MultiChoice has completed development of its DStv Now standalone streaming service and plans to launch it once the COVID-19 situation has normalised.
The service will allow users to stream DStv content without linking their account to an active decoder and satellite dish installation.
MultiChoice CEO Mark Rayner stated in 2017 that the company would offer a standalone streaming service for DStv in the future.
In May 2018, MultiChoice South Africa CEO Calvo Mawela confirmed to MyBroadband the company still planned to launch the standalone streaming service.
Later that month, Mawela said MultiChoice anticipated launching the service in 2019.
The launch was later postponed to the end of the 2019/2020 financial year, however.
Connected Video CEO Niclas Ekdahl told MyBroadband this was still the plan as of November 2019.
He said although the company had been working on a decoder-less product for a while, it was important that the platform was well-optimised before its launch.
“I didn’t think the user experience was up to scratch to deliver what the end consumers would expect,” said Ekdahl.
DStv Now has since added several improvements, which include the introduction of user profiles, watchlists, and recommendations.
“We are about to hit field trials, and I think we announced last year that we will be rolling it out within this fiscal year, so that’s still our plan,” Ekdahl said at the time, referring to March 2020.
By the end of March, however, the service had still not launched.
MyBroadband asked MultiChoice for comment on the progress of the decoder-less streaming service, following the lack of official launch.
The company said it is has concluded the development of the service, but that it was currently undergoing a second set of tests.
“We’ve completed development work and are in the second round of field trials,” MultiChoice said.
The company said it will publicly launch the service when market conditions have returned to normal.
“We expect to launch commercially once the operating environment has normalised,” MultiChoice stated.
Free DStv Now channels
MultiChoice has launched a variant of its planned online-only service, however, when the company opened a selection of news and educational channels on DStv Now.
The service is accessible to all South Africans and does not require the user to have an active DStv subscription.
Users can create a profile on the DStv Now portal and skip the section which asks for a DStv customer ID number.
Channels included in the free service are BBC World News, CNN, eNCA, SABC News, and Al Jazeera.
MultiChoice told MyBroadband this campaign does not form part of its field trials for the standalone DStv Now service, however.