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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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Prepare for Digital TV migration

The deadline for the digital migration is fast approaching. JACQUES BENTLEY, Skyworth Southern Africa Sales Manager, lets us know what we can expect.

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By now you’ve probably heard about the impending digital migration for South African broadcasting. Initially, this shift from old-school, analogue technology to newer, more efficient digital technology was set to take place in 2015 but the deadline for a national migration has been pushed out several times. With our neighbours Namibia and Botswana blazing ahead with their own digital transformations, the pressure is on for our own government to push forward to a fully digital South Africa.

But what does this overdue switch really mean for you and me?

What is digital migration?

Basically, the process involves moving over from an analogue transmission to a Digital Terrestrial Television/Transmission (DTT). We currently use analogue technology, transmitting video and audio through analogue signals. The drawback of this traditional broadcasting format is that the colours, sound and brightness are heavily impacted by the quality of the signal, resulting in a less-than-ideal snowy effect, and your TV deciding to randomly fade or ghost.

Digital TV, on the other hand, boasts crystal-clear image quality and excellent sound without interference because of its land-based network of TV transmitters that broadcast digital signals. This kind of technology also allows viewers to access a wider range of channels with different programmes.

Why is it happening?

Apart from the fact that everyone wants clearer sound, more channels and an enhanced viewing experience, the conversion to digital TV also has a far-reaching goal that ultimately

aids developing nations like our own. According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the objective of Broadcast Digital Transition (BDT) work is to help developing countries with their smooth journey from analogue to digital broadcasting, including terrestrial TV, mobile TV and sound broadcasting. In turn, this means that we can enjoy new broadcasting services as well as an allocation of the digital dividend.

When is it taking place?

June 2019 is D-Day for all countries to have completed their digital migration. Our Communications department is determined to meet this international deadline and has implemented a specific DTT war room to ensure that all the boxes are ticked, and they can deliver on time.

The first province to undergo the digital migration was the Free State back in August, where digital Set-Top Boxes (STBs) were launched in Senekal. Essentially, STBs decode digital signals for old, box-style TV sets and the government aims to distribute these devices to about 5-million poor households, so that all citizens can enjoy prime TV, despite their financial situation. In fact, Skyworth is one of the chosen suppliers of these set-top boxes and is proud to be a core part of an all-inclusive transition to digital.

What can you do about it?

While the government has agreed to subsidise cash-strapped consumers with STBs, the only guarantee is that the digital migration is upon us and it is our responsibility to digitally transform our homes in order to meet the requirements. This means that you’ll either need to invest in a digital-ready TV or purchase your own STB to work with your current TV’s analogue signal. Whichever route you decide to go, you can look forward to exceptional viewing entertainment in the comfort of your own home.

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5 things you should ask about buying a new TV

With so many technological advancements that cater to various needs, and endless options on the market, buying a new TV for your home can be pretty daunting. JACQUES BENTLEY, Southern African Sales Manager at Skyworth, offers a few tips when buying a new TV.

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Given the role a TV occupies in the home – providing entertainment, relaxation and a window to the world for the whole family – it’s not a purchasing decision to be made lightly. Not to mention the fact that you’re likely to spend a rather large sum of hard-earned dough in the process. Fear not – we’re here to help you decide. Here are five important things to think about before you swipe that plastic to ensure your new TV will bring nothing but joy into your home (ok, and maybe a couple of disagreements on what to watch).

  1. Size matters

If you’re a fan of action-packed movies or nail-biting sporting events, you already know how important the size of the screen is. Consider the space into which your new TV will fit, and take measurements of the wall area or cabinet it’s going to sit on to make sure that you’re being practical about its size. How many people will be watching the TV at the same time? Now opt for the largest screen size that will fit comfortably in your lounge (and your budget). Generally, anything between 55 and 65 inches is a great all-round pick according to price, performance and how close most families sit to the TV.

  1. Is it digital-ready?

South Africa’s digital migration is upon us and by June 2019, you’ll either need a digital-ready TV that can transmit digital signals or a Set-Top Box to decode digital signals for your old, box-style analogue TV set. The benefits of investing in a digital TV include crystal-clear image quality, excellent sound and a wider range of channels. Ask the sales assistant to show you their range of digital ready TVs when making your selection.

  1. Does it have a 4K screen resolution?

Resolution refers to the sharpness of the TV picture, usually in terms of horizontal lines of pixels. Ultra HD/ 4K sets have four times more pixels than current Full HD screens. That’s as many as 2 160 horizontal lines, or 3 840 x 2 160 pixels. The result? Super-sharp, detailed and lifelike images, even on large screen sizes. For this reason, a 4K resolution is becoming increasingly popular because it’s a much better choice if you want to future-proof your investment – Skyworth’s G6 model was created with this in mind; it’s basically an Android TV made for the future.

  1. What will you be using your TV for?

Apart from the obvious activity of chilling out to watch your favourite shows, what else do you want to be able to do with your TV? Will your kids be using it to play games? Will you be streaming shows on it? All of these preferences will impact the specific features that will attract you to buy a certain model over another one, so it’s wise to do your research, either online or in store, before you say ‘yes’ to the device. Also, look out for at least four HDMI ports at the back of the set as these tend to get used up very quickly, especially if you are using accessories like a sound bar.

  1. Does it include cutting-edge technology?

From Google Voice Assist, allowing you to speak to your TV, to rich connectivity via Bluetooth, selecting a TV that has advanced capabilities makes for a smarter TV and one you aren’t likely to need to replace in a few years’ time. With Android System 6.0, an easily updatable operating system, the G6 TV is your best bet when it comes to constantly upgrading your TV without forking out money every time.

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