Vodacom launches mobile TV

2010-08-02 07:55

Johannesburg - Vodacom Group [JSE:VOD] introduced South Africa's first mobile on-demand television service on Monday.

TV:On Demand will be available through Vodacom and parent company Vodafone's Vlive! service. Users will be able to view popular television content like movies and shows for R75 per month, or R20 per week, and can be activated or deactived at will.

The service is being launched in partnership with the On Demand Group.

Victor Borges, GM of On Demand SA, said that the service will be introduced with users getting the first week or month free - depending on the preferred service - until September.

"This is the first true on demand service in Africa," he explained.

Borges said that 'on demand' means users can choose videos they want to watch, click on them and then have them start playing, as opposed to broadcast or 'linear' television where videos are shown at a certain time.

According to Borges the service will work on any 3G-enabled mobile phone on the Vodacom network. However, it is not yet available on Apple iPhone or BlackBerry devices, but he said that these devices will be supported "soon". It will also not work over WiFi or on slower EDGE or GPRS mobile connections.

Videos are encoded using either the H.264 or MPEG4 standard, depending on which phone a user is connecting with.

He said that his company's agreement with Vodacom is non-exclusive, but that no other cellular providers are currently offering the service.

"Videos on the service can be played, stopped and paused, similar to how one controls a DVD," said Borges.

"You can also make a playlist of videos you'd like to watch."

He said shows available on the service include Lost, Grey's Anatomy, South Park and Desperate Housewives. In total TV:On Demand has over 250 000 videos available in its catalogue, which is updated every week.

Episodes of television series, for example, are added every week and a limited amount of past episodes are kept on the system. However, there will be no live content on the service, as well as no sport.