Cape Town – e.tv’s satellite TV service has launched its first personal video recorder (PVR) decoder functionality, the Open PVR.
This will make it possible for users in South Africa and neighbouring countries to now also record and store free-to-air content shown on e.tv and the SABC's channels to watch later.
HOW IT WORKS:
The Open PVR, activated through inserting an Openview PVR USB into the latest NA9200 Openview decoder model, allows viewers to record and store content, as well as pausing a live linear TV channel for up to 15 minutes, and then unpause and continue.
Viewers can also record one TV channel while watching another TV channel on Openview's channels offering.
DIFFERENT SIZE OPTIONS:
The Openview PVR USB is sold in two sizes – 32 GB that can record up to 8 hours of high definition (HD) content, and a 64GB USB that can record up to 18 hours of HD content.
Openview – formerly known as OpenView HD (OVHD) that eMedia Investments originally launched in October 2013 under its Platco Digital hub – has quietly been rebranded by eMedia Holdings with a new red logo doing away with the pink and purple, and dropping the "HD" moniker.
Vasili Vass, eMedia Investment's group head of corporate affairs, and e.tv publicist Michael Pocock didn't respond to media enquiries about Openview.
Patrick Conroy, who took over from Maxwell Nonge in March 2016, as Openview's managing director has since left, with e.tv not responding when asked who took over this year in running its Openview platform business.
eMedia that is now pushing the new PVR functionality of the Openview set-top box (STB) to market is following StarSat operated by China's StarTimes Media SA and On Digital Media (ODM), that finally launched its first PVR capable decoder in June 2017 in South Africa.
HOW MANY PEOPLE USE OPENVIEW:
Openview remains a loss-making operation with about 35 000 new STB activations monthly.
It attracts only 3.5% of the total television audience in South Africa but incurred an operating loss of R255 million for the financial year that ended March 2018. eMedia Holdings has said it remains focused on funnelling money into the service to drive it to success.
Openview reached 1.1 million activated decoders by the end of March 2018. This means that eMedia Holdings still has to almost double the Openview audience (6%) to reach its projected break-even point. At the current Openview growth rate, that will take another 4 years.
Within months eMedia Investments plans to launch OpenNews as an in-house sister channel on Openview.
OpenNews will also serve as a rival TV news channel to its existing eNCA (DStv 403) news channel that eMedia supplies to MultiChoice's DStv. The plan is also to do an additional daily Afrikaans TV news bulletin on Openview's eExtra channel, including new local Afrikaans TV shows.
eMedia's plan with this is not just to bolster the existing Openview content proposition and to attract bigger uptake, but also to create a content fall back fail-safe in the possibility that the MultiChoice and M-Net contracts for eNCA, and eNuus supplied to kykNET (DStv 144), are not renewed.