MultiChoice today announced that it has developed a fully fledged IPTV service which will be rolled out in neighborhoods and other areas with high speed connections. MultiChoice CTO Gerdus van Eeden said that the initial focus area will be gated villages, hotels and other building blocks with high speed networks – typically fibre.
The new MultiChoice IPTV system uses a standard DSTV satellite stream which is then converted to an Internet Protocol (IP) based service using a DVB over IP converter. This IP stream is then sent to end users over a high speed IP network.
End users will be furnished with UEC IPTV set-top boxes (STB) by the gated village or the service provider in the area. Van Eeden highlighted that the cost of the IP-only UEC STB is not particularly expensive– typically in the region of $ 100 per unit.
While MultiChoice’s interest in this system is mainly the delivery of DSTV to end users via IP networks rather than traditional satellite streams, it has been developed to incorporate services like Video-on-Demand and estate information. A customizable Java-based portal, which comes with the MultiChoice IPTV platform, will make it easy for service providers to custom design an information area with services to suit the needs of their subscribers.
National roll out possible, but not realistic
Van Eeden said that the technology is ready to also serve the wider population, but that South Africa’s low broadband speeds and restrictive monthly usage limits are not suitable for true IPTV services. True IPTV requires consistent speeds in the region of 10 Mbps, something which is not on the cards in the country for the next few years.
Van Eeden pointed out that wireless connections like WiMax and even LTE are unlikely to be able to carry true IPTV services due to latency issues and overall throughput of the network.
To provide a full DSTV service a backhaul network with around 600 Mbps will be needed. Through intelligent routing and multicasting technologies the bandwidth requirements as you get closer to the end user on the network can be reduced, but when it comes to last mile connectivity multiple Mbps per user will be needed.
A single HD channel requires a constant speed in the region of 12.5 Mbps while a full HD PVR replication using IP TV will need closer to 40 Mbps downlink speeds. This is significantly higher than what ADSL 2+ can deliver making fibre the best option for these kinds of services.
MultiChoice DSTV IPTV service – give your views