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Does OpenView HD really have the capacity to block Zim decoders?

Ever since we heard that OpenView was planning on blocking those of their decoders that are being used outside South Africa a lot of Zimbos who rely on this platform for entertainment have been on edge. Most are worried that they will just wake up one day to a black screen. This has led to a lot of normal decoder issues being mistaken for the block.

Waiting for the other shoe to drop

Most people cannot stomach the content that our sole broadcaster and solitary TV channel pushes out. Those that can afford it have always found comfort in the arms of DStv. Those who cannot use to have Wiztech and Philibao Free To Air decoders. Then eTV, the people behind OpenView Decoders, flipped the switch. They encrypted their signal, SABC followed suit and overnight turned those Wiztechs and Philibaos into glorified paperweights.

That was a traumatic period that left a mark on people’s psyche and sort of explains the latest jitters. Add the Kwese fiasco to the list and you start to understand people’s fears and speculations. Nowadays every OpenView HD decoder error is being posted on social media with people fearing the worst. Below is one such error.

I wondered how they would block Openview decorders not in South Africa…. Looks like will just do software upgrade and push people to get newer ones with different activation protocols…

The speculative Tweet that accompanied the message

These are just normal everyday errors

I can see why people are always assuming the worst when they see such errors. The truth is that there is nothing amiss here. Occasionally OpenView HD decoders are phased out. This is despite the promise that you only need to buy the decoder once and use it forever. Even Multichoice occasionally phases out decoders.

A quick Google search will reveal that even South Africans are experiencing the same issues. So it cannot be something that’s targeted at Zimbabweans. These are normal everyday errors that people run into.

OpenView just toeing the line

A few weeks ago this is what OpenView had to say about the issue:

Currently Openview has a license to only operate in South Africa. Meaning, we are not authorized to extend our service outside the borders of the Republic of South Africa. We are hoping to expand to other African countries at a later stage, but at this point we are more focused on growing our South African Viewership. For now we have taken a decision to block decoders being used outside our legal jurisdiction.

They clearly say they intend to block decoders. The truth though is I don’t see how. It’s the same with DStv South African accounts being used in Zimbabwe. It’s not something that is easy to detect and prevent. There is no way OpenView can tell that a decoder is located in Zimbabwe unless if the decoder has:

  • A GPS device installed inside it
  • Is connected to the internet or has a way to phone home

As far as I can OpenView decoders have none of these features. Adding them would simply phasing out the current models in the market and will also probably make the decoders more expensive. That’s an awful lot of trouble to go just to stop a few Zimbos from watching your channels.

OpenView is probably just toeing the legal line here. Playing to the gallery.


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28 thoughts on “Does OpenView HD really have the capacity to block Zim decoders?

  1. Hanzi people assuming the worst, did you yourselves not post a fake news story saying they are gonna block, but now it was “people assuming” imika

      1. Thanks a lot for the update. We thought OPVHD was now going to be blocked for us and we were about to buy DSTV

  2. “…..Ever since we heard rumours that OpenView was planning on blocking those of their decoders that are being used outside South Africa a lot of Zimbos who rely on this platform for entertainment………” Saka makaita zvekunzwa makuhwa not official position from Openview?..Truly, Techzim content has now gone to the dogs.

  3. just to further speculate…. might they be slowly phasing out old decoders to make room for those which allow them more services which might also include geolocation and internet access services.. it might not happen overnight, as you cited for Multichoice, the was a time they phased out a range of their earlier models which also about when they (re)encrypted their signal which made it inaccessible to certain Wiztech HD Series which had still been able to enjoy access to multichoice HD channels for free I know this because I clicked the upgrade broadcast notification message on our very old model Multichoice decoder and it stopped working, took it to Multichoice offices and they told me the decoder could no longer handle the new broadcast protocols, it could only access the FTA channels but not the Multichoice suite of services.. and when I seriously went looking for the Wiztech HD they had coincidentally also lost their edge and only had FTA channels and that was pretty much that..

    With current OpenView architecture it would be impossible to block decoders but they can send an OTA update which can ask people to dial *120*6843* and confirm their serial numbers for (re)activation and of course we will find a contact with a South African line to do just that..
    Unless of course you have the newest version of their decoder connected to the Openview connect dongle (which only uses SA RICAd simcards so it doesnt work here anyway)

    1. My Zim Reg Dstv Explorer was also playing up 2 weeks ago. They did have a system problem is Sa. It has nothing to do with you having a Sa account. I think a lot of experienced people have left Dstv recently & has left them lost with new people who still have to find there way.

  4. I have been feeling anxious lately coz my S.A registered DSTV decorder has been hanging so bad lately. Coincidentally it started soon after this OpenView “saga”. I hope DSTV wont push a “devastating” update anytime soon!

  5. It honestly doesn’t make sense that they are even considering this. Not only are they making extra add revenue and decoder sales, but they are doing it without even paying for a license hence free of charge. All this is doing for them is making money so it would just be wiser if they keep quiet and pretend they don’t know what is going on

  6. Yep. I doubt that its an issue of whether OpenView have capacity to disable service to all outside SA decoders. I think its a question of IF they are willing to chop off that extra revenue…and really gain nothing from the exercise, which comes at a cost!!

  7. The article does little to address the question posed in the title. Satellite transmissions are directional signals, which doesn’t make it impossible to exclude a region.

  8. Like they said “we are legally licensed to operate in South Africa” so it’s a legal issue that Open View is facing one which in my opinion competitors like Multichoice may as well be provoking as this not only ties a noose around hundreds of thousands of potential customers in SA but also in the whole Southern region. I Have always hesitated to buy open view largely because of the fears alluded to in the article but now I’m almost certain that i never will. My suggestion is if your pocket and resources permit then move to or stick to Dstv or Netflix. At least you are assured hauzomuka tv yako iine black screen. Lol

  9. Cutting out decoders outside South Africa is as easy like cutting margarine with a hot knife. It’s a decision to or not to, not how? To understand this you need to know the basics of satellite broadcasting. From uplink to downlink of data. Open view can even decrypt all their channels and still make them unreceivable beyond SA borders not under DTT but via satellite as it is. All it takes is the control of the downlink beam. By the way it is an Electro-magnetic light that comes down to you dish antenna at home. Currently all Sub Sahara is covered by the transponder (11170 V 28750) which is carrying Openview channels because it’s on wide beam. With the use is Spot beams this will be over with just a click. How do Spot beams work in modern day broadcasting? Broadcasters beam their content specifically to a chosen geo location rendering even those in the fringes to find it impossible or hard to nail the signal.

  10. I think they have always been aware of this and have no intention of cutting off the signal very soon because if you use open view you will see they have a program called dance Africa dance in which they are inviting participants from countries like SA, Zimbabwe etc which they really know people are using their decoders. It’s like a promotional thing to give back to the community which is supporting them.

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