DStv working on increasing streaming limit — but you’ll need one of its devices

MultiChoice South Africa CEO Nyiko Shiburi says that DStv is working on implementing new technology in its devices that will allow for multiple streams in households with legitimate subscriptions.

DStv received fierce backlash from subscribers when it implemented a strict one-device streaming limit from 22 March 2022.

The move was considered highly controversial since other major streaming services don’t impose such a severe limitation on simultaneous streams on their standard and high-end packages.

These services — like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and MultiChoice’s own Showmax — also cost much less than DStv.

In a recent interview with MyBroadband, Shiburi said that although MultiChoice was aware of the frustration the change had caused, the damage piracy inflicted on the broadcasting industry outweighed the inconvenience felt by subscribers.

“When people pirate, the whole value chain gets impacted,” MultiChoice said. “You invest in a specific show, you have certain expectations around the types of returns.”

“When it doesn’t happen, it impacts the actors, the advertisers, right across the chain.”

Shiburi said MultiChoice had noticed a sharp jump in viewership during certain sporting events that did not translate into a correlating rise in subscriber numbers.

Nyiko Shiburi, MultiChoice Group (New CEO)
Nyiko Shiburi, MultiChoice South Africa CEO

Among the biggest criticisms of the streaming limitation was that it prohibited more than one person in the same household from watching two different streams at once.

MultiChoice Group CEO Calvo Mawela previously said that DStv was working on a solution for this issue, but could not provide a timeline for its development or rollout.

Shiburi has now provided further details on the nature of the solution.

“What I definitely can confirm we are working on is what we call ‘proximity control’, which will let us allow for more streams if we can show that you are in the same location as one of our devices,” Shiburi said.

It was unclear how MultiChoice would establish when another device streaming on the same account was within the same home where one of its devices was located.

One possibility would be to have some form of “handshake” between its devices and a smartphone, tablet, or laptop with the DStv app.

The DStv Explora Ultra and upcoming DStv Streama both boast Wi-Fi connectivity and Bluetooth — wireless technologies that could help facilitate this.

Shiburi said MultiChoice would be able to give a timeline on the rollout of this solution “soon”.

Won’t help streaming-only packages

However, should the solution work as suggested, it will not solve the problem for subscribers with streaming-only packages that do not need a DStv decoder or streaming box.

Streaming-only subscribers aren’t able to watch other programmes via a decoder, like those with regular satellite-based DStv packages.

While MultiChoice has reduced the prices of these services, their features still do not compare favourably with international rivals.

Should MultiChoice opt for a device-based approach, these customers would have to buy one of its products to enjoy multiple streams.

The cheapest Wi-Fi-enabled option would be the DStv Streama, which went on sale on 1 October at a retail price of R1,299.

Now read: Disney+ launching Xbox app for South Africa

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DStv working on increasing streaming limit — but you’ll need one of its devices