In case-just in case-you have been wondering what video on demand (VoD) services are or what they do, here are the answers. VoD is an interactive television technology that allows users to choose and watch or listen to video or audio content when they want, rather than at a specific broadcast time.
A television VoD system consists of a standard television set along with a decoder or set-top-box.
Alternatively, the service can be delivered over the Internet to personal computers, top-end mobile phone sets and other advanced digital devices, allowing viewing in real time, or download to a device for viewing at any time. VoD, which provides a wide selection of video programming in entertainment, sports, education and movies, allows users immediate access to content on their preferred devices.
Popular VoD services in Nigeria include iROKOtv, which offers documentaries, series, soaps and Afro-centric shows; 9flix, which allows the streaming of TV shows and programmes from across Africa; Afrinolly, a mobile application that provides access to movie trailers, full-length movies and music videos that have been made public by content owners or their legal representatives; and Dobox, a streaming service featuring an array of cinema-released movies, documentaries and cartoons.
All of these are strictly online, requiring sizeable amount of data and dependent on sound broadband connection.
Also popular are DStv BoxOffice and DStv Catch-Up, both available to users of the DStv Explora. BoxOffice is an online movie rental service through which DStv Premium and Compact Plus subscribers as well as anyone with access to a broadband Internet connection could rent movies from a vast array of new releases and classic blockbusters.
The movies, selectable from a playlist of 20 and replenished as new ones become available, can be viewed as many times as possible within a 48-hour rental window for which they stay on the Personal Video Recorder.
The delivery of the service through a television set eliminates the data bills accruable from online use.
The service also offers opportunities of watching a trailer before rental, a rewind, pause and forward.
The other service, DStv Catch Up, allows Premium subscribers to stream or download over 600 titles of television series, movies, sporting highlights, children’s programmes, magazine and actuality shows on iPhones, iPads and PVRs.
DStv Catch Up offers a vast range of entertainment and sporting content to Premium subscribers, which they could watch and re-watch countless times for a period as long as seven days-at no extra cost.
The biggest impediment to VoD’s is the lack of a network infrastructure that can handle large amounts of data required by video.