Discovery Channel (DStv 121) on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform is getting upgraded to a high definition (HD) channel as HD Discovery Channel, within Q1 - or the first three months - of 2014.
The current Discovery HD Showcase - the only Discovery Networks International channel which was in HD on DStv and one of the few HD channels besides sport channels which were HD in DStv - will be discontinued as it is effectively replaced by the new HD Discovery Channel.
MultiChoice says it will replace Discovery HD Showcase with something else. Viewers without access to high definition television will see a standard definition (SD) version of the HD Discovery Channel.
The content which was on Discovery HD Showcase will be funneled to DStv subscribers through the DStv Explora decoder which is HD enabled, as DStv on Demand content.
DStv subscribers with DStv Explora access will therefore get more HD content not otherwise available and which wasn't first broadcast on a linear basis.
DStv Premium subscribers will now however be able to watch the factual entertainment Discovery Channel in high definition which means that brand-new programming will become in HD much quicker for South African viewers such as Magician Impossible, Bear Grylls, River Monsters, Wheeler Dealers and Gold Rush Alaska.
A lot of Discovery Channel programming was only viewable in HD during a second run on Discovery HD showcase after its been on the Discovery Channel. Now DStv subscribers will be able to see it originally in HD during its first broadcast.
The Discovery Channel HD version for South Africa and the rest of sub-Saharan Africa will be what is known in the trade as a "bespoke" or uniquely packaged and programmed channel similar to what Discovery HD Showcase was.
The Discovery Channel HD feed is specifically tailored and scheduled for DStv subscribers in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa.
"The launch of the new dedicated HD Discovery Channel is an important milestone for our services in Africa and represents our continued committment to offering DStv viewers the best, high quality programming experience possible," says James Gibbons, the senior vice president for emerging business for Discovery Networks for the Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEEMEA) region.
"We're sure that our DStv viewers and South African advertisers will relish the chance to watch their favourite Discovery Channel programmes in unbeatable high definition quality. We're also planning more new shows targeted at our DStv viewers starting with the launch of the epic Klondike drama," says James Gibbons.
Mark Rayner, the new chief operating officer (COO) of MultiChoice South Africa says "we want DStv to be our customers' home for great entertainment. Offering the adventurous and life-affirming content on Discovery as HD simulcast to our customers gives DStv Premium customers access to the best HD content in the world."