MultiChoice has announced the launch of a number of new Internet-based features for its flagship Explora decoder at an event in Johannesburg on Wednesday, 12 November 2014.
Putting to bed concerns that a separate Wi-Fi dongle would be necessary, MultiChoice revealed that it would be possible to connect Explora decoders to the Internet through the device’s Ethernet port.
Those who would prefer a wireless option can buy a USB Wi-Fi connector for their decoders instead at a recommended retail price of R399, MultiChoice said.
The pay-TV operator has made no secret of its intention to add Internet connectivity – specifically remote recording and Catch Up Plus – to the Explora.
When it launched the decoder in August 2013 MultiChoice said it planned to offer online content through the Explora in future, later announcing a broad deadline of “by the end of 2014”.
During October 2014 DStv Digital Media CEO John Kotsaftis told journalists that the Explora would be fully connected by 20 November.
Remote recording lets users set their personal video recorder from an app, desktop browser, or mobile websites.
DStv Catch Up Plus will add another 300 titles to the existing 280, including box sets. Subscribers will have to download these extra titles to their Exploras before they can watch them.
Up to 25 downloads may be queued at once and the DStv Catch Up Plus service on the Explora also includes queue management features.
Streaming is not supported to work around South Africa’s “bandwidth challenge” at the moment, Kotsaftis said.
Kotsaftis added that they will be pushing out an update to the Explora in future to allow “progressive downloading”, which will let subscribers watch content while it’s busy downloading.
Development of the Explora’s online features won’t stop here, though.
By April 2015 MultiChoice plans to include a function which will allow playback of DStv Catch Up Plus content to begin almost instantly, he said.
Updates for the DStv Explora software to support the new online features will begin rolling out this week, said CEO of broadcast technology at MultiChoice, Gerdus van Eeden.