DStv: a history of unused Ethernet ports

It will soon be possible to connect your DStv Explora decoder to the Internet using an Ethernet-connected Wi-Fi dongle, but not a normal Ethernet cable plugged into a router or modem of some kind, MultiChoice has indicated.

Confirming earlier reports about adding Internet services to the Explora, MultiChoice said that it was accurate that the Wi-Fi dongle would be connected to the decoder’s Ethernet port.

When we launched the Explora last year we indicated that it will be Internet enabled in the latter half of this year. We’re still committed to deliver that to our customers this year.

This will be delivered through a WiFi dongle.

Details of the technical specs and service offering will be released at launch.

The Wi-Fi dongle will be priced similarly to other Wi-Fi dongles in the market, with MultiChoice promising that it won’t be an expensive device.

Once connected, subscribers will be able to access video on-demand content from the online-only portion of DStv BoxOffice, MultiChoice’s movie rental service.

It will also be possible to remotely set recordings on the Explora using the DStv smartphone and tablet applications, or from the web.

MultiChoice was asked what the Wi-Fi dongle will offer that a direct Ethernet connection will not.

A spokesperson for the pay-TV operator responded by saying that it had answered the question in the final sentence of its earlier statement:

Details of the technical specs and service offering will be released at launch.

The Explora is also not the only DStv decoder to sport an unused Ethernet port.

A summary of some of the specifications of DStv decoders with personal video recording (PVR) capabilities, including whether they came with an Ethernet or USB port, is shown in the table below:

DStv decoders Explora 2 Tuner HD PVR 4 Tuner HD PVR SD PVR
Price R2,499 (R1,999 on special) R999 Discontinued Discontinued
Tuners 3 2 4 2
Viewing environments 1 1 1 2
Recording environments 1 1 2 1
Hard drive size 2TB 500GB 500GB 250GB
SD recording duration “up to 220 hours” 150 hours 150 hours 80 hours
HD recording duration 50 hours 50 hours N/A
Box Office 20 movies 15 movies 15 movies 15 movies
Catch Up 60 hours series, 30 movies 20 hours 20 hours 20 hours
Unused USB Yes Yes Yes Yes
Unused Ethernet Yes Yes Yes No

We asked MultiChoice previously whether its older set-top boxes would receive access to its new decoder-based online services. MultiChoice said at the time that there are currently no plans to activate the unused USB and Ethernet ports on older decoders.

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DStv: a history of unused Ethernet ports