SA TV channel goes French for a month and nobody notices

2017-02-09 10:10

Cape Town – Hein? The Discovery Science channel on StarSat in South Africa has switched to French for over a month now and counting – with no word from On Digital Media (ODM) and StarTimes South Africa running StarSat as to why and when it will be fixed.

The Discovery Science (StarSat 222) channel that suddenly switched from English to French over a month ago without any warning or explanation to StarSat subscribers, is the latest ongoing on-air mistake that has StarSat subscribers – pardon the French – fuming.

StarSat is constantly plagued by erratic interruptions of channels with StarSat subscribers complaining about the video and audio quality of channels, the ongoing abrupt removal of TV channels, channels "freezing" up, "going black" and the inaccurate, wrong and sometimes empty electronic programme guide (EPG).

Besides the odd language switch, Discovery Science's StarSat electronic programme guide (EPG) has also been way out of sync and completely incorrect for weeks now, making it impossible for StarSat subscribers to know what is actually being shown and coming up on the channel.

Discovery Science's language switch to French is just the latest in a long list of StarSat channels abruptly changing languages the past two years – although it is definitely the longest period, touching on almost two months now, for a single channel.

It's been happening with several StarSat channels, from kids channels to movie and general entertainment channels like those from the FOX Networks Group, but usually would last a few hours to a few days.

No explanation from StarSat

There's been no notification or explanation so far from StarSat to the media.

Discovery Networks International that supplies Discovery Science to StarSat, also supplies several Channels from Discovery Channel and Discovery Family, Animal Planet, TLC Entertainment and others to rival MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform, but none of these channels on DStv in South Africa have ever switched from English to other languages.

On Friday, 3 February, StarSat that also again removed more TV channels recently – this time AMC, Odisseia, Trace Sport Stars, Kerrang and the Extreme Sports Channel – told irate StarSat subscribers that its "aware of all issues and matters affecting your viewing".

"Our technicians are working tirelessly to ensure that all issues are resolved so that you receive the best viewing entertainment pay-TV can offer".

"We also aware of the dissatisfaction of matters concerning channels and content displayed. Please rest assured that all your comments and queries are taken very seriously and are taken up with the relevant departments for review and assessment to ensure that you receive the best customer service and the best entertainment in pay-TV".

Channel24 reached out to both StarSat and Discovery Networks International on Wednesday. So far there's been no response from StarSat.

Dilek Doyran, the vice president of commercial development and country manager of Africa and the Mediterranean for Discovery Networks Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEEMEA) told Channel24 on Wednesday that "we provide StarTimes with Discovery Science in both English and French language."

"StarTimes is currently working on a solution to fix the issue for its English-speaking subscribers".

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