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Made in SA gets VIDI view

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VIDI, South Africa’s video on demand entertainment service has recently added almost 20 locally made titles to its streaming video library. 

Most recent “home grown” additions to the VIDI line up include:

• Township Soul this music documentary takes us back in time to the young men and women who made the music of the 70s. It relives the music that fortified South Africa’s black population and helped them find joyful expression. The audience is treated to a funky selection of tunes from top bands of the era. Through this journey the viewer comes to terms with that intangible ingredient in music that helps people survive even the most difficult situation. It reveals the essence of funky joy and of having soul nomakanjani!  The film also explores the cross-pollination of sound, fashion and politics between South Africa’s ghettoes and Black America. It is arguable that the Soul Vibe of the 70’s was a potent local brew concocted from traditional African and American music.

• Single Guys is the story of three best friends trying to navigate the world of dating: Khaya, petrified of women, is the uptight owner of a failing DVD store; Taps is a smooth-as-silk playa; while their over emotional roommate Zanele can’t stop falling in and out of love on a daily basis. You’d think it would be easier to be a Single Guy when there are three of you but it’s harder to get a girlfriend when there’s always two others peering over your shoulder.  Idiotic advice, failed attempts at being macho, trying too hard to be cool… it’s not easy being young and looking for love in the age of Facebook. The series stars Thabo Malema, Thomas Gumede and Motlatsi Mafatshe.

• For lovers of natural history shows, Shoreline is the South African answer to all those David Attenborough shows. In this 13 episode series, a team of experts (archaeologist, historian and marine biologist) take us on a 3000 km journey from Alexander Bay to Kosi Bay. They focus on the unique points of interest for each area and build an encyclopaedic picture of the South African shoreline, while discovering the secrets, the scenery and the stories that make our coast unique and how life at the edge shaped our destiny.

• Suburban Bliss is a favourite sitcom with South African audiences, as it spotlights the rocky relationship between a black and a white family – new neighbours in what was formerly an exclusively white neighbourhood. These two families are forever at each other’s throats – in the friendliest way possible, of course – as one misunderstanding after another arises out of ordinary day-to-day issues. The wives have a permanent vendetta going. One regards the other as a low class slob, and the other thinks her neighbour a pretentious yuppie.  Ma Moloi – the mother-in-law on the ‘“black” side – and Hempies – the patriarch on the “white” side of the fence – continually wage a war across the garden boundary, as the two are faced with a changing world, and they find in each other someone they can legitimately despise.  The only two people who seem to get on in this neighbourly chaos are the husbands, who spend their days trying to make peace between their feuding clans!

• Stokvel is a hugely popular comedy series from SABC2, set in the vibrant and exciting world of stokvels – a place where friends meet for companionship, good times, and a social way of saving money. This much-loved institution is the dynamic backdrop for the continuing activities of two stokvels in Diepkloof, Soweto.

• The much-acclaimed drama series, Society takes viewers on an introspective journey that deals with subject matters relevant to and portraying a universally true reflection of the stories of young South African women.  In season one, four friends; Akua (Zandile Msutwana – of White Wedding fame), Beth (Sibulele Gcilitshana), Inno (Lele Ledwaba of Stokvel notoriety) and Lois (Samela Tyelbooi) are drawn together by the suicide of their high school friend, Dineo.

• Moferefere Lenyalong is a wickedly human and authentically South African comedy that centres around the antics of the various comic characters that run and work at Kersiefontein, a guesthouse on a farm in a secluded valley in the heart of Ficksburg. With a view of the Maluti Mountains and the sandstone cliffs of the Mpharane Mountains on the Caledon River, it is the perfect location for weddings and love and lots of humour.

And finally – two shows for the kids:

• Adventures at the Water Hole is a series for children aged between six and nine years old and follows the adventures of Toti, a curious little mouse who, together with his friends – a chameleon, a frog, a goose, a warthog, a duiker and a tortoise – enjoys a series of exciting and often hilarious adventures at the water hole in a nature reserve, where his father serves as park ranger. And at the same time, he learns about his environment and how best to protect and sustain it.

• Haas Das Se Nuuskas – that all time classic children’s show about a rabbit and a mouse running a news broadcast in Diere Land. Created by Louise Smit in 1976, at the time of television’s introduction in South Africa, it was the first children’s television programme in SA. The “news” typically revolved around all the animals’ complaints, achievements and scandals. The voice of Haas Das was performed by well-known SABC news anchorman, Riaan Cruywagen.

Other local titles currently available to screen on VIDI include Liefling, Semi-Soet, How to Steal Two Million, African Sky Stories, My Perfect Family, High Rollers, Urbo – The Adventures of Pax, Magic Cellar, Dinner with the President, Gauteng Maboneng, Magical World of Luna Belle, Streets of Mangaung and a doccie on the Soweto String Quartet.  Stay tuned for a lot more local offerings to come on VIDI in the weeks and months ahead.

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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Future of TV in 4 letters

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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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Game of screens

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When it comes to the ultimate home entertainment experience, what you watch is just as important as how you watch it. With streaming services like Netflix keeping people glued to their screens people are paying a lot more attention to the overall home viewing experience.

Flat panel TV screens have long been favoured as the most cost-efficient and appropriate option for everyday home entertainment. However, more and more people are investing in projectors and fully kitted-out home theatre systems to enhance the experience, as proven by the 28% global market growth of home-used projectors over the past five years. However, choosing between the myriad of options on the market today can be challenging.

Money matters

When it comes to affordability, TVs are certainly becoming more accessible than ever. Where plasma screens were once the talk of the town, and features like HD quality and larger screen size only added more zeroes to the price, today’s LED and OLED models are far more accessible and affordable for everyone – despite offering even more technologically advanced features, which is the biggest reason why people generally opt for TVs.

However, projectors have become more affordable too, and are just as easy to use. The cutting-edge models available now are a far cry from the clunky ones with poor display quality of the previous tech era. For instance, the full HD Epson TW-600 series offers everything you would expect from high-end projectors – three-times brighter, crystal clear display thanks to 3LCD technology, built-in Wi-Fi, 11 years of lamp life and a great warranty offer – at a much more attractive price point compared to other projectors on the market. Unlike TVs, however, the projectors offer an immersive, real-life experience that TVs simply can’t match.

Screen size and quality

While the cost is almost always the first factor that people consider when purchasing a home entertainment system, factors like quality and screen size are often a close second and third.

On the one hand, LED TVs are great all-rounders for sport, movies, normal TV and gaming, and offer pretty much all the average person needs in terms of a home viewing experience that ranges from adequate to impressive. There are a variety of LED TV models currently on the market that offer great resolutions and good contrast ratios, but TV screens are still limited in terms of size, which impacts the overall viewing experience.

Projectors offer all the benefits of an LED TV with the added benefit of a huge, movie-theatre like screen to enjoy in the comfort of your home. Projectors are also capable of projecting high definition content onto a surface of anywhere from 30 inches right up to 300 inches, allowing you to choose your screen size depending on your requirements.

In terms of quality, 3LCD technology, as offered by world-leading technology brand Epson, is the most popular projector technology available on the market making up more than 69% of all projectors sold worldwide. This technology offers a clearer, crisper image, showing more detail while allowing for smoother motion on-screen and more vibrant, differentiated colours.

Choosing the best screen option for your dream home theatre setup is a decision that’s best made after careful consideration of the options that are currently available. And while the average flat panel TV screen display has certainly improved over the years in terms of technology and affordability, projection technology is cutting edge, and these nifty devices are now more accessible and desirable than ever.

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