SES, the leading global content connectivity solutions provider through its partnership with K-NET a leading provider of business-grade network solutions in Ghana and Multimedia Group Ltd, a premier broadcasting network in Ghana, launched the MultiTV platform in 2009.
This increased the availability of multi-channel television and radio reception nationwide. The SES Satellite Monitor results for year-end 2019, published in June 2020, showed that, out of the estimated 6.7 million TV homes in Ghana, 4.5 million were pointing to the SES 28.2 E satellite orbital position. It is therefore no surprise that the majority of homes that hitherto had no access to TV reception are now connected.
The content delivered via the channels on the MultiTV platform to homes is in standard definition quality (SD). However, with the advent of high definition (HD) and Ultra HD (UHD) television sets, the world is moving away from SD TV viewing and moving towards HD and UHD TV viewing. This is because TV in HD quality delivers a better experience with regards to picture and sound quality, improved detail and clarity.
Going into the technicalities: basically, the difference between SD, HD, or UHD formats is the number of pixels that comprise the video image. Pixels are the small dots that combine to “draw” the images you see on screen. The higher the resolution, the more pixels you have. And with more pixels, you get a sharper and more detailed picture.
- SD video files are smaller in size and take up less bandwidth than HD or UHD videos. On smaller screens like those old tube TVs or even smartphones, SD quality may be good enough at a resolution of 720 x 576 (576p).
- 720p and 1080p videos fall under HD quality. 720p (1280 x 720 pixels) is simply known as HD Ready (or sometimes semi-HD). 1080p (1920 x 1080 pixels) which is known as Full HD, is 5 times better than SD. Watching HD content on a television set that is at least 32 inches and 720p compatible is definitely worth it as you’ll get a significant bump in quality and level of detail that’s hard not to miss. Also, the bigger the TV and the closer your viewing position is, the more discernible the differences are, even when comparing 720p and 1080p resolution videos.
- UHD also known as 4K quality is the next format after HD. UHD or 4K (3860 x 2160 pixels) video is 4 times the quality of HD. 4K videos are extremely large and take up lots of bandwidth and this has been the greatest barrier faced by local free-to-air channels to broadcast in this format. It used to be a real luxury to get a 4K TV and the matching content to go with it. However, slowly but surely, with prices of 4K TV sets dropping and streaming services like Netflix, Vudu and Amazon offering more 4K content, adoption is inevitable.
In 2019, IPSOS, a marketing research company conducted a study in Ghana and found out that almost 50% of TV homes in Ghana had at least one HD-ready TV set. The results of this survey pointed to the fact that consumers are investing in technology to enhance their viewing experience but the free-to-air TV broadcasters in Ghana did not have that capability and capacity to meet the needs of such customers who were ready to pay for it.
This situation provides the needed justification for SES to launch the HD+ Service in Ghana to serve the over 2 million free to air TV homes who own HD TVs but are not able to enjoy their favourite shows in HD because of the limitation of being on an exclusive SD platform.
Against the many operational difficulties associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the HD+ Service went live on 16th December to deliver world class TV viewing experiences to satellite homes in Ghana.
Achievements over the past one year
- The arrival of HD+ changed the conversation within the cable TV market from content only to include the quality of pictures with all players in the market striving to deliver their key channels in HD and UHD picture quality.
- 40,000 homes have welcomed the HD+ Service so far because of the quality TV viewing that the service offers.
- HD+ commenced operations with 11 HD channels. Currently, 19 channels are available in HD with the latest being Aljazeera which is available in HD for the first time in Africa only on the HD+ platform.
- Delivering the first UHD 4K free to air channel in Ghana and broadcasting the Euro 2020 tournament for the first time on the African continent to HD+ integrated Samsung UHD and QLED TVs in partnership with Multimedia Group Ltd, Samsung, NAGRA and Silicon House Productions.
- The HD+ Service delivers features that allow most free-to-air homes the control and convenience needed to enjoy world class TV viewing experiences such as:
- Logical channel numbering (LCN) system to ensure channel number consistency and ease of selection
- 7 day electronic programming guide (EPG)
- Parental access control
- Pause and reverse live TV and recording upcoming shows also known as personal video recorder (PVR)
- The ability to extend your HD+ Decoder subscription to your phone via the My HD PLUS mobile App whiles enjoying free data from HD+ on your mobile or tablet
How to receive the HD+ Service:
- Via an HD+ Decoder – gives you HD picture viewing and all the SD channels on the MultiTV platform at no extra cost. The HD+ Decoder is available at any MultiTV Dealer outlet, Electroland outlet nationwide or online via the Jumia e-commerce platform
- Via a compatible Samsung UHD / QLED TV with the My HD PLUS Operator App installed on it – gives you HD picture viewing as well as the first UHD 4K channel in Ghana. You don’t need a decoder if you have an integrated TV and all the SD channels on the MultiTV platform are added at no extra cost
- Via your phone or tablet as an extension of your HD+ Decoder subscription by downloading MY HD PLUS App via the Google Play Store for Android users or App Store for Apple users. This comes with free data every month.
The future for quality picture viewing in Ghana is very bright and HD+ is well positioned as the country’s leading premium high-definition satellite broadcast service provider that provides satellite homes with quality and affordable entertainment options.
About SES HD PLUS
SES HD PLUS Ghana Limited is a subsidiary of SES, the leading global content connectivity solutions provider. SES HD PLUS Ghana was founded in December 2020 and promises to provide satellite homes with quality and affordable entertainment options by leveraging SES’s experience of delivering satellite TV channels directly to home (DTH) and its success of rolling out the HD+ subscription-based platform in Germany.
The HD+ Product, offers up to 20 popular channels in high-definition quality (HD and Ultra HD 4K) in addition to over 100 free-to-air SD channels via the MultiTV satellite platform in Ghana. HD+ can be accessed either on the HD+ Decoder available for purchase at MultiTV Dealer outlets and Electroland stores nationwide or via the My HD PLUS App downloaded on QLED or UHD TV sets from Samsung.
SES HD PLUS Ghana is collaborating with Adom TV, Joy Prime, GTV, GTV Sports+, UTV, Joy News, GhOne, Metro TV, TVXYZ, Citi TV, Angel TV, OneHD, BID TV, 4Syte, Kool TV, GNTV Junior, e.TV Ghana and Aljazeera to deliver their content in high-definition quality. There are four subscription packages available: GHS7 for a week, GHS25 for a month, GHS60 for three months and an annual package that costs GHS210. HD+ is open to all broadcasters and looks forward to partnering with additional broadcasters who want to deliver their content in high-definition quality. Visit www.hd-plus.com.gh for further information.