DStv HD standards switch: what you need to know

MultiChoice recently announced that it is going to switch its HD broadcasts from Digital Video Broadcasting – Satellite (DVB-S) to the newer DVB-S2 standard on 30 June 2013, freeing up capacity which will let them launch new channels in future.

According to MultiChoice, the majority of its Premium subscribers who have access the DStv’s HD channels will be moved to DVB-S2 without a hitch, but some may need to have their installation adjusted.

Subscribers may test whether their DStv system is compatible with DVB-S2 by going to a test channel MultiChoice has set up: channel 425.

Gerdus van Eeden, the Chief Technology Officer for MultiChoice said that subscribers should ensure they are on “All Channels” or “My Channels” to see channel 425. If you are on Favourite Channels, you will not see the channel, Van Eeden said.

Gerdus van Eeden
Gerdus van Eeden

Should you not see the slide on channel 425, it means that your installation needs adjusting. “If an installation needs to be adjusted, it means that it was not correctly executed in the first instance with the alignment of the dish being slightly out of sync with the MultiChoice satellite,” said van Eeden.

He added they they offer an SMS service (32445, R1, SMS area postal code) for those subscribers who would like assistance in finding the nearest accredited installer.

He went on to provide the following guidelines for customers when it comes to installations:

  • An installer call out fee should be between R250 and R350 depending on where they live. This will include any re-alignment or adjustment, and is most likely the only change that will be required to receive the DVB-S2 transmissions.
  • If the customer is further than 25km away from the installer, the amount above will exclude travel, which will be charged at R3,24 per extra kilometre, which is the AA rate.
  • If customers do not currently have a 90cm dish, we highly recommend that they change to a 90cm dish (although not required to received DVB-S2 transmissions). The 90cm dish helps to reduce rain fade. If a cable is perished or sun-damaged, these might need to be replaced which will be an additional cost.

In its FAQ on the DStv self-service website, the satellite operator said that specialised installation instruments are required to ensure an optimal installation and alignment of the dish.

“It is imperative that the dish is aligned and installed using these instruments to ensure the quality of our customers’ viewing, as well as their DStv Catch Up and DStv BoxOffice value added services,” MultiChocie said.

MultiChoice goes on to say that it does not pay for installation-related costs, but recommends that customers have their installation checked every few years.

“Weather exposure and other factors can influence the quality of the installation and impact their viewing,” the FAQ states.

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DStv HD standards switch: what you need to know