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Satellite TV: South Africa finally encrypts SABC channels

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satellite-dishLocal TV sucks. Well, ok, that’s too general. But those satellite dishes stuck to walls , housetops and trees even in the lowest income neighbourhoods suggest people are hungry for other content. Maybe it’s in addition to what’s served by the local TV overlords. Who knows?

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Anyway, whatever relief people were getting viewing foreign content on free to air decoders, the viewing experience has been badly compromised as South African TV signal carrier, Sentech, has pulled the SABC channels.

If you are one of those millions of people (about three million it’s said) you will know that the SABC channels are the most watched locally. Mostly for the soaps (Isidingo, Generations, Muvhango etc…) and maybe news as well. Frankly, the quality of South African TV is just way better than local; picture quality, programming and all.

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Even though the move by Sentech seems sudden, the truth is it was known this was going to happen eventually. SABC was ordered last year to encrypt its channels so they could only be viewed in South Africa. eTV approached the Johannesburg High Court in 2011 to have the SABC signals encrypted as the open channels were giving rise signal piracy which was eating into their viewership and revenues in Botswana.

The encryption of the channels will also affect viewers in other countries in the region like Malawi, Mozambique, Madagascar, and Angola

This will have Multichoice smiling all the way to the bank. Literally. With SABC gone, the only realistic alternative, for those that can afford it at least, will be DSTV. Otherwise it’s back to the the countries’ broadcasting monopolies.


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42 thoughts on “Satellite TV: South Africa finally encrypts SABC channels

  1. Im telling yu ZBC is awfully terrible. Movie pirators will now cash in big time. Im selling Genarations $2 for a week’s omnibus…

  2. Has anyone heard or knows anything about GoTv and any upgrades happening at dZdBC

  3. Gimme me $150 and I buy you an SA decorder with 12 months Easyview…. which gives you the following channels:

    FAMILY – sabc , sabc 2, sabc 3, eTV, Soweto TV,

    SPORT – super sport blitz,

    KIDS – mindset,

    RELIGION – TBN, Rhema, iTV,

    NEWS – Al-Jazeera, CCTV-9, Weather24, Parliament

    1. Wow…when you’re used to Premium that Easyview package just looks sad…but its still a million times better than ZTV.

    2. You mean if l buy this decoder l can be able to watch all these channels and how much is this decoder pls tell me

  4. With the numbers increasing on Dstv due to a potential migration, maybe they will consider us and bring SS3,

    1. They won’t bring SS3 to your bouquet the idea is for you to go to the bouquet where SS3 is.

      1. Kikikiki, product comparability is awful currently with neighbours SA, so just hoping sanity will lead them to also bring SS3 on compact. (dreams)

  5. i almost thought you were about to swim into the waters of politics there, please be careful and leave it at a technical analysis only we would most appreciate it.

  6. Well, that pirating of stations has helped them(SA companies) a great deal. Zimbabweans, having a high volume of private consumers of SA products, were good eyes for SABC adverts. They are actually a buying viewership unlike other countries.

    So in terms of advertising reach, that loss in viewership certainly has an indirect impact.

    Its a pity the impact of Zimbabwean-originating trade of consumer goods with SA is not measured. I am almost certain that, if it were to stop, there would be a measurable difference in SA revenues.

    ZBC was killed

  7. I think SABC should consider the idea of pay per view like what Dstv is doing , definitely they wouldn’t charge more than R100 for us to view their channels and i tell you with the number of decoders in Zim , they will make a killing

    1. Except that the decoders are largely generic free-to-air types not tied to SABC.

      Anyways, those dishes can be turned to face other directions for other content. It will certainly be goodbye Generations etc…

    2. As a state Broadcaster I doubt that they can do that. They can instead just sell their programs to other African countries so that the TV industry can be lucrative for African actors and producers

  8. For $9 per month. No satellite dish required —> Africa Magic, Africa Magic Movies, Africa Magic World, BET, Blackbelt, E!, Etv Africa, Mnet Movies Zone, Sony, Sony Max, Ztv, SS Select, SS Blitz, SS 2 Select, Disney Junior, Kids Co, Nickelodeon, Style, Discovery World, Nat Geo Wild, Al Jazeera, CNN, eNCA, Islam, TBN, Channel O, Mtv Base, One Gospel http://zimbabwe.gotvafrica.com/Channels/

      1. Mr Mberi,when you get home today, you should be having an alternative to these lost channels otherwise urinyama iwe (from kids especially)

        1. lol atori ma1 chaiwo but I’m hoping for an option that supports local industry and content as much as possible. Through the years, SABC has led to a lot of ignorance and apathy towards the goings on in our own country to the extent that some even celebrated South African special holidays.

    1. I personally believe Go TV is a long scam…it may be “cheap” now but remember it is a product of Multichoice..so every year expect “anual price increases” without an justification. So in 5 years dont be surprised if that $9 bouquet is $40 even!

      1. The rumor I’d like to confirm is the GoTv version that works on UHF which I believe is interesting because it means no satellite dish.

  9. Some were already capitalizing on Facebook. Business should be booming by end of week, when reality finally sets in.

  10. DSTV has launched a new bouquet DSTV Extra with the following extra channels that are not offered as part of the Compact Bouquet:

    -BBC Entertainment
    -Comedy Central
    -E! Entertainment
    -kykNET
    -Africa Magic Movies 1
    -FOX SD
    -Crime & Investigation Network
    -Travel Channel
    -The History Channel
    -TRACE Sports
    -Nickelodeon
    -Cbeebies
    -VH1 Classic
    -Sky News

    http://selfservice.dstv.com/self-service/packages/dstv-extra/

      1. At the moment yes, I ended up having to explain what DSTV extra is to the Multichoice attendant because apparently they haven’t been told about it yet. Imagine that!

  11. You just have to wait. Obviouly a loop hole will arise which will see people seeing SABC channels again. South Africans have to receive a signal which will have to be decrypted. Other nationals will just follow suit

  12. this means DSTV yapinda ska i have to throw my Wiz mubin cos iiiiiiiiiii maone

  13. I pay $100 to telecel or econet bundles to watch tv & epl soccer on my xbox or phone . & $10 investment to jack sparow for movies.What is Dstv & wisetech?

  14. That s why am trying to get sabc decoder so that l can be able to watch free channels

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