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Discover Digital takes on African VoD market



Discover Digital, is building in-market caching, storage and video on demand (VOD) server technology in its new markets across Africa, paving the way for a better streamed video experience for viewers across the continent.

“Discover Digital’s in-market content distribution networks (CDNs) and local caching support higher quality streaming without latency, at a competitive price,” says Discover Digital Managing Director, Stephen Watson.

“Africa has been under-served in terms of local CDNs,” adds Discover Digital’s Executive Head of Technology, Leon van den Berg. “In mature markets, there are a number of CDN-as-a-service providers and high speed connectivity to ensure viewers enjoy the best possible VOD experience. But until recently, South Africa and the rest of the continent faced VOD network constraints. You had the SEACOM cable and touchpoints running around the edge of the continent, and very little going inland. And when the content is hosted abroad and not cached in-country, there is typically a degraded viewing experience. This is why you’re still likely to find more buffering on video hosted abroad than that coming from a local VOD service.”

Watson says Discover Digital is paving the way for a better experience for its own customers and those of other VOD services providers. He notes that with the new networks and CDNs in place, and the use of adaptive bitrate technology, consumers with a maximum line speed of 1Mbps will enjoy a good on-demand viewing experience with high quality visuals and no latency. “It’s a myth that you have to have fibre or even a minimum 2Mbps connection, particularly when you’re viewing on a monitor or mobile device,” says Watson.

Van den Berg concurs: “It’s our firm belief that in order to deliver the right experience to the consumer, you need to put a CDN in country so that your playout and stream is delivered closer to the consumer. An extension of that is, as you build capacity in your markets, to roll out multiple CDNs in one territory. Later, you can also deploy nano-CDNs to create ‘spiderwebs’ as growth takes place in the VOD market and the IPTV market, where you have greater concurrency. In every market where we are active, we first and foremost deploy a CDN in-market and add caching capability to store content, which basically means we build a cloud based storage environment. The added benefit of having an in country CDN for ISPs and consumers alike is that internet bandwidth is not used. This enables services providers to provide streaming bandwidth at a greatly reduced price or even zero-rating the charge.”

As a local pioneer in the broad on-demand services space locally, Discover Digital, in partnership with French CDN technology specialist Broadpeak, are implementing multi-tenanted CDN and cloud-based infrastructure, paving the way for other players to piggyback off this infrastructure. “We’re not building this highway for ourselves – we’re building it out of a current need for us and a future need for others,” says Watson. Discover Digital currently has two CDNs in South Africa, a CDN and cloud service going into Zimbabwe, a CDN in Zambia, and CDN now being deployed into Nigeria. As Discover Digital expands across the continent, it will launch an in-market CDN in each new region.

Watson says Discover Digital’s fast-growing VOD services business offers a number of ancillary opportunities including CDN-as-a-Service, cloud-based storage and caching, digital rights management, application development and billing and system integration. “Our strategy is to support other players, including competitor VOD players, with solutions in every country,” says Watson.


Kia makes car audio personal

KIA Motors has revealed its Separated Sound Zone (SSZ) technology that allows each passenger of a vehicle to experience an audio stream tailored to their individual needs.



SSZ technology creates and controls the acoustic fields of the car, allowing the driver and each passenger to hear isolated sounds. The many speakers installed in the vehicle feature technology that uses scientific principles to reduce or increase audio levels of sound waves. This negates the overlap of sounds being heard in each seat, creating the same effect as current noise cancellation systems, but without the need for headphones.

“Customers in the autonomous navigation era will demand increasingly customisable entertainment options within their vehicles, which includes technological innovations such as the Separated Sound System.” says Kang-duck Ih, Research Fellow at KIA’s NVH Research Lab. “I hope by providing drivers and passengers with tailored, independent audio spaces, they will experience a more comfortable and entertaining transportation environment.”

People’s musical tastes vary, so some passengers choose to use headphones during a journey to isolate their audio stream, but this also creates an unnecessary social barrier when interacting with other passengers. When travelling in a vehicle equipped with next-generation SSZ technology, each passenger can connect their smartphone via Bluetooth and listen to their own music without interference from, or interfering with other passenger’s audio streams.

When the SSZ is utilised, hands-free phone calls can also be isolated to individual passengers, ensuring privacy when having important phone conversations on the move.

Furthermore, this ground-breaking technology can eliminate unnecessary sounds for the passenger, but provide them for the driver. Navigation sounds, or various alerts, allow the driver to focus on controlling the vehicle, while the SSZ system isolates these sounds, maintaining a quiet area for the other passengers. This has a particularly strong application for drivers with a sleeping child in the vehicle.

SSZ technology has been in development since 2014, and the completed mass production system is expected to be ready for installation in vehicles within one to two years.

For a video of Separated Sound Zone technology, please visit

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Future of TV in 4 letters



Television technology has come a long way, transforming not just the way we consume our entertainment, but also the formats in which media is broadcasted or streamed. Today, TVs can do a lot more than just display our favourite shows, says DEAN DAFFUE, GTM manager at LG Electronics SA.

Today, consumers demand TVs that are not just slim, but so thin that they are like paintings on walls. TVs have become an element of décor that can seamlessly integrate into the design of a home, and render the clearest, sharpest images, with the deepest blacks and crispest whites without compromising on resolution. Home cinema is not just about the picture anymore. Consumers are eyeing TVs that would be able to learn usage patterns and automatically suggest entertainment based on individual preferences. The switch from LCD to LED transformed TV design, allowing for lighter, thinner and easily wall-mountable frames, housing even more sophisticated display tech. The picture quality also dramatically improved with new contrast ratios rendering more vivid colours, deeper blacks and crisper whites. But they were still more functional than aesthetic.

As larger segments of the population embraced internet connectivity and streaming content, the TV became smarter, integrating content-streaming apps for a more seamless viewing experience. As Internet Service Providers (ISPs) upgraded their infrastructures to accommodate the growth in streaming services, TV manufacturers also upgraded their TVs’ ability to tap into different types of content.

In the future, TVs with built in Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be able to learn usage patterns and automatically switch modes based on user preference, and even take instructions from multiple users as TVs become increasingly connected to digital home assistant systems.

Six years on, and we see the evolution that continues to lead in the OLED TV market, LG is racking up awards and accolades for its innovative OLED TVs. This pioneering effort in the design and manufacturing of OLED TVs has culminated in complete dominance of the OLED market, leaving the pinnacle challenge of innovation in display technology, redefining the TV viewing experience, and its place in your home. Great efforts have been made on OLED technology being affordable and accessible, allowing more people to enjoy a better-quality television experience than before. No TV is a greater testament to this than last year’s award-winning LG SIGNATURE W7 – also known as wallpaper.

As South Africans are continuously looking for ‘an experience that amazes’, OLED TVs are considered by industry experts to offer the most advanced display technology. As each pixel on the display can be individually switched on and off, OLED offers enhanced picture quality without image degradation. This results in the highest quality image rendering with the purest blacks. With its myriad advantages, OLED panels have become the most desired display technology today and it has become a leading force in making this technology even more ubiquitous and accessible.

With support for both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, LG OLED TV is the first of its kind to offer a premium cinema experience in the comfort of your home. It also features Active HDR technology, which optimises HDR picture quality scene-by-scene, rendering brighter scenes and greater shadow detail for a life-like viewing experience.

Despite the market dominance, the development of newer, more innovative technologies does not stop. This year a staggering number of innovative display technologies were unveiled, such as future display technology like roll-able OLED screens and large format curved displays that will become the future of wall art.

AI is also set to make an appearance. There is a unique and personalised AI services built on the deep learning-based DeepThinQ technology, in cooperation with other AI service providers such as Google, giving AI TVs the ability to automatically adjust the settings to Game Mode, or Sports Mode based on whether a user is currently playing Xbox or watching a football match. Ultimately, AI TV will provide care and comfort to users’ mind and body by learning more about its users’ viewing habits.

What does this all mean for consumers? With continued innovation and development of display technologies, as well as advanced design, AI, premium audio integration and support for the latest resolutions, colour and High Dynamic Range (HDR) standards, the TV will no longer be a display, but a complete home viewing experience. This is what new ranges of OLED TVs will bring to fruition in the coming months, making it the ideal time to upgrade your TV to the ultimate home entertainment experience.

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