Second FOX Crime blackout hits StarSat

2014-04-05 09:00
Cape Town – The FOX Crime (StarSat 131) TV channel on On Digital Media's (ODM) StarSat pay-TV platform in South Africa on Wednesday evening went dark again for a second time without warning, notice or any explanation to viewers as to what happened.

StarSat, like MultiChoice’s DStv, demand an upfront payment for a month’s pay-TV access and viewing but subscribers are not given a refund or compensation for interrupted TV channels, TV channels they can’t see, or other technical interruptions resulting in non-service.

The FOX Crime blackout on StarSat on Wednesday and Thursday came less than half a month after a FOX Crime blackout on StarSat in mid-March. FOX Crime which continued uninterrupted on DStv, was restored later on Thursday on StarSat.

ODM has so far not given a reason for the second interruption of the channel in less than a month. In March StarSat said the missing FOX Crime was due to "temporary technical problems at the uplink site".

'Extremely disappointed'

Fox International Channels Africa (FIC Africa) tells Channel24 that Fox is “extremely disappointed by the continued intrusions to viewing”.

“We are in the business of delivering quality channel brands to our viewers and are extremely disappointed by the continued intrusions to viewing," says Alessandro Tucci, the senior vice president and general manager of Fox International Channels Africa (FIC Africa).

He says FOX Crime went dark "due to a technical problem experienced by the platform that delivers these channels to viewers".

"We apologise to all our viewers for the breaks in transmission and will work with StarSat in order to avoid this problem from happening again".

Since China's StarTimes came on board at the end of 2013 to bail out ODM with a capital injection which saw the termination of existing broadcasting, uplinking and satellite transponder contracts, StarSat subscribers have been inundated with service disruptions, channel distortions, difficulty in getting decoder setting changed, as well as a flood of subscriber complaints over the video and audio quality of several of StarSat's TV channels.

EPG messed up

Meanwhile StarSat’s electronic programme guide is also distorted – with no explanation from StarSat as to what is going on or why or when it would be resolved and fixed.

"What is wrong with the channel notification bar?" wrote Santie van Niewenhuizen on StarSat's Facebook page. "None of the programmes coming up is correct. How must we know what programme is coming up?"

"Where is FOX Crime now? When you have a down channel at least have the decency to let your subscribers know what the hell is going on! Such shoddy service. StarSat sucks," wrote irate StarSat subscriber Delle Jacobson on StarSat's Facebook page.

As thousands of StarSat subscribers went without FOX Crime and a proper EPG, StarSat, incredulously, replied with a generic "Please note that if you are experiencing a problem with either of our channels please forward us your details so that we can assist you as soon as we can. StarSat Team."

"What the hell? It's going on 5 months now and ever since StarSat took over the service has just been getting worse," wrote Shamim Khan. "Now most of my channels are lost due to technical problems, yet I pay in full every months! Get your act together StarSat or you will lose subscribers! Sort out your problems! Why should we pay for no service????"

"Please send me a refund for the channels that have been missing for the last 3 weeks due to your 'transponder problem'," wrote Robert Hordijk. "You promised an installer will call but nobody did".

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