Multichoice, the South African company that operates DStv and Showmax has decided to cap streaming resolution on its mobile apps.
According to MyBroadvand, the company told the publication that they wanted to assist ISPs with managing bandwidth loads during the COVID-19 lockdown period that is currently happening in South Africa.
A spokesperson confirmed to me that they are implementing the cap across Africa, which includes Kenya.
“Late last week, we implemented data traffic reduction measures, focusing specifically on mobile traffic. We’ve limited the maximum resolution for both Showmax and DStv Now live streaming to 576p on our mobile apps. We’re also busy with some other measures and are working closely with ISPs to monitor the situation. If needed, we’ll step in with further traffic reduction measures,” a spokesperson from Multichoice said.
These changes have not been done to TV, decoder or browser-based streaming.
This follows a move by Netflix to reduce the streaming bitrate in Africa due to the spike in usage, as more people stay at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Netflix was able to be quite smart about this where they were able to reduce traffic load by 25% while still maintaining the quality of their video streams.
These changes have been necessitated due to the fact that South Africa is in a 21-day lockdown which will naturally lead to a spike in bandwidth use. People will turn to streaming platforms like Netflix, Showmax, and DStv Now to entertain themselves during the lockdown. Kenya is not on lockdown but you can expect that traffic has spiked during the quarantine season.