South African pay TV operator TopTV this week launched the country’s first pre-paid pay TV service. TopTV plans to use the service to appeal to subscribers outside the country’s main urban centres and lower income groups.The service officially launched in Soweto’s Maponya Mall on Wednesday. Subscribers can acquire vouchers valid for 30 days, choosing one of two options – a Variety pack at ZAR109 (€10.72) and an Ultimate pack at ZAR279, with the latter giving access to 62 channels.TopTV launched in April 2010, undercutting rival DStv’s premium offering and prompting the latter to launch a lower-cost service, DStv Lite.
Sales of flat-panel TVs were higher than expected in the first quarter of this year, rising significantly year-on-year, according to analysis by IHS Technology.The LCD TV market grew by 4% between January and March to 47.36 million units, and total flat-panel TV shipments grew by 3.3% to 49.36 million units.The market for the older plasma display technology screens fell by 16% to two million units over the same period.Samsung and LG were the top performers in the quarter, shipping 17 million units between them. According to IHS Technology, the South Koreans maintained year-on-year shipment growth higher than 10% for each of the three months in the first quarter, boosted by a decision to focus on LCD TVs and launch new, larger, full-HD models to replace older plasma screen devices.Japanese firms also performed strongly, according to the research, ahead of the introduction of a higher consumption tax, which may have an impact on domestic shipments in the second quarter, according to IHS Technology.Chinese shipments, on the other hand, fell year-on-year during the quarter, following the withdrawal of a subsidy for energy-efficient products in May 2013.IHS Technology said there were signs during the quarter of stronger demand for developed markets including western Europe and North America, possibly boosted by the introduction of new ultra-HD sets.
iPhone and iPad users can now access broadcasters from Twitter’s live video streaming service, Periscope, without leaving the Twitter app.Announcing the update, Periscope said that it is bringing its vision – to make it as easy as possible to watch and broadcast live video – directly into Twitter.“Since launch, there have been over 100 million broadcasts created on Periscope. Whenever a broadcast is shared on Twitter, you tap the link to open the Periscope app. Today, we’re replacing those links with the broadcast itself, autoplaying right within the Tweet,” said Periscope in a blog post.Users can now tap a broadcast to make it go full screen on their iOS device and see comments and likes from other viewers – without needing to have the Periscope app or a Periscope account.“For broadcasters, this means you can reach the massive Twitter audience. And for everyone on Twitter, there’s now a richer experience in your home timeline, search results, and on anyone’s profile who’s shared a Periscope,” said Periscope.The update will roll out in the coming days, with the same features due to be added to Twitter for Android and the web “as soon as they’re ready”.Periscope broadcasts now come alive within Twitter https://t.co/R346R1lgZb— Periscope (@periscopeco) January 12, 2016