High-definition television (HD TV) has become a popular way for many consumers to watch movies, TV programs and sport, and many broadcasters have started to provide HD content to their subscribers.
In South Africa MultiChoice has embraced the technology and currently offers its premium bouquet subscribers three high definition channels: M-Net HD, SuperSport HD and Discovery HD.
MultiChoice has also recently announced the imminent launch of its fourth HD channel, SSHD2, which will offer viewers English Premier League coverage 24 hours a day in high definition.
Speaking about their plans for the high-definition format, MultiChoice said that they will look at a HD movie channel once they have enough HD movies justify a dedicated channel.
HD channels are acquired in bundles of four however, explained MultiChoice, meaning that the addition of SSHD2 fills up their first group of HD channels. A high-definition channel also takes up the space of four SD channels on the satellite, they added.
A Master Control Room at the MultiChoice facilities from which high-definition feeds are monitored is capable of handling eight HD broadcasts. The limitation isn’t the facility, but the satellite.
The satellite serving South African television watchers is quite full, MultiChoice said, so the addition of further HD channels in the near future is unlikely.
Work is currently underway to replace Intelsat 7, the satellite which currently delivers DStv to South African homes. Intelsat 7 is to be replaced by Intelsat 20. According to MultiChoice this will afford them much greater capacity for services such as HD channels.
MultiChoice estimates that the satellite should be launched in the last half of 2012.
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