Sentech launches Freevision DTH platform in South Africa

Rebecca Hawkes | 01-10-2013

South Africa's state-owned broadcasting signal distributor is renaming its universal access direct-to-home (DTH) satellite TV platform from Vivid to Freevision, and making it available to public and community broadcasters with immediate effect.

Broadcasting from the 68.5E orbital location via Intelsat 20, the DTH platform can reach an estimated 60 million viewers across sub-Saharan Africa. It is, the company says, aligning its network services with its public service mandate and the changing digital landscape.

"We believe that this unique broadcasting signal distribution network design ensures that Public Funding provided to the Sentech is efficiently leveraged to reduce the cost of broadcasting signal distribution services, and most importantly, to make multichannel broadcasting signal distribution tariffs affordable, thus encouraging the entry of small, medium and micro enterprise (SMME) single channel broadcasters into the mainstream television broadcasting sector," said Setumo Mohapi, chief executive officer, Sentech.

"We believe that the launch of Freevision is a necessary strategic development in South Africa's roadmap to enhance the growth of the broadcasting sector as well as to explore new business-to-business platform services models for commercial broadcasters. Sentech further believes that the Freevision platform will further enrich the digital multichannel content distribution landscape both of which are critical for nurturing the country's young and democratic broadcasting and content distribution industry," he added.

The DTH sector in South Africa, which is dominated by pay-TV operator Multichoice with its DTV platform, is also readying itself for the launch of a satellite bouquet from Platco Digital, the sister company of independent free-to-air broadcaster

Platco Digital, which is owned by media group Sabido Investments, will broadcast its free-to-air channels via the SES-5 satellite when it launches later in October.