StarSat says sorry for decoder signal problems

2014-01-14 11:14
Cape Town – StarSat says it acknowledges technical challenges faces by subscribers who are struggling with their decoders, and now says it will pay for a technician to come out to help subscribers and cover all costs relating to a technician call-out where necessary.

Since the end of 2013 StarSat subscribers have been struggling, many unable to receive StarSat's TV channels since the South African pay-TV operator switched its satellite uplinking from Germany to China just before Christmas.

It left StarSat subscribers without any television or certain channels over the holiday festive period, with subscribers also saying they're unable to get through to the StarSat call centre, forced to listen to a looping, recorded message saying, "If you TV screen is black..." and having to try and follow difficult, recorded instructions to reset their decoder.

The problem started when On Digital Media (ODM) and its Chinese backer StarTimes, which rebranded the faltering TopTV subscription service to StarSat at the end of 2013, switched its transponder uplinking from Germany to Beijing. Technical problems saw StarSat's service experience a blackout on Thursday 19 December.

After that a flood of complaints started from angry StarSat subscribers saying their TV screens are black, or that their decoders are unable to receive some TV channels on StarSat's bouquet. StarSat subscribers are also fuming about the video and sound quality of several of the TV channels.

StarSat subscribers also complain about not being to get through to the StarSat call centre, and that StarSat call centre operators are not knowledgeable about problems, or unable to help them.

The latest StarSat issue follows after subscribers experienced billing problems in October when StarSat also switched to a new billing system but cut paid-up subscribers and those whose payments didn’t reflect by the 1st, and blocked their signals.

StarSat says sorry

"StarSat acknowledges recent technical challenges faced by subscribers and wishes to apologise for any inconvenience caused," the Woodmead based company told Channel24 on Tuesday.

"StarSat would like to reassure its loyal subscribers that the majority of these technical issues have since been resolved.

"The technical difficulties have been largely the result of the migration process as TopTV upgraded to StarSat. This involved a shift from a single transponder to multiple transponders which although intended to enhance viewer experience with the addition of more channels, has regretfully resulted in subscribers not receiving certain channels, signal delays, as well as technical dropout."

StarSat says subscribers experiencing difficulty in receiving all or some of their TV channels should contact the call centre on 086 0860 7827 or SMS their contact number and ID to 40003.

"StarSat will cover all costs relating to a technician's visit – should this be deemed necessary," the company says.

"Since adopting a business rescue plan during 2013, StarSat has overhauled its product offering. This includes packages, pricing structures, channels and content, networks, sales and distribution and customer service and billing."

"StarSat has launched a range of new exciting content sourced from third parties as well as own-branded channels, and hopes to add more in future based on customer feedback," says the company which in October promised TopTV subscribers more than 100 channels on its line-up by January 2014.

The company says a new sales and distribution model has been introduced which offers free home delivery and installation of the StarSat decoder and dish.

"StarSat aims to provide much needed competition in the pay-TV market in South Africa, improving the structure of broadcasting and establishing a healthier broadcast environment in which customers will have greater choice," says ODM.

"StarSat would like to reiterate its commitment to its subscribers, and once again thanks customers for their support during the transitional period."

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