OpenView HD launches in South Africa

Rebecca Hawkes | 17-10-2013

The new operator OpenView HD has commenced broadcasting in what has been a busy few weeks for the launch of satellite TV platforms in South Africa.

The Platco Digital-owned platform, which launched on 15 October 2013, provides a total of 16 channels, four of which are broadcast in high definition (HD). Customers will make a one-off payment of SAR1,600 ($160) for a satellite dish, set-top box and installation, though will subsequently be able to access the channels without subscription.

A sister platform to free-to-air commercial broadcaster, OpenView HD is targeting 200,000 customers by October 2014, two million by the end of 2015 and five million by 2018.

The launch follows hot on the heels of the Freevision direct-to-home (DTH) satellite TV service from South Africa's state broadcast signal distribution company Sentech, which was announced on 30 September 2013.

Freevision comprises 38 standard definition channels, for a one-off equipment and installation cost of SAR1,350 ($135). According to Sentech, it will be available in stores from 25 November 2013.

Although it has been called a stop gap service to soften the blow to the delayed introduction of digital terrestrial television (DTT) in South Africa, chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Communications, Sikhumbuzo Eric Kholwane, welcomed the launch of Freevision.

"20 years into our democracy, one notes with comfort that the country has taken a giant leap in terms of universal access to broadcasting services, affordability of broadcasting services, ensuring an inclusive society and lastly, interoperability of technology platforms. The Freevision platform also represents the digital multimedia future in that the platform enables the transmission of data-based services and e-Government services," said Kholwane.