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OpenView HD emerges as another popular but illegal TV alternative for Zimbabweans

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FTA decoders, OpenView HD, DStv Alternatives, ZBC alternatives

MultiChoice Zimbabwe faces a tough battle in convincing Zimbabweans who are accessing DStv South Africa to give up the service.

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This much was very obvious following its recent announcement that it will be taking legal action against bogus DStv agents and Zimbabweans subscribing to the South African service.

There was a flood of comments criticizing the move and the general sentiment that’s been expressed is that any alternative which is cheaper and offers a wider variety of content will be embraced, even if it violates any broadcast laws.

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It’s this reasoning that given rise to the popularity of another TV alternative in Zimbabwe, OpenView HD.

This is a service which is operated by Platco Digital, a sister company to South Africa’s e-TV and a subsidiary of e-Holdings. OpenView HD is its free to air satellite TV service that provides over 20 channels which include SABC and e-TV. 

Since its launch in 2013, the service has attracted over 350,000 active users and part of that haul are locally domiciled Zimbabweans who are using the service which is meant for the South African market.

Just as is the case with DStv South Africa, the process of activating an OpenView HD decoder is fairly simple. The decoder (which works with any standard satellite connection) retails for 399 Rand (US$27.50) in South Africa and a purchase needs to be followed up with an activation using South African details.

Getting the service locally will set you back at least $45 for the decoder plus an additional $20 for installation, which will cover the setup process in South Africa.

Thanks to the easy setup option and all the benefits that it provides subscribers who are keen on signing up for an affordable yet diverse entertainment option (low-cost setup, 20+ diverse channels, no subscriptions required), OpenView HD has become a widely promoted alternative from satellite TV service providers in Zimbabwe.

Other than the standard satellite TV shops located in most urban areas, there are also some providers who have listed their OpenView HD services online through platforms like classifieds.co.zw, zimadverts.co.zw and even on Facebook.

Easy and popular, but still illegal

OpenView HD’s case is very familiar to the DStv South Africa issue. There is a huge demand for a decent service and this has created room for enterprising Zimbabweans on either side of Limpopo to provide it and make some money in the process, creating a sub-industry in entertainment services.

Despite this emergence of a well-maintained network of OpenView HD services locally, the service is still illegal. OpenView HD subscribers and agents violate the same regulations that prohibit the broadcast of content meant for South African audiences outside the primary territory.

However, it’s hard for Zimbabweans who use the service to see this as a legal violation. They are, after all, paying to access the service and are still exposed to Zimbabwean regulatory requirements for the payment of TV licences.

To top it all off, they are somewhat safe from any form of prosecution since it would be a logistical nightmare for OpenView HD to follow up on all decoder sales to ensure that they were made to South Africans.

This means that this alternative will continue to thrive as long as scores of Zimbabweans feel the need to migrate to find an alternative to local tv.

The only way this can be stopped is if a tougher application of regulations on satellite services is applied in South Africa and Zimbabwe, which would help MultiChoice as well as another affected party, ZBC.

Or better yet, local TV could just improve or MultiChoice could also lower the price of its bouquets, both of which seem difficult to imagine at this point.


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15 thoughts on “OpenView HD emerges as another popular but illegal TV alternative for Zimbabweans

  1. So people have been keeping quiet and also not telling me about Open View HD. I want it too, I hope the ” HD ” stands for “high definition”?

  2. The lack of availability of a service in your country doesn’t make it illegal. The terms of usage of Openview do not forbid usage of a decoder outside SA.

      1. They cannot sell decoders outside of SA. But, where is the illegality of me buying a decoder in SA and using it in Zimbabwe, whose laws have been broken and how? I read the FAQ too.

  3. “Getting the service locally will set you back at least $45 for the decoder plus an additional $20 for installation, which will cover the setup process in South Africa.”

    I don’t know that that line is all about – what SET UP PROCESS??? What $20? Did you just ask one tsotsi dealer who told you that?

    “…a purchase needs to be followed up with an activation using South African details.”

    …..utter BS there. There are no “details!” You buy the decoder over the counter for cash – at no point does anybody even ask for your name. The only detail that ever comes into play is the decoder serial number when you are activating it using their USSD menu. CHETE!

    “Since its launch in 2013 the service has attracted over 350,000 active users and part of that haul are locally domiciled Zimbabweans who are using the service which is meant for the South African market.”

    …well actually there was an advert running mainly on the E-TV affiliated channels for a product called Celltone. It’s a popular skincare range in SA. The ad end with the statement “NOW ALSO AVAILABLE IN ZIMBABWE” and sure enough Celltone recently got some official distributors in Zim. So they CLEARLY know that Zimbos are watching – and are fully ready to exploit that and tailor adverts for this market. Meant only for South African eyes??? Maybe not so much!

    Seems like you are trying to lay out EVERY SINGLE complication or potential complication and make the whole thing seem more elaborate and difficult than it is. Most people will but it for $45 to $55 ALREADY ACTIVATED and then take it home and swap out their DSTV or Wiztech decoder – and THAT’S IT – DONE!

    1. Allaz thanks for that information on how the “setup process” actually works. Like you put it, we only shared the information that was available from local distributors of OpenView decoders. It is very simple but that doesn’t mean that these distributors won’t charge you any less.
      While the adverts that you mentioned might be aimed at communicating a product’s availability in Zimbabwe, that isn’t any indicator whatsover that OpenView is now officially available in Zimbabwe. In terms of licencing it is not yet authorised to offer its service in ZImbabwe, no matter how easy it is to set up a decoder here or how simple the purchase of its decoders is in South Africa. OpenView has been clear about how it is not licenced to operate outside South Africa.
      http://www.openviewhd.co.za/FAQ
      When the service does open up to the rest of the region I’m sure you’ll find official OpenView agents selling the decoder in Zimbabwe with a setup process that uses a USSD registration on a Zimbabwean network.

  4. ANYTHING has to be better than the overpriced mix of garbage that DSTV delivers. In the US legal moves are afoot that will require providers to allow people to formulate their own subscription choices without having to accept so-called bouquets. Actually there is a 4-letter word that better describes most DSTV bouquets. Hopefully SA will adopt similar regulations.

  5. Open View thats the way to go. You pay once and you have your SABCs, eTV, eNolly, Beatlab Music, Cartoons, etc 24/7 for free including the Indian Soapies on Glow TV

  6. There is nothing illegal in receiving Open View in ZIM as the service has absolutely no legal claim beyondf the borders of South Africa. You can absolutely install the service and Set Top box and watch the channels as there are no legal means to block it . All the rest is just INTIMIDATION> Just IGNORE IT!

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