MultiChoice reveals DStv streaming limit plans

MultiChoice Group COO Simon Camerer says that DStv’s Proximity Control system is in the works, on track, and they are looking towards a mid–2023 release.

Proximity Control is the name of a digital rights management system MultiChoice wants to deploy to manage simultaneous connections to its online streaming service.

DStv started cracking down on password sharing on 22 March 2022, with the pay-TV platform limiting subscribers to live streaming from one device at a time.

The streaming limit applies to all DStv packages, and subscribers may still watch pre-downloaded content while someone else is streaming.

There was a significant backlash from DStv subscribers following the announcement, with some threatening to boycott MultiChoice.

Many DStv subscribers said it limits their families from enjoying different content at the same time, which is why they purchased the product.

After implementing the limit, several subscribers complained that their legitimate DStv streaming accounts stopped working on certain devices.

DStv ultimately cut off several devices from accessing its streaming services in mid-October, including older Samsung TVs, iPhones, Android phones and TVs, Apple TVs, and some newer Hisense TVs.

As compensation, MultiChoice gave affected subscribers Takealot vouchers with which to buy a DStv Streama — its media streaming box.

In addition to the problems introduced on specific devices, the streaming limit also broke screen casting.

MyBroadband tested screencasting, which was still broken at the time of publication. This includes Chromecast, other variants of Android casting, and Apple AirPlay.

MultiChoice Group CEO Calvo Mawela said the streaming limit was necessary to fight piracy.

“We have taken a decision to limit concurrent streaming because we see how people are sharing account details and even selling passwords for DStv streaming,” he said.

“It is unfair to content creators who invest a lot of money to create content.”

MultiChoice’s decision was especially controversial because it is contrary to industry standard practice for premium-tier streaming services.

Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and MultiChoice’s own Showmax allow multiple simultaneous streams. Netflix only started implementing anti-password-sharing policies in a limited set of countries last week.

However, Mawela asserts that limiting streaming to one device was working well and that they had seen an uptick in DStv streaming-only subscriptions.

MultiChoice South Africa CEO Nyiko Shiburi told MyBroadband in October 2022 that they were working on security technology for their devices to enable multiple simultaneous streams.

This suggests that MultiChoice’s “Proximity Control” may require subscribers to buy one of DStv’s media boxes — like a decoder or Streama — to benefit from multiple streams within their household.

Now read: DStv announces price increases

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MultiChoice reveals DStv streaming limit plans