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Video-on-Demand comes to SA

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DStv has announced the first video-on-demand service for movies via satellite in South Africa ‚ and will follow it up with an Internet-based service by the end of the year.

DStv has announced the first video-on-demand service for movies via satellite in South Africa.

Called BoxOffice, the service offers subscribers rental of the latest movies coming off circuit, without having to visit a video hire store. Only the top 15 movies are available at this stage, due to the limitations of the hard drive built into PVR devices currently in the market.

The BoxOffice service will be rolled out in several phases. The first phase is the launch of a satellite-based offering to DStv Premium subscribers via their PVRs. The next phase of the BoxOffice roll-out will be an online offering, available to all South African broadband users by the end of this year.

John Kotsaftis, CEO of DStv Online: told Gadget that the service is unlikely to have an immediate impact on video stores, as the stores carry a large catalogue that is simply not feasible in the on-demand service at present.

According to Imtiaz Patel, Group CEO of MultiChoice South Africa, ‚The BoxOffice service is a result of our continuous drive for innovation. The future of DStv relies on us offering simplicity and convenience to our subscribers in a changing world. Last year we introduced DStv On Demand and BoxOffice is the next step in the DStv product evolution.‚

Using the service has been made as simple as possible. According to Patel, it could have been rolled out much earlier, but an intensive focus on ease of use meant that development continued until the process was as simple as possible.

It appears easy: ‚Press the green button on your PVR remote and follow the steps on your television screen.‚

BoxOffice movies are readily available for viewing, as they are pre-loaded onto your PVR decoder. They are downloaded into a segment of the hard drive that was reserved for DStv use from the start. As a result, it does not affect the storage capacity of normally recorded content.

Payment is done through monthly debit order, by pre-loading funds into the customer’s account or by credit card. Once a movie is rented, it can be viewed multiple times within a 48-hour period. For launch, the first BoxOffice movie will be free.

A maximum of 15 movies will be available at any one time, with new movies added as they are released for the BoxOffice service by studios. The number of movies is limited due to storage constraints on the current PVRs. Approximately 150 ‚blockbuster movies‚ from most of the major Hollywood studios will be released on the BoxOffice service during the course of a year. Studios generally release VOD movies in a similar timeframe as they become available for home DVD rentals.

Says Kotsaftis, ‚BoxOffice positions DStv as a front-runner in the VOD market in South Africa. This service aligns South Africa with global developments in on-demand video. Offering a VOD service via satellite initially, allows us to make it widely and instantly available to our subscribers, regardless of constraints in broadband availability in South Africa.‚

This service will be launched to DStv Premium subscribers with PVRs from today, at an introductory price of R25 per title.

For more information on BoxOffice visit www.dstv.com/BoxOffice, Facebook (DStv) and Twitter (@dstv) #boxoffice

* Follow Gadget on Twitter @gadgetza

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