DStv parent MultiChoice has ditched the much reviled Flash for its DStv Now mobile application in favour of a native player for web-content delivery. What does that mean? No more downloading plugins, for a start. It’s also updated the SuperSport app to allow for picture-in-picture functionality, meaning sports fans (with the requisite DStv Premium subscription) can now watch two SuperSport channels simultaneously on a phone or tablet.
“We’ve traditionally relied on Flash Player to deliver our video, but a month ago we ditched that for a native player,” says Graeme Cumming, group GM for digital media and video entertainment at MultiChoice. “From a user perspective, it allows a whole lot of other features to get unlocked.”
Some of those features include adaptive bitrate streaming (where content quality adapts to connection speed or users can choose the quality of their stream to control data usage) and the forthcoming support for Chromecasting (pushing content from devices to screens via Google’s Chromecast device). For adaptive streaming, the lowest quality stream will start at 400×224 at 370kbps, and will be capped at 960×540 at 1200kbps.
DStv Now can be accessed via a web browser, or via the Android and iOS apps for phones and tablets and smartphones. While the apps are free, live channels and DStv Catch Up content is only available to DStv Premium customers with an active PVR. Moreover, downloading content is now only available via the apps (you can no longer download content via the website).
“From a content delivery perspective, where previous we had to produce assets for every different platforms — and incur the storage and other costs that come with that — we now have one asset and can do on-the-fly encoding using a multi-DRM solution,” Cumming explains.
“The other app we look after — and take great pride in — is SuperSport app,” Cumming adds. “It allows premium subscribers to stream live channels, and is now even better thanks to the addition of the recently rolled out picture-in-picture functionality.”
The new functionality is available on the SuperSport Highlights package within the SuperSport app, while DStv Premium customers can live stream. All videos viewed within the app support the new feature. Want to watch the rugby and check the soccer scores? No problem.