Satellite TV without a monthly subscription launching soon in South Africa

I know, I couldn’t believe it either when I read the press release, but apparently it’s true.

Open View HD is a new satellite TV service that will be launching in October 2013 that will only cost you however much the dish, decoder and installation goes for. Once you’ve paid for that, there are no monthly costs beyond the electricity required to power everything, so you end up paying far less than the hundreds of rands charged by other providers every month for TV delivered by satellite.

“After conducting extensive research we are excited to launch over 10 new channels  that not only speak to South African viewers’ needs, but also addresses affordability of quality content,” says Maxwell Nonge, MD of Platco Digital, the company behind the Open View HD satellite TV service and sister company to South African independent broadcaster (Pty) Limited.

The blurb in the press release about Platco Digital says that it is “an independent distribution company offering digital carriage solutions on various platforms including direct to home (DTH) and DTT”, and that “its main objective is to help free TV broadcasters cost-effectively reach audiences.” Mission accomplished, then.

The channels Open View HD will be bringing to South African households consist of the following:

Entertainment Culture & Lifestyle Children & Education Religion
SABC 1 Zest TV eToons+ Spirit Word Channel
SABC 2 ASTV Mindset TV Inspiration TV
SABC 3 Deen TV Da Vinci Learning English Club

While there are no monthly costs (hooray!), not all of Open View HD’s channels will be in HD (boo!), and the HD technology being employed is not 1080p, it’s 720p according to a brief conversation I had with their PR people (sort of boo). Multichoice doesn’t do 1080p either so that’s not the worst news ever, I just wish someone would push the boundaries a bit.

In terms of which channels will be in HD and which won’t, I reached out to Open View HD’s PR representatives who weren’t able to provide me with that information by the time I needed to publish. They have promised to come back to me, though, so I will update this article with the information they provide when they do.

So in all, this is pretty good news for South Africans who want more variety than just SABC 1, 2, 3 and but who aren’t interested in paying a subscription fee for extra content. The actual quality of the additional content can’t be established at this point, but I suppose the theory goes even if it’s not exactly 5-star entertainment, there’s at least more entertainment on offer than there would be without Open View HD. So a step forward, then.

I look forward to seeing how this all works out.


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