4K streaming is not expected to be available on DStv Now or Showmax in the near future.
After testing the higher-resolution standard in 2018, MultiChoice has not rolled out support for 4K streaming to its Internet-based services.
4K streaming and it potential rollout, however, have been mentioned by MultiChoice on a number of occasions.
In July 2018, MultiChoice Chief Operating Officer Mark Rayner indicated that the company was testing 4K video streaming for DStv Now.
In September 2018, the company carried out a 4K streaming test of the last four games of the FIFA World Cup on DStv Now. In partnership with Microsoft Azure, the four games were successfully streamed in 4K on DStv Now.
At the time, MultiChoice noted the importance of providing higher-resolution streams as TV sets and displays grew in size and feature sets.
“As the screen size of TVs and other devices get larger and the ability of those screens to display more precise images improves, the challenge for video entertainment providers is to provide higher resolution video streams,” MultiChoice said.
MultiChoice Connected Video CTO Muhammad Khan said more tests would follow and hinted that 4K could eventually be deployed as the new standard for streaming.
“This was the first UHD live stream in Africa, and doing this at 50 frames per second utilising a new codec was a big win for us and sets us up well for future tests and the eventual deployment of UHD as a new standard for streaming,” said Khan.
However, MultiChoice Connected Video CEO Niclas Ekdahl has subsequently said that 4K streaming was not a major priority.
MultiChoice told MyBroadband that adding higher-resolution videos streams to DStv Now and Showmax was likely to be part of future development plans over the longer term.
It did not provide dates on when to expect the capability. The company said this was because its product primarily targets smartphone users.
As most South Africans use smartphones which have either 720p or 1080p resolutions, there is little to be gained in increasing the resolution past this figure.
“For both Showmax and DStv Now, it’s worth keeping in mind that the majority of usage is on mobile devices, so finding ways to reduce data consumption to make our services more accessible to users across Africa is a more urgent priority,” MultiChoice said.