Cape Town – Times Media Group (TMG) has launched its VIDI video-on-demand over-the-internet commercial service as a competitor to MultiChoice's DStv BoxOffice and DStv Catch Up services.South African consumers can now rent and watch TV shows and movies for R149 per month or watch blockbuster movies for R27 and older library titles for R15.
The Times Group owns TV channels like BusinessDay TV and newspapers like Business Day, The Sunday Times and The Sowetan.
VIDI, the Latin for "saw", calls itself an "online streaming TV service built for South Africans" and gives people a 30-day free trial period for its service which is trying to mimic overseas on-demand internet services like Netflix that's not yet been available in South Africa.
For the subscription free service users need a credit card and a fast enough internet connection and can stream and watch the content on PC or Mac, as well as smartphones and Apple and Android tablets, or on a TV set through one of these connected devices.
VIDI says it is launching with "over 1 000 hours of entertainment".
TMG made a deal with Disney's ABC Studios for older already broadcast seasons of drama series and comedies from American studios that's available as ABC on Demand like Grey's Anatomy, Cougar Town, Brothers & Sisters, Pretty Little Liars and Lost.
Besides that there's new movie releases, older library movie titles, kids movies and library TV series like Breaking Bad, The Shield and The Tudors, and documentaries like Walking with Dinosaurs – 21 TV series in total.
VIDI is ad free and will carry 100 films in deals with studios like Warner Bros, Sony, Disney, Lionsgate and Relativity with more to be added in future.
It's not clear what the internet data size will be for a 40 minute TV show or a 90 minute movie using VIDI, which is making use of Microsoft Silverlight as its player technology. It's not known whether VIDI content will be available and streamed in high definition (HD) or standard definition (SD), or a combination.
South Africa's foray into online video streaming and on-demand television services remain hampered by slow broadband, limited broadband penetration, as well as exorbitantly high costs for consumers.
It led the satellite pay-TV platform MultiChoice to develop the DStv Explora decoder as a way to try and circumvent some of these issues by mimicking a VOD service through the PVR, using a direct-to-home (DTH) satellite service.
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