While connectivity in South Africa has traditionally been very expensive, prices are beginning to drop and caps are being lifted due to improved infrastructure and availability, making broadband more affordable than before.
While SA trails behind most of the Western world in terms of connectivity, much is being done to change this situation. This opens up a host of exciting possibilities within the broadcast industry, as new technologies that run off IP infrastructures become a viable option in the local space.
Telecom improvements have allowed broadcasting technologies to piggyback off this infrastructure, enabling aplications to be applied without the cost of developing purpose-built connectivity solutions. This represents the next evolution in the convergence between traditional IT, telecoms and broadcast, allowing for tailored networked content provision. It also means that internet television, a technology enjoyed in many first world countries, but one which until recently has been unattainable in South Africa, is now beginning to emerge in the country.
We can expect future growth in the Commercial IP television space. Improved infrastructure also allows for internet broadcasting, using streaming video to deliver content in new ways to broadband and mobile networks.
The possibility of internet broadcasting is becoming a reality thanks to new technology that is now available in South Africa, which provides innovative, reliable streaming media solutions that enables the capture, management and delivery of video to broadband and mobile networks. Comprehensive platforms are now available for the digital media marketplace, enabling broadcasters to reduce costs and expand audiences to new markets.
Together, the improved broadband and availability of new streaming technologies opens up a new market within the broadcast space. Video streaming allows corporate broadcasters to distribute custom content to offices across the country, even the world, enabling gated communities to tailor viewing options to suit the individual needs of residents. This also has great potential within the distance learning space, as lectures can be broadcasted to students no matter what their location enabling learners to interact as if they were in a physical lecture room environment.
For service providers internet broadcasting provides access to several new services, from hosting and providing content to offering packages designed for aspiring broadcasters to deliver their content.
Digital Terrestrial Television is a move that is already happening in the local market, as South African and African broadcasters gear up to migrate from analogue to digital broadcasting. Many major content providers have begun the conversion, and once this is completed new opportunities for broadcasters will almost certainly emerge. Handheld IP television, such as DStv’s Mobile Drifta, are also emerging to provide viewers with new means of viewing broadcasted content.
However, while this technology is becoming more readily available and we are seeing a move towards more digital content locally, infrastructure remains a barrier to entry within the community broadcasting. Consumers do not yet trust the reliability and costing of broadband. Until these and other issues such as licensing can be resolved, the availability of greater number of targeted community television and radio stations will not be growing to any great extent.
Steven Lauter — Jasco Broadcast Solutions Sales Manager