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Review – DStv BoxOffice

2011-07-27 16:17
If you're familiar with DStv's existing interface design and menu selection on the pay TV service's pull-up menu, DStv BoxOffice – it's new video-on-demand (VOD) service - is incredibly easy to use and navigate.

The exact same functionality and video-in-play manipulation is possible as with anything else recorded on the PVR (for instance pause and rewind, fast forward, or leaving the movie and returning with the option to either "Resume Play" or "Restart Play").

To choose a movie and do payment authorisation required a cellphone and an SMS to be sent to a short code. It took 2 minutes for the decoder to change the movie title from "Rent now" to "View Now" which means that a movie can now be clicked and watched. All movies have free trailers. Movies will play in standard definition (SD) or high definition (HD) depending on either your SD or HD PVR and your TV set.

All the info you need

Before you select a movie, the green playlist page gives all the relevant movie details like actors, director, theme, running time, PG rating, price (they're all R25 VAT inclusive) and the time available to view after buying (48 hours). The last column indicates the date (day/month) the movie is going to disappear as a potential movie that can be ordered and watched. When the expiry date of movie availability nears, this date turns red just like on the DStv Catch-Up service. The playlist can be sorted (white button) and a full rental history is also available (blue button).

A movie starts immediately without any adverts and is preceded by a visual as well as an audio age restriction announcement, for instance "This programme is rated 13. Viewer discretion is advised."

The i-Plate is available by pressing "i" on the DStv remote control. It contains the same information as might be available on a normal show listing on the normal DStv electronic programming guide (EPG). The banners are green to distinguish it as DStv BoxOffice. At the bottom of the screen the i-Plate indicates until when the movie can be viewed, for instance: "View until Mon, 14:51." At the end of a movie, at the end of the credit roll, the decoder automatically returns to the green BoxOffice playlist page of available movies.

Press the green button while you're watching a movie and you'll be returned to the BoxOffice playlist page of available movies (while the movie keeps playing). Press the red button while you're watching a movie and you'll suddenly, interestingly, go to your own playlist page of recorded shows (while the movie keeps playing).

The green interface design of DStv BoxOffice is clean and appealing. The top right-hand corner displays key art of the specific movie you're highlighting. It's big enough for you to get a better sense of what it's about (like a DVD cover).

Time frame

Accessing the DStv BoxOffice service was quick, easy, and very simple. From the first screen to getting a movie to play on DStv BoxOffice took me three minutes. Two minutes of this was the final verification after having chosen a specific title (I watched I am Number Four) and waiting for the decoder to change the movie title from "Rent Now" to "View Now". There's also a separate SMS message that gets sent to your phone to say you've rented it, what the title is, and that "its due within 5 mins." Although it said the movie would be available within five minutes, I clicked it immediately, and it started playing immediately.

•    This independent review of DStv BoxOffice, MultiChoice's new video-on-demand (VOD) service, is based on a viewing done on a Pace 4P HD PVR decoder with a Sony Bravia Full HD TV set. This review solely focuses on the functionality, design, and use, of the service in a fully-functional environment, excluding possible operator technical difficulties, software or service interruptions that might have an impact on the service, options and selections. DStv BoxOffice is accessible by pressing the green button on the DStv remote control.

TV expert Thinus Ferreira says MultiChoice's new video-on-demand service is easy to use and understand with a clean, simplistic design. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

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