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DStv subscribers who live in blocks of flats or residential complexes – and don’t have their own satellite dishes – could find themselves without access to all MultiChoice’s much-hyped new offerings when it switches over to its new satellite on October 1.
MultiChoice’s migration to the new IS20 satellite will allow the pay TV operator to increase its high-definition offerings by seven channels to 14 – including five movie channels – and add six new standard definition channels.
Those who aren’t paying attention to MultiChoice’s announcements in the coming weeks will wake up to an unfamiliar DStv landscape on Monday, October 1, because the channels will be grouped into themes, such as films, and many will have new channel numbers.
But for those who live in what MultiChoice terms “multi-unit dwellings” – blocks of flats or residential complexes which have a single-cable distribution system – the frustration factor could be far higher: they could be cut off from all the new content from October 1.
Most single-cable distribution systems lacked the capacity for the new satellite’s increased offerings, said MultiChoice’s chief technology officer Gerdus van Eeden.
“Unless the body corporates with single-cable systems get an installer in to expand the capacity of their system by October 1, the occupants are going to lose out,” he said.
MultiChoice had for some time advised technicians not to install single-cable distribution systems in residential blocks for this reason, Van Eeden said.
“We strongly recommend five-cable systems that don’t require [continual] upgrading when new channels and services are offered.
“Despite this, some installers have imported the single-cable systems and actively marketed them to complexes and blocks which don’t know any better.”
MultiChoice has got in touch with installers and written to “all body corporates listed on the system” to ensure they are informed of the changes required to receive the new channels and services.
The cost of this upgrading – which no doubt will be passed on to affected unit owners as a levy – should cost only
“a few thousand rand” for each complex, depending on the type of system now in place, Van Eeden said.
“And the installers won’t have to gain access to individual units.”
If you live in a “multi-unit” building, ask the body corporate about the MultiChoice system and whether it has the capacity for the new offerings, or you could find yourself out in the cold, come October 1.