Satellite pay-TV operator loses TLC channel

2013-12-20 14:00
Thinus Ferreira
Cape Town – StarSat is losing the TLC channel permanently amidst major technical transmission switch-over drama which saw all the TV channels on StarSat go black on Thursday afternoon leaving StarSat subscribers stunned.

Only a handful of channels came back later, but StarSat is losing the TLC channel permanently which was supplied by Discovery Networks International.

After brand name damage the past two years, On Digital Media (OMD) and China’s StarTimes just relaunched the struggling TopTV under the new StarSat name with a controversial, add-on porn bouquet. Now the “new” satellite pay-TV operator is however losing its first channel under the rebranded service.

On Thursday afternoon all StarSat channels simply went dead leaving subscribers baffled. A handful of channels returned eventually but technical problems persist with a lot of subscribers unsure of why they’re not getting certain channel’s they’ve paid for.

According to StarSat insiders the switch-over of the uplinking of channels from Germany to elsewhere didn’t go smoothly yesterday when the process was started when StarSat switched its broadcasting system from 12:00 on Thursday to a new service provider. StarSat expected “short interruptions” in transmission, but didn’t anticipate the unexpected black-out of the channel line-up which came as a surprise to even the Woodmead based operation.

“Yesterday a technical migration exercise where channels were being moved from one uplink site in Europe to another affected programming and created various blackouts,” says StarSat in response to a media enquiry.

“The TLC channel link was lost during this process. ODM will take every measure to ensure that such technical errors are not repeated in future.”

TLC dropped

StarSat told Channel24 on Friday that the South African pay-TV operator was informed some time ago by DNI that it will no longer make TLC available to the company due to exclusivity agreements with MultiChoice.

MultiChoice now runs the enhanced version of the channel, TLC Entertainment – a different channel feed from TLC on DStv. TLC Entertainment with programming blocks of Oprah Winfrey and her Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) was launched in October, exclusively for MultiChoice’s DStv.

The dropping of TLC raised questions about the future of, and whether, Investigation Discovery (ID) which is also available on MultiChoice’s DStv, as well as the Discovery Science channel which is only available so far on StarSat, will remain on the platform.

“The TLC lifestyle and entertainment channel will be discontinued on Tuesday 31 December,” says StarSat. “This is a result of a decision by the channel’s owners to enter into an exclusivity arrangement with the competitor,” said StarSat.

"TLC will no longer be available on StarSat from 31 December, however StarSat subscribers will continue to receive Investigation Discovery and Discovery Science, featuring the best in suspense, entertaining and informative programming to satisfy curiosity," said Lee Hobbs, the channel director for emerging business for Discovery Networks CEEMEA in answer to a media enquiry.


  • Michael Jacobus Brewis - 2013-12-21 11:08


  • Margie Wilson - 2013-12-21 16:10

    The service from Starsat is disgusting. They do not respond to telephone calls, sms's, emails, comments on their website or by any other means. We have now been without a proper service for 48 hours and nothing has been done to rectify matters, nor have the even informed us of what is going on. We have learnt via the website that they are having a six hour party today to thank the staff for their "hard work". This was supposed to end at 12 or 13h00, but still no service. What does one do? We are an a debit order and stuck with this worthless piece of garbage. The "new and improved" channels that they are now offering are absolutely awful and we are left with nothing worthwhile. Surely this service should be stopped altogether?

  • Khanyisile Westy Mtethwa - 2013-12-21 20:39

    well they didn't take off TLC Channel only! all my channels are blocked without any valid reason to why am not able to watch other channels!!

  • Mukasa Ric - 2013-12-21 21:07

    dstv,chanl 24,tlc go to hell

  • Barbara Brummage-Joubert - 2013-12-25 16:54

    The new "Starsat" is very disappointing. Firstly they have programmes which I cannot watch as they are foreign. I don't understand CHINEES,INDIAN and AFRICAN languages. The "DUBED" programmes are also not making sence. I am a single lady and when I come home from work or spend the weekend at home, I scan through all the channels trying to find something worth while to watch. All my favourite channels are no longer available. For example TLC. Starsat has blocked so many channels. What am I paying for. There are so many adverts about different channels but where are they. The channels that are on offer are not up to standard. We are paying for this service,so please infuture when you advertise any channels, let us, your customers, give our opinions first before you change or delete channels. I am going to see what I am in for in the New Year and if I don't LIKE what I see then I am really going to consider changing to another user. It may cost me more but it's the only option I will have.

  • Michael du Plessis - 2013-12-26 18:59

    I have made a decision to terminated Star Sat at the end of January 2014. Blocked channels , funny squeaky sounds coming from the decoder , jumbled images , mixed up channels with incorrect times and program titles . What a total mess . We are applying for DSTV when business reopen in January . Three quarters of the programming is, Bollywood or Chinese tv or Nigerian tv limiting us to what we want to see as as so many other channels are blocked . Then there are the reruns . Over and over magazine of the same programs . Thanks but no thanks !

  • Tienie Wilken Dearham - 2013-12-26 22:25

    We should pay nothing this month as far as I'm concern. Going from 80 channels the beginning of December with old decoder and got the new decoder to about 10 channels left to watch. Mmmmmmm. What do you all say about this?

  • Titus Decasan - 2013-12-27 06:59

    read this on Starsat by Facebook users... Marc G This is a case study on how NOT to run a satellite company: "upgrade" without notice. Cancel popular channels. Broadcast in languages your viewers don't understand. Take the day off when your customers need answers. Broadcast with low quality signals. Go off the air for days. Sell your decoders in a way that is difficult to obtain. Hire incompetent management. This is fascinating stuff. Crash and burn. John B...... Yes-it's the over promise & under deliver concept! They say you can sell anything once but the problem for Starsat is that they need you to pay every month. January is going to be very interesting! Nothing to add except nothing has changed since last Thursday 20.12

  • Mariaam Choonie - 2013-12-30 23:18

    I don't think I would ever want it on again its so boring and I hate the new channel's they should b uprgrading not downgrading

  • Voilet Kleynhans - 2014-01-06 15:11

    I'm really unhappy about this there are more African channels on now I'm gonna switch to Dstv there is allot of us that is changing to Dstv

  • Bianca Stockhall - 2014-01-13 21:35

    i totally agree, what a waste of time and money, false advertising, empty promises and terrible service, i was told over and over the TLC channel will be visible after midnight once the technical error was sorted, bunch of liars, terrible channels on that you cant even understand, the best ones removed???? no wonder majority of people are on DSTV, thats where i will be heading from this month.

  • Carol Anne Collett - 2014-03-08 12:57

    TLC don't have many xhows worth watching ! LOSE ALL Oprah shows, Honey Boo, ALL Buddy cake "boss",Candy Queen, Soul Food, sex hospital, sex sent me to hospital, Body shock show, Crazy Obsession - need anymore hints that your channel is one of the WORST on our Digital link-up ??????????????????????

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