Your DStv installation may need some changes

MultiChoice has issued new installation standards for DStv that will become compulsory from 1 August 2014 – though it recommended that installers adopt them effective immediately.

In a document sent to installers, MultiChoice explained that the changes are necessary because its current satellite (Intelsat 20) will soon reach the limit of services it can broadcast.

MultiChoice will get more capacity on a new satellite that is co-located with Intelsat 20, which it said means that signals from both can be picked up simultaneously and does not require a second satellite dish.

Some existing installations may not be able to receive the signal from the additional satellite MultiChoice will be buying capacity on, however.

Responding to e-mailed questions, a spokesperson for MultiChoice said that since the lower part of the Ku-band spectrum is fully occupied by the current satellite, any new capacity will have to use the higher part of the Ku-band spectrum.

“This makes the use of quad or single cable LNBs for certain installations a necessity,” MultiChoice said.

It is important to note that this will only be a concern some years from now, so you don’t have to rush out to upgrade your DStv installation. Installations that can’t pick up the new satellite won’t be cut off, MultiChoice said in its document.

“We recently briefed our installers to ensure all new installations are done in a way that will not require rework at the time we start using this additional capacity,” a spokesperson for MultiChoice said. “Since acquiring new satellite capacity is a multi-year process, there will be sufficient time to modify installations where required.”

When new services launch on the additional satellite, a few subscribers may just not be able to receive them until they make the necessary changes to their installation.

According to the document, most non-PVR decoder installations and many single PVR installations do not require any change.

“Only a small percentage (estimated to be 10%) of installations will be impacted, mostly those with more than one PVR connected through XtraView and some communal installations,” MultiChoice said.

MultiChoice told installers that it is busy investigating new technology that will simplify future installations, and that information on this will be released when it becomes ready to be deployed.

Subscribers will also be able to check if installations are ready to receive the new services in future. Once the systems for this check are in place, subscribers will be notified of it, the document said.

MultiChoice strongly recommended to installers that all new installations for Explora, XtraView and other PVRs be done using the LNB and cable combinations as detailed in the table below.

If you’re having DStv installed you may also wish to ensure that your installer is following these guidelines so that your installation is future proof.

New DStv installation standards
Installation type LNB Cables Switch Remark
Any single non-PVR decoder Single One Current installations need no modification
Two non-PVR decoders on XtraView Twin Two For new installations, a quad LNB is recommended for future-proofing
A dual view decoder Twin Two For new installations, a quad LNB is recommended for future-proofing
An SD PVR Twin Two For new installations, a quad LNB is recommended for future-proofing
Any XtraVoew combination containing an SD PVR Quad Four ? Depending on the inputs required, a multiswitch may be needed
A 4-tuner HD PVR (model 850 or 4660) Quad Four A SatCR LNB or DStv switch may be used to reduce the number of cables required
A 2-tuner HD PVR (model 2P or 2U) Quad Four A twin LNB could be used, but a quad is recommended for future-proofing
Any XtraView combination contained an HD PVR Quad Four ? Depending on the inputs required, a multiswitch may be needed. A DStv switch could be used to reduce the cabling (place the switch close to the dish or inside the roof and use the Unicable outputs through the conduit to the HD PVRs)
An Explora Quad One DStv Connect 4 cables to the DStv switch and one cable from the switch to the Explora
Any XtraView combination containing an Explore Quad One DStv Connect 4 cables to the DStv switch and then use the relevant outputs from the switch to the decoders

According to the document, the quad LNB referred to above is a 4-output universal LNB. In cases where the LNB is being connected to a DStv switch, a quattro LNB (4 dedicated outputs) could also be used.

“Any changes that are required will be for subscribers own account. Affected subscribers will be informed about the scope and cost of these changes well ahead of time,” MultiChoice said.

“We urge our customers not to worry or to make any changes to existing installations before receiving formal communication from us,” MultiChoice added. “We don’t want our customers to make unnecessary changes or incur unnecessary costs.”

MultiChoice said that in due course it will ensure the required components are available at the lowest possible cost and will give recommended pricing for the changes.

An important request from the journalist: Based on feedback we’ve received from within MultiChoice, please don’t contact the call centre to find out if your installation is future proof. They won’t be able to help you at this stage. A method to check your installation will be launched at a later stage, hopefully long before it becomes an issue.

The information in this article is mainly for those who are having DStv installed right now (and those working in the broadcasting industry). Sadly, some satellite TV installers are willing to cut corners, but armed with this information you can hopefully ensure that your installer is adhering to these new recommended standards.

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Your DStv installation may need some changes