewing experience.”

MultiChoice’s new set-top box decoder, the Explora Ultra, launched in 2020, is already 4K-ready and subscribers can access 4K content through bundled apps from Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+. The broadcaster sold more than 100 000 Explora Ultras in the 2022 financial year to 31 March, it revealed this week.  – © 2022 NewsCentral Media



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