The launch of Altech's Node comes a week after the launch of Times Media Group's VIDI. Node viewers won't suffer buffering issues like VIDI and will also be able to watch the latest movie releases as well as library TV shows.
Like DStv BoxOffice on the DStv Explora and HD PVR, the content on the Node console is updated through satellite and stored on the 1TB internal hard drive and viewable in 1080p high definition (HD).
The Node includes video-on-demand sports content (80 episodes at launch). It's not live sports content but packaged content.
Node will have 200 hours of TV series at launch, 140 movies at launch, 150 hours of kids programming, 150 hours of documentaries, and 30 hours of current affairs programming that can be watched instantly.
Altech's Node will carry 7 to 10 new movie titles per month at any given time available for rent, as well as 100 new titles per year.
In the subscription library there will be 140 movie titles which are available to watch at any time and which doesn't require an additional payment. These will be refreshed at a rate of 10% to 15% per month, says Altech.
Altech's Node will work with any TV set that has HDMI ports, and the Node console itself has 3 HDMI ports.
Monthly subscription fee of R299
Besides the R3 499 cost of the console which includes free installation which people will be able to buy at Altech Autopage Cellular, Cell C, Dion Wired, Game, Hifi Corporation, Hirsch's, Incredible Connection, JetMart, Makro and Pick n Pay Hyper, there is a monthly subscription fee of R299.
This R299 monthly subscription fee gives the user access to the majority of the library content on the Node which regularly is cycled through and replaced just like on DStv BoxOffice on DStv PVR decoders.
Similar to the licensing rights agreements of DStv and DStv BoxOffice and VIDI, Altech has licensing rights agreements with Hollywood studios which include Sony, Disney, MGM and Universal.
On the Node the latest blockbuster movies cost R25, compared to the R27 for DStv BoxOffice and R27 for VIDI. This R25 will be in addition to the R299 monthly subscription fee.
Like DStv BoxOffice and VIDI, a movie on Node remains available for a 48 hour period to watch. Older movie titles on Altech's Node will cost R15.
Subscription and rentals of and through the Altech Node can be paid by using debit and credit cards or Altech's Eyenza wallet.
Older non high definition (HD) content will have a higher bit rate on Altech's Node says the company "to ensure the content still looks great in an HD screen".
"Sound is delivered through 5.1 Dolby. YouTube videos will stream at a minimum of 720p resolution".
'Like a DVD store in your home'
"Node is much more than video-on-demand," says Craig Venter, Altech CEO, saying that Altech's Node is "like a DVD store in your home".
"It is an entertainment hub, a streaming server, a Wi-Fi hotspot, an e-commerce platform.
"It is the most sophisticated home gateway in the world and is a true reflection of Altech's mission to provide its customers with value-added products, services and solutions through the convergence of telecommunications, multimedia and information technology."
Movies and library TV series will be updated monthly as older content is replaced with new releases and other TV shows.