DSTV mobile application upgraded from Beta to final.

Posted on June 26, 2012

DSTV mobile application upgraded from Beta to final. No real obvious changes in the release notes except for the statement below :
*** If you device is running Android 2.1 (Eclair) or your device has a processor slower than 800Mhz, please use the “DStv Mobile Decoder Eclair” version.

Same list of devices supported.

Link to the final application here : https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.valups.tivit.app.finaldstv

Review of the iDrifta for iPad/iPhone/iPod touch

Posted on June 24, 2012

Full disclosure : I have no affiliation to DSTV, DSTV Mobile or Multichoice. I write this blog in my spare time with no payment from any providers. The review unit was provided to me by the marketing agency working with DSTV Mobile and I thank them for it. I pay the monthly subscription fees on the Drifta devices I am using – including the iDrifta. 

The iDrifta is a cute, small, convenient little device. As a Drifta for the iPad / iPhone / iPod touch (referred to as iDevice), this is brilliant. It is however restricted to just those devices.

I have in the past reviewed the original (wifi) Drifta and the USB Drifta. This review now focusses on the iDrifta. If you are wanting to use the Drifta with your PC, Blackberry, Mac, Android and your iDevice then right up front this is not for you. Take a look at the table over here to see which devices work with which Drifta’s to make that decision. If however your are primarily wanting a Drifta to use with your iDevice, then read on.

The iDrifta is about the size of a matchbox. On the top it has an Apple connector, on the bottom it has a micro USB for charging, with a soft loop of aerial around the port.  Just above the micro USB is a single LED which lights up when the device is being charged.

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iDrifta quick start guide (images)

Posted on June 17, 2012

Images of the two pages of the iDrifta quick start guide included with the device. The full unboxing of the device can be found here. Review to follow.

Click through for the two pages of the guide.

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iDrifta unboxing and some initial comments – with lots of pictures

Posted on June 17, 2012

Review of iDrifta here. Unboxing continues below.

I was confused last week when my mom called me to say that a parcel had just been delivered to her house for me. I asked her to open it for me since I wasn’t expecting anything and didn’t have a clue what is was. I was quite delighted when she told me it was an iDrifta. Neither DSTV mobile nor their marketing company had told me there were sending me one for review so it was really an unexpected surprise. This is the second time they have sent me one of their new products to review (the USB Drifta was also provided for review) so thank you once again to DSTV mobile  for being so kinda as to send this through, and for the nice red ribbon and accompanying letter. Just in time for Fathers day :)

This post is the “unboxing”, the review will come later. I called their call centre earlier to activate the device, but now 3 hours later it’s still not activated. I don’t much feel like spending more time on the line to the call centre (that last call was 15m+) so decided to write this up instead and try again with the call centre later. Enjoy this for now, will link to the review later.

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DStv mobile streaming solution for MTN users (better than previous Vodacom one)

Posted on November 16, 2011

Yesterday  I received a press release from DStv Mobile about a new partnership with MTN to launch a 3G streaming Mobile TV Service. At first I wasn’t very excited about this, they have a similar product with Vodacom, which at first sounded interesting but was hamstrung by a ridiculous acceptable usage agreement which restricts you to 45 minutes per week (180 per month). That doesn’t even get you through a single T20 game, and hardly through two rugby matches. Crazy indeed.

On receiving the press release I immediately fired off a mail to Maiyo checking what the acceptable use of the new solution was. If it was the same (or similar) to the Vodacom one I wasn’t going to bother posting about it as it wouldn’t in my opinion be worth the subscription.

I am very happy to say that the response is a very positive one, no bandwidth / usage restrictions. You will use your own bandwidth to browse to the MTN Play website and get the video stream running, but you won’t pay for or be restricted in usage of the video stream itself. What a different that makes. For those who don’t want to buy a DStv Drifta, or have the hassle of carrying a second device (or don’t have client software available for their device) this is a really viable alternate. Well done to MTN and DStv mobile for improving significantly on the Vodacom offering.

I haven’t tested the service so can’t tell you how well it works, but based on the information provided it does look good. The FAQ on the DStv web site (link here) claims the service will work on most 2.5G or 3G cell phones (however it doesn’t work on the iPhone or a device only using the Opera Mini web browser). Still, that includes more devices than it excludes.

Press release below :

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DStv Mobile Channels adjusted, premium package added

Posted on November 08, 2011

I was sent a press release from DStv mobile today around some changes to their channels and packages. They have split the channels into three packages:

  • Free : E! Entertainment, Channel O, SuperSport Blitz, The eNews Channel, CNNi
  • R36/Month : SuperSport 1,2,3,4, AfricaMagic, M-Net Series, SONYMax, Cartoon Network, Discovery
  • Premium : M-Net Mobile (Available only to DStv Premium subscribers at no subscription cost)

So the net effect is that Discovery has been added for all existing (R36/month) subscribers, and if you are a DStv Premium (R600+/month) subscriber you can now also have the new M-Net Mobile on your Drifta for free.

The M-Net mobile should be almost the same as the M-Net channel (except there will be no movies?), and will be available from 2pm to around 10:30pm each day.

There is no indication of whether M-Net Mobile will be available to non-premium subscribers for an extra fee at some stage.

The full press release is included below :

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Running the standard Android Drifta app on non-standard phones

Posted on September 27, 2011

Before the hacked version of the DStv mobile application surfaced people were looking for ways to get the standard application to work on devices other than those supported, as well as on rooted devices. That playing around stopped with the hacked version. Now that DStv has taken to asserting their copyrights to the application a lot of people have not been able to get hold of the hacked application. The same outcome can be achieved without needing to infringe DStv’s copyright. Below is the short and more detailed version of this :

  • If your device is not supported, you can change your device’s identity so that it looks like a supported device.
  • If your device is rooted, you can temporarily unroot it using OTA Rootkeeper.

That’s it. Simple, yes?

Below is Johan’s feedback and instructions (edited a little with links added to make your lives easier).

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A week with the DStv mobile Android application, the good and the bad

Posted on September 15, 2011

I gave now spent just over a week with the DStv mobile application, had some time to play with it and get my thoughts together around it.

Firstly, I am very grateful to have the application. After more than 5 months of waiting (impatiently) I was starting to lose hope. On reflection, it is sad that I am grateful to an organisation for providing me with a service which I paid for, and was paying for while it wasn’t being delivered. Still, I do like to be able to watch the sports channels while on the move.

There are some good and bad points. Let me start with the bad.

  1. The application is huge. The largest application I have installed on my phone at almost 20 Meg. My phone (HTC Desire) has limited memory, so in order to install the DStv mobile application I had to uninstall Google Plus, the Google Maps updates, Facebook updates and the 360 Panorama tool. That really burns, I have now lost a whole lot of functionality on my phone to have this application. After some poking around I discovered that the entire Drifta update ROM/BIOS is stored in the application, and this takes up more than half of the space. Whoever came up with that idea was clearly not thinking straight. It is a one-off upgrade  I would happily have done via my PC now I have to give up so much Android space and functionality (10 Meg).
  2. The application doesn’t allow itself to be move to the SD card, or for any part of it to be moved (as App2SD and similar tools do).  I am not sure what changes need to be made to the app to let it move to SD, but do it guys. Either that or remove the Drifta BIOS from the application. If 15 Meg of that 20 Meg could be stored on the SD card I would be smiling.
  3. It works on very limited devices still. I include this one because of all of the complaints I receive daily, not because it affects me anymore.
  4. The application authenticates to the server EVERY TIME you load it. What a pain. Sometimes I have perfect DVB-H (Drifta) signal but lose Cell phone signal (one client I work at has really really bad Cell C signal) and then I can’t watch the mobile TV. Throw the device over the desk divider to a mate with an iPhone and he seems to be able to use it just fine, no authentication. Why the discrimination against Android users? I don’t know. This again seems to be a badly thought out ploy. Let the thing authenticate weekly or monthly if need be, but please for the sake of all things good cut out this nonsense of having to start from scratch every time. Not only that, but when I bought the device it was made clear that NO internet connection was needed to use it. To introduce these unnecessary additional steps at this late stage of the game is really unacceptable. It would probably fall foul of the Consumer Protection Act if I hadn’t bought it in December last year.
  5. The application is unstable! How unstable? Well during the USA vs Russia game this morning it crashed twice and on a third occasion rebooted my phone. That really isn’t good enough. The game was tight so I didn’t miss any key scoring moments, but still. It could have been a minute or two downtime at a crucial moment.
  6. Ok this is a repeat (in a way) of point 4. Every time I load the application I have to first make sure wi-fi is off (otherwise it automatically connects to the Drifta) or the Drifta is off (so it can’t connect). Then load the application, let it authenticate to the internet (if available) and then go into system settings to turn wi-fi back on again, then click re-scan, then let it connect. When the application is quit, it switches wi-fi off regardless of whether wi-fi was on or off before the application was started. I find this whole process cumbersome and painful, needing to switch backward and forward between the system settings and the application just to get it to work.
  7. The picture isn’t full screen, it puts some bars down the sides. Sure this keeps the aspect ratio correct, but there could have been an optional zoom to fill the screen.
  8. There is conflicting information as to whether the anonymous authentication is really anonymous or not depending on who I speak to (this is still to be cleared up). My view, collecting / sending unique information back to the server while displaying a message saying it is an anonymous authentication is dishonest, bad business practice and potentially will be illegal when the Protection of Personal Information Bill is promulgated, and is probably also falling foul of the Consumer Protection Act.  (I am not a lawyer, so I cannot give anything but an informed lay man’s view on that).

Enough griping, now for the good.

  1. The application works (mostly)
  2. I get to watch mobile tv on the move as I should have been able to since the start (when I have Cell phone signal)
  3. The interface is easy to use and the picture quality is nice on the small screen
  4. I am getting to see some of the Rugby World Cup I wouldn’t have otherwise
  5. Coverage is fairly good and stable. This morning I drove from home (Dawncliffe, Westville) to the office (La Lucia Ridge past gateway) and there was no signal drop on the entire trip. I was listening rather than watching so can’t be sure picture didn’t freeze but audio was stable. The application crashed when I drove into the parking lot, but otherwise was all good. (Added 16/9/2011 based on a Twitter question posed by @Mateewis)
  6. The subscription is relatively cheap (R36/month)

In conclusion, I am very happy to have the application and be able to watch some of the Rugby World Cup, but the size of it, the lack of stability and the ridiculous authentication system is significantly dampening my enthusiasm for it. 

Please share your thoughts and experiences, I am particularly interested in hearing the views of people who have used both the iPhone and Android applications.

Guest review : Using the Nokia DVB-H adapter with the E7

Posted on September 11, 2011

Johan posted this fairly lengthy comment in response to my post “A most interesting hour with DStv mobile team” . It makes good reading and deserves better exposure than languishing within the comments, so with his permission, a mostly unedited version is presented below. I have included a few of my own comments (all italicised). 

I am using the Nokia DVB-H adapter with my Nokia E7 and must say I am really happy just carrying 1 device with the benefit of “using” Internet on the device (when you switch to the mobile TV app it does stop, but downloads are not interrupted in the background when watching DSTV). For all Nokia’s “faults”, true multitasking and excellent hardware have kept me on the platform. My N900 did unfortunately pack up, but the E7 has been a worthy replacement (for me at least).

The wifi drifta is however a more “versatile” device. It can now be used with PC, iOS, “Android” (currently 6 devices) and hopefully soon OSX (although the Drifta allows only one device to connect at a time).

In terms of the Nokia Mobile TV software it does have some benefits over the Drifta software. A really nice feature is the REMINDERS functionality (only for the next 18 hours for which the EPG is displayed for). Once set, the reminder pops up even if you do not have the dvb-h headset connected. 1 click and you can watch the program (once you connect the headset).

My main gripes are (mostly Nokia specific – I don’t have a Drifta)

  1. The E7 can only be charged via USB, but the dvb-h adaptor takes that spot – so you can’t charge and watch at the same time. But I have watched about 4.5 hours on a full charge. The older N8 can be used for longer (has older charger plug allowing charge and view) but the “pop-up” screen of the E7 does make it easier to view…
  2. You HAVE to “subscribe” via 3G / Wifi EVERY month (only takes 5 mins, but it is a pain)
  3. SuperSport 4 just would NOT want to work. Says loading but nothing. Lots of fiddling and then SS4 now working (after resetting Mobile TV from within the app). It then re-scans for channels. You have to then “purchase” again, but it remembers that you already have a subscription and within a minute you can watch the channels again.
  4. Could for the life of me not get it to work in Strand, Stellenbosch, Blauwberg, SomersetWest end last month. Just kept saying no signal… But when I landed back in Gauteng worked instantly… (Coverage across the broader Western Cape does seem a bit spotty. This is reflected on the DStv Mobile coverage map on their site.)

But overall I think it is a great service (yes “better” channels would be nice, but for R36 per month you get SS1 and SS2 “always” with you.

Thanks Johan. Great to get some insight into other options. You certainly seem to be getting a better battery life than what I get with my wifi Drifta, or my HTC Desire. And between them they have two batteries (which both have to be charged). The reminders feature is one that is sorely missing from the Drifta.

 The all in one option of the E7 with headset seems like a great alternate, especially if you have a compatible cell phone. 


DSTV Mobile Channel Update : SS4 added

Posted on September 09, 2011

Just heard this evening that Supersport 4 has been added and that Big Brother Amplified has been dropped. Since DStv Mobile users are mostly sports lovers, this can only be a good move. I haven’t seen any official announcement but can guess that it is related to the Rugby World Cup. More coverage for all of us :)

Thanks Melosi Baloyi Lesega (@melosib) for bringing this to my attention.

HTC and Drifta, a few tweeted tidbits

Posted on September 07, 2011

With DStv Mobile having released the Android app for some Samsung Galaxy devices it looks as though HTC are feeling rather left out and wanting to get their share of the action. Some interesting tweets today.

First up was @Regardt van der Berg, “I do PR, Communications, and Social Media for HTC and I’m a lazy photographer” from http://www.htcblog.co.za  commenting that support is coming to HTC soon and they are working with the Devs to get the app approved on HTC.

Nico @Zandberg picked up that the screenshots present on the Android App Store are actually taken from an HTC and not a Samsung.  Mybroadband picked up on the press release mailed out by DStv mobile and put up a story.

I contacted Regardt and put some questions to him, which were partially answered with a non-committal “We are working with Multichoice” but an offer to correspond further by email, which I took him up on and sent a mail asking a few questions.

Will feed back when I get a response. An interesting day for HTC users none-the-less.

NB : The tweets below were collated together using editor software, but can be validated back to Twitter.


Drifta for Android is here, now, ahead of the World Cup, for Galaxy S, SII and Tab P1000

Posted on September 06, 2011

DStv have delivered on the hopes of many and delivered their Android client for a small range of popular Android devices. Those lucky enough to have a Samsung Galaxy S, SII or the P1000 Tablet are going to have the pleasure of watching the World Cup on their devices. Thanks to David for the heads up this morning. David has downloaded it already and says it works beautifully.

Well done DStv Mobile!

The software is 28M in size which places it on the larger end of applications, not yet sure whether the majority of the application can be moved over to the SD card. It runs on Android 1.6 and up, which should cover all incantations of the supported devices and gives hope for many more devices being rolled out soon. As expected it will NOT run on rooted devices.

The reviews on the market place are very divided. Those who have compatible devices are giving it 4’s and 5’s, those who have devices on which it doesn’t work are pretty scathing.

The good :

  • Well done and in time for the rwc. (Kobus, 4 stars)
  • Its way over due. Lets c if it works bt heck im really happy … Its way over due. Lets c if it works bt heck im really happy that it came b4 the RWC. (Bafana, 5 stars)
  • Good app, pity it needs internet authentication to run (Corsa, 4 stars)
The so so :
  • Size .. The size of the app is huge (Danzel, 3 stars)
  • Unable to authenticate the mobile device?!?!?!? I’m using a Samsung Galaxy S 2!!!! (Danie, 3 stars)

The bad:

  • Samsung only devices… What a joke! We have waited over 6 months for this Android App only for it to be available for 3, yes, THREE Android devices. This is a complete and utter joke! (Nick, 1 star)
  • Why Samsung only? Can’t dstv do anything properly? Luckily I saw this before giving … Why Samsung only? Can’t dstv do anything properly? Luckily I saw this before giving more hard earned money to multichoice. Pathetic IMO. (Anonymous, 1 star)
  • Root .. Non rooted phones (Alru, 1 star)

I can understand the frustrations but having spoken in detail with the DStv guys, know where they are coming from too. Read some more about that over here (A most interesting hour with the DStv mobile team).

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A (most interesting) hour with the DStv Mobile team

Posted on September 01, 2011

This afternoon (31/8/2011) I had the pleasure of spending an hour with the DStv mobile team. Thanks to Maiyo for setting it up and to Bradley and Neil for giving freely of your time.

The DStv mobile product is a fairly simple one. There are the two hardware devices (the Drifta and USB Drifta). The USB Drifta is the simpler one to deal with as it works only with PC’s. There is client software for Windows and as a pleasant surprise, software for Mac is under development and at a fairly advanced stage. No mention of release dates, after the previous debacle around late releases the team is hyper-sensitive to this issue and would clearly rather under-promise and over-deliver, can’t blame them for that one.

Neil spoke a little around the development life cycle, and how the windows client was developed first, then the iPad version, and now the Mac. The Mac version takes the best user interface elements of the previous ones and builds on that. At a later stage the Windows version will be updated to bring this new user interface to us. Although it doesn’t change the fundamental product it is a nice touch. I asked around PVR type functionality which is hinted at in the Drifta BIOS. Sadly this isn’t allowed in the content license agreements.

I got to play with an android tab and phone version of the Drifta clients for a short while. They work as expected, touch interface and look good. Still testing to do and kinks to work out, but they are coming.

I put my three phones (a Blackberry, Nokia and Andoid device) on the table and asked the big question. What happened, the delays, the promises, the angry community, the inadequate response. When are we getting the promised clients.

The team was honest, embarrassed and clearly hurt by what had happened. They missed the deadlines, and badly. They pissed off their customers and are well aware of it and trying hard to avoid repeating the situation. I think this has led to the huge lack of information around current state. They are very scared of creating any further expectations that can’t be met, even if those are through customers misinterpreting what has been said.

Before, we were told that there would be client software for Android, Nokia and Blackberry. That is a very wide statement to make (and was a mistake). There are just too many classes of devices in each of those camps, and by not being more specific false expectations were created. The delays have also led to devices which were mainstream being largely out of the picture and having to work towards moving goalposts. In the Android arena there have been a plethora of devices and OS versions. None of this has made things easy.

That said, they have been working hard to try to bring the client to these devices. They want it out there, it opens up the market hugely and can only be in their interests.

We spoke mostly about Android and Blackberry. Nokia (Symbian) was mentioned more in passing. Nokia has all but abandoned Symbian and moved on to Windows Mobile 7. It wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense for DStv to be investing a lot of effort in a dying platform. By the time they got it out and stable most people would have moved on from the platform.

I asked around compatibility of the clients with handsets. There are minimum requirements. In the Blackberry arena the software was tested on the Curve and Bold platforms. Changes in the OS have caused compatibility problems with some of the newer devices that still has to be worked out. The very popular 8520 (baby Blackberry) only has a slower processor and lower resolution screen is unlikely to work with the software. If when released the software runs on the Curve, Bold and Torch then it will cover most of the newer devices. I hope not too many 8520 users will be disappointed, but it was to be expected.

The Android front is a whole lot more complicated. As with the iPhone, they are concerned about rooted devices and those with video out. Licensing doesn’t allow the signal to be output unrestricted to big screens. This is a mobile service. This means as with iPhone if you have a rooted (jailbroken) device / custom rom you may not be able to use the software. We didn’t go into detail about how this will be enforced, but as with the iPhone environment, I am sure there will be hacked software soon enough.

Given the vast number of devices, and that a lot of the newer cheaper devices are having smaller screens and weaker processors, it will not be possible for the client to run on every Android device out there. If we had to wait for that level of compatibility we would never see the application.

The software will be available through the Android market place. DStv plan to make use of a device whitelisting system, when a user launches the application it will check with the white listing server to see if the device is compatible.  It will initially be available for a handful of Samsung devices (Samsung were kind enough to give DStv significant support in debugging issues), and then additional devices and suppliers will be added to the list as testing and development increases the scope of compatibility. This is sure to disappoint some users out there (myself included as an HTC user) but just seeing the application out there and in use will be a really good start. Once that list of supported devices grows we will get even happier.

The release date for Blackberry I won’t hazard a guess at, and given the discussion around it I didn’t ask. No point raising those expectations again until there is something to see.

The Android application is not far off. We have heard vague and non-committal dates being thrown around after all those missed deadlines (and I explained above why they are so sensitive). A target date was mentioned to me, which I have agreed not to disclose. If they manage to hit that date, a few of the Samsung Android users (on the whitelist) will have an early Christmas present and be smiling. From the conversation, I am confident that as a HTC user I will also be able to use my Drifta as was intended within a reasonable timeframe.

We spoke also a little around technical support, and it was mentioned that DStv mobile are looking to enhance their online experience for customers to improve support. Improvements are always  good thing.

In terms of improvements to software, full screen and jailbroken iDevices isn’t allowed with licensing so we moved onto other ideas. A Drifta with a LCD screen may be a bit expensive, so how about putting a headphone jack on it and letting it be used as a digital radio. May not be much use for some of the channels, but for sport and music this would be great. Often the game isn’t on radio and listening to it on the Drifta could fill that gap. I asked also about an audio only client for lower specced devices that wouldn’t be able to display the pictue (that 8520 and some lower class Android devices come to mind). While these are nice ideas none can really be implemented short-term (my thought, not theirs) as the focus is on delivering the promised client applications first.

Ideas for improvements for the PC software:

  • Searchable programme guide
  • Reminders for upcoming shows
  • Ability to pause (to get that beer from the fridge while not missing the game, or to take an important call)
  • Setting (off by default) the call on startup of the app that currently checks if you have elected to participate in the useage monitoring programme (I personally take offense to having my uniquely identifiable information sent to the central server without permission – but then I did sign up for the programme when it was explained to me)
  • Setting (off by default) as to whether the software should check for updates (mobile data can be expensive)

I was asked my impression of the programming, I mainly watch sports and the news channels. I am fine with the allocation. The “cut down” mobile versions of channels was mentioned and Maiyo pointed out to me that for Cartoon Network they have quietly replaced the gimped one with the linear direct-to-home DStv version (the full version). I missed that along the way, big up to DStv for listening to their clients and sorting that out. I think they could have made a bit of a bigger deal about that and taken more credit for it. E! Entertainment continues to play a block of content that is repeated periodically.  Mnet Series is largely the same as the DTH channel, where licences have not been granted for certain programming, substitute programming will be scheduled.

The recurring theme through the discussions was how to communicate better with the customers, providing more transparency and information, while managing expectations to try to avoid consumer rage. We bounced around some ideas, and I hope that will lead to more information being made available, at a minimum details of what older devices/platforms will definitely NOT be supported, and possibly even minimum technical specifications (per platform) of what would be required in order to at least have a chance of the client working. Consumers would need to be careful not to misinterpret such information as a promise to have it working on those platforms. Still, this would help significantly in making decisions for next handsets.  I mentioned how frustrated I was having been through two phone upgrades between January and June and having no information on which to base a decision. They get this, just need work out how to sensibly release such information.

I was asked around the volume of traffic to this site. For those interested it is currently between 300 and 500 article impressions a day, and about 70% of that traffic relates DStv mobile, the next largest are those looking for details on Cellular service providers’ (Vodacom) compliance (or not as the case may be) with the Consumer Protection Act. Is running the site a full-time job? No, I have a real job. The advertising here brings in around R180/month currently, with that split between revenue for views and for clicks. A click pays anything from 40c to R12 (averaging R3.57), and advert views range from 0c (yes zero) to around 24c/thousand views. All that is highly variable and not enough to even buy me an iPad.

Finally we spoke around me getting added to the media list for press releases so I can keep the information on the site and updated, and possibly getting information just ahead of product and client releases so I can help spread the word and provide support to you, the community.

A very positive meeting, and I think DStv mobile, Maiyo, Bradley and Neil for inviting me to your offices, giving freely of your time and trusting me enough to show me what you are working so hard at delivering. I look forward to further interactions, and a growing community as you roll out the next versions of your client software and products.

If you have questions you would like answered let me know and I will see if I can get answers from Maiyo.

Disclaimer : DStv Mobile have not edited or unduly influenced this article in any way. The team was kind enough to show me a lot of what they are doing and give me honest answers to a lot of questions. In the vein of under promise and over deliver they did ask me not to reveal certain information. Out of respect to them I did send them a pre-release version of this article and on request some minor amendments were made (by me) to avoid creating unrealistic expectations. If this does happen, blame me for over enthusiasm and not the DStv mobile team :) 

P.S. After the fact I did post two additional questions to Maiyo. During the discussion we spoke briefly about Windows Mobile 7, however I did not explicitly ask if they were going to be developing for this platform. I asked for clarification on this. We also spoke a bit around what the minimum specifications might be for supported devices (across Nokia, Android, Blackberry) and whether these could be released. Not so much as to tell you your device would be supported, but so that you could know which devices just definitely wouldn’t make the grade. Useful when buying your next phone. They had not explicitly documented these specs, and they could also vary per platform. I have asked if this information could be documented and shared. The team was a little reluctant as they were concerned people may misinterpret this as an undertaking to develop for ALL devices which met these specifications, which clearly is unrealistic. I have asked if they might share these minimum specs, subject  to proviso’s sure, but some information is better than none. Will keep you posted.

Update : The Android version has now been released, read more here

My thoughts on the USB DStv Drifta (Review)

Posted on August 05, 2011

Update :  The new iDrifta has been released (iDevice only) – unboxing here. Review to follow.

First reactions from my son :

  • Aww Dad, it’s so cute. Look how tiny it is compared to the old one.
  • Dad, I can’t plug in the memory stick next to the Drifta.

That, in a nutshell, sums up the new USB DStv Drifta. It’s small and cute, not quite the size of a memory stick (just  a tad fatter), so overlaps a second USB slot when plugged in (a cable is supplied to solve this). It works, and well, but doesn’t really cure any of the inherent problems with the first Drifta. That said, in the right scenarios it is a great device.

USB Drifta with Aerial extended

Onto the review proper :

Back on 14 July 2011 DStv announced (officially) the new USB DStv Drifta (release here).  The release and the pictures made the device look interesting. A week later their PR team mailed me and offered me a Drifta to test out and review (well, they just offered to send me one, my assumption it was to test and review).

This review doesn’t intend to rehash all of the detail from my review last year. This in many ways is just a simpler, smaller, cheaper version of the Drifta and it works much in the same way. Go and read that review if you want to understand more about the DStv mobile product as opposed to the USB Drifta itself.

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As predicted, new DSTV Mobile Decoder released (USB Device)

Posted on July 14, 2011

As predicted back on the 4th June (based on firmware contained in the last Windows 1.3 client released), DSTV Mobile have now come out and announced the availability of a brand new decoder, known as the “Dstv Mobile USB Drifta” decoder.

This uses the same DVB-H functionality as the wifi drifta, it just comes in a much smaller an convenient package for those who don’t need to use WiFi connectivity (to iPhones/iPads/Ipod’s) and just want to use it with their PC’s.

The device plugs straight into the USB port, doesn’t need charging, pairing or any of the complications. It is claimed to be available now at a price of R399. Good deal if you are only ever wanting to use it with a laptop. The device is available on Kalahari.net already, with an 8 day delivery time.  It may be coincidence or could explain the half price Drifta special that was available yesterday. They are back to full price today :)

In addition to the new decoder, DStv mobile also announced the launch of the M-Net Series channel to the DStv mobile lineup. Im not sure which channel is to be dropped (since they claim to be using up all channels allocated to them by ICASA), but we shall see. Hopefully it is the full channel and not a gimped version full of week old repeats as Cartoon Network is.

Sadly there is still no news on the Blackberry or Android client software for the existing Drifta. Just how serious are DSTV about sorting out the problems with the existing product if they are launching new ones? Your guess is as good as mine.

The press release is available here on the www.dstv.com website.

I have updated the Drifta FAQ to include the new USB Drifta. Find it here.

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