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Foreigners fuming over loss of SABC

2013-07-04 11:00
Cape Town – Fuming Africans demanding "their" SABC back are clamouring at backstreet illegal technicians to "fix" their Chinese decoders and are paying up to $40 (about R400) to have their viewing pleasure restored.

Meanwhile DStv decoder sales are skyrocketing following the encryption of the SABC and e.tv's signals outside of South Africa's borders.

On Monday the South African parastatal signal distributor, Sentech, following protracted legal wrangling, finally encrypted the broadcasting signals of SABC1, SABC2, SABC3 and e.tv.

That left millions of viewers from Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi, Madagascar, Angola and Zimbabwe with blue boxes on their TV screens and messages saying the channels are encrypted on their cheap Chinese decoders such as Philibao, Wiztech and Fortec Star.

Millions of viewers outside South Africa have for years illegally watched South African broadcasters’ programming and soaked up the aspirational faux glam entertainment, news and the foreign yet extremely popular soaps such as Generations, 7de Laan, Isidingo, Muvhango and Rhythm City.

DStv sales have skyrocketed

DStv decoder sales have skyrocketed as African viewers simply refuse to watch their local state and public broadcasters whose programming and production values, according to viewers, pale in comparison to what they get to see from South Africa.

MultiChoice has been inundated by enquiries from viewers who are left disappointed to hear that the SABC's channels are not available on DStv in these countries although the pay-TV operator does provide better TV fare than what's available on free-to-air.

Meanwhile shops are left with worthless imported decoders after signals were scrambled on Monday.

Backroom technicians taking advantage

Over the past two days street corner posters have been popping up with backroom technicians promising they can "fix" decoders and bring the SABC and e.tv back – but for a price.

People are told to bring their decoders and anything from $25 to $40 as technicians claim that they will "reconnect the SABC".

African viewers, suffering severe withdrawal symptoms from not being able to watch their favourite South African soaps, are now flocking to those who illegally attempt to circumvent the new signal encryption protocols Sentech implemented.

Zimbabwe welcomes encryption

In Zimbabwe, for instance, there's an estimated three million satellite TV dishes - but roughly 2.4 million of those households used it to receive free-to-air transmissions such as the channels from the SABC and e.tv. Here the local state broadcaster Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) welcomed the encryption.

The ZBC said Sentech is finally complying with international laws not to beam pirated programming into other countries. The ZBC said that Zimbabweans are quick to look down on their own programmes, while indulging in South African soaps like Muvhango.

Read more on:    dstv  |  multichoice  |  etv  |  sabc  |  generations  |  7de laan  |  isidingo  |  tv  |  muvhango

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