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Tuluntulu has recently released an app available for iOS and Android that gives mobile users access to online video. Ranging from international news to African documentaries, the app delivers ten 24/7 channels including Al Jazeera, ANN7, AfriDocs and Fleur TV. Apart from the content, what’s meant to be Tuluntulu’s hook is the fact that the content is cheap, fast and easy to access.
The app is available for free and Tuluntulu hopes that content creators as well as advertisers will jump on board in order to reach a potential audience of millions of people across the African continent.
The company argues that most popular platforms such as YouTube are designed for the developed world and thus focus on streaming high quality content, regardless of the type of network access.
Tuluntulu overcomes this problem in a number of ways. The technology is rate-adaptive, which means that the rate at which the video streams to a phone adapts to the available bandwidth (which can be as low as 50 kbps). The technology automatically adjusts picture quality to ensure that video does not have to buffer or break.
Users can increase video quality with a simple volume-like button, controlling their data costs themselves. Watching video content can cost as little as R5 per hour depending on the data service provider’s rates.
Tuluntulu works on everything from Edge, an early generation mobile phone protocol, prevalent in most of Africa. This gives often-neglected rural users access to the platform, and opens up significant opportunities for educators and entertainers to expand their reach across the continent.
The technology platform, Adaptive Real-time Internet Streaming Technology (ARTIST), has been in development by South African researchers and engineers for over six years. Tuluntulu CEO Pierre van der Hoven shares his excitement for the project’s future:
“My real excitement is that this technology will unlock video streaming as an industry in Africa. No licences or new transmitter networks are required, opening the industry up to new players. Of the launch channels, only two are established broadcast TV channels. The rest are new players in the market who would not have had a chance on conventional television platforms. Tuluntulu will open the way for new voices, new content and new business models. The reach offered by this medium can also have a quick and significant impact in areas such as education.”