OpenView HD from Patco Digital is set to launch on 15 October in South Africa as what is known as a direct-to-home (DTH) satellite TV service with viewers who will get free monthly access to 16 TV channels after paying once for the decoder and installation. by Thinus Ferreira
e.tv, which can't wait any longer for South Africa's long delayed transition to digital terrestrial television (DTT) due to a lack of leadership from the government over the past few years and industry hold ups, will roll out the first of its own free collection of TV channels meant for DTT on OpenView HD.
As South Africa's TV environment keeps fragmenting due to the ongoing addition of more and more TV channels – mostly from MultiChoice's DStv – which keeps splitting the available viewership and the available TV advertising income pie, e.tv will now launch its own eKasi+, eToonz+, eMovies+ and eAfrica+ channels on OpenView HD.
Besides the new e.tv channels on OpenView HD, the platform will also include SABC1, SABC2, SABC3, and will broadcast the e.tv channel in high definition (HD).
Other channels on OpenView HD include the Afrikaans channel ASTV and the Muslim channel Deen TV which have been available only on TopTV's platform until now, as well as Zest TV a new English language Bollywood channel.
Mindset Learning and Da Vinci Learning are educational channels. English Club is a TV channel devoted to English language learning. Spirit World Ministries, as a Christian TV channel, and Inspiration TV are both faith-based TV channels.
Maxwell Nonge, the managing director of Patco Digital says OpenView HD and the free TV channels the platform will launch will "addresses the affordability of quality content".
OpenView HD equipment in the form of a satellite dish and a decoder will go on sale from 15 October for R1 600 although the price will differ between various retailers. After installation satellite viewers will get access to the TV channels for free without a monthly subscription fee and Platco Digital says the number of TV channels will grow over time.
TopTV executives and e.tv management have had discussions about the addition of e.tv's new eKasi+, eToonz+, eAfrica+ and eMovies+ on TopTV platform but no decisions have so far been made. It's unclear whether MultiChoice is considering adding the new e.tv channels to DStv.
The SABC is meanwhile also set to launch a further collection of its own TV channels as part of DTT such as SABC Sport, similar to the recently launched SABC News which is only available on DStv but will be made freely available once DTT starts.
M-Net will likewise launch its own new collection of M-Net TV channels once it's able to start selling DTT decoders instead of the current obsolete analogue M-Net decoders.
Sentech will soon rebrand its existing Vivid DTH satellite platform in South Africa to FreeVision and plans to offer a similar service to OpenView HD with an assortment of free-to-air TV channels such as those from the SABC.