Multichoice prepares for HDTV

Pan-African pay-TV operator Multichoice is readying its HDTV offering. MultiChoice Africa CEO Eben Greyling said the pay-TV operator had started laying the infrastructure for HDTV and - speaking in Kenya - said transmission is set to begin in Kenya next year.
Kenya has been targeted because Multichoice is looking to increase its local subscriber base by 30%, and is the broadcaster's fastest-growing market.

Greyling said MultiChoice has many plans in the pipeline for its operations, including programming, in Kenya next year. "We are putting a lot of focus on developing Kenya as a key hub for production of African content," he told The Standard. M-Net is at the moment in the process producing a Kenyan drama series and a new talk show, and recently, SuperSport signed up the broadcast rights of the Kenyan Premier League.

"SuperSport has invested about (Kenyan Shillings) Sh400 million in outside broadcasting equipment that will be maintained in Kenya and the partnership with the KPL take Kenyan football to top of the ranks in African football," he said, adding that MultiChoice is looking at the possibility of having more free to air (FTA) stations from Kenya on DStv.

Gerdus van Eeden, the company's CTO, says Multichoice is already transmitting a simulcast HD channel in 1080i at the moment but it will be switching to 720p in the future, as this format works better for sports and action-movie broadcasts.