Over the last two weeks, there have been multiple reports from local DStv Now viewers about problems streaming popular rugby world cup games.
“We would like to apologise to some of our DStv Now customers who were unable to access the platform for the Springbok RWC match against the All Blacks,” DStv said.
“All customers that were logged in ahead of the start of the match were able to view the game seamlessly, however, there was a problem with the influx of fresh logins on the platform, which had to be individually verified, causing a delay in accessing the platform.”
Similar problems occurred during the recent Springboks versus Namibia world cup match, with some viewers unable to watch the game.
MyBroadband spoke to MultiChoice about the problems with DStv Now, and asked why some viewers were continuing to report issues with the platform during popular games.
An in-depth statement published on DStv’s website explains how live streaming services can be affected by an influx of new viewers.
The company said that demand for streaming apps typically follows an expected pattern which provides the perfect conditions for a streaming service to operate in.
“However, throw in a hotly anticipated premiere or a major live sporting event, and the picture changes totally,” DStv said.
“Suddenly, tens (or even hundreds) of thousands of people are requesting the same thing at almost exactly the same time, and this tests any streaming platform to their limits – and sometimes beyond.”
DStv said it does run stress tests and prepare its network for an influx of viewers, but new and unexpected bottlenecks may still pop up.
“With all streaming services, when a potential weakness is identified, the fix can be quick or it can involve months of work. We try to anticipate every problem, but with so many variables we don’t always get right.”
The company said that when an unexpected issue like this crops up, it is able to keep these problems compartmentalised and minimise the risk of the DStv Now app being taken down completely.
MyBroadband asked MultiChoice why DStv Now had experienced these outages and what it was doing to prevent further service interruption.
“We monitor for performance and make continuous changes to DStv Now to improve and maintain system resiliency,” the company said.
“During the SA vs NZ rugby the majority of customers were still able to watch the game, but those that had not logged in timeously were delayed, as our system goes through various verification checks when authenticating a user during login.”
These checks vary depending on the viewer’s package, last show watched, selection, and more, and MultiChoice said the timing of the authentication was influenced by the large the influx of fresh simultaneous logins.
“We usually advise customers to try login before a major show or event,” MultiChoice said. “Following that incident, our engineering team worked through the week to address the login bottleneck and this was successful.”
MultiChoice said there was no broad downtime for the South Africa game on the weekend of 28 September, adding that while some people had issues, these did not constitute a widespread outage.
“On any given day, people are unable to connect due to account issues, hardware, or connectivity issues on the customer side. Any problems people had last Saturday were not related to a general outage.”
“This doesn’t mean we’re sitting back in the run-up to the Rugby World Cup final and we will continue to strive towards a problem-free viewing experience,” MultiChoice added.