New TV platforms for South Africa

South African transmission services provider Sentech unveiled a new DTH satellite service last week to complement its rollout of digital-terrestrial TV.

The new platform, Freevision, is designed to deliver free-to-air TV services to regions where DTT services will not be rolled out, according to Sentech chairman Thabo Mongake. In 2012 South Africa legislated to make services on the first DTT multiplex available throughout the country.

Freevision is broadcast on the Intelsat 20 satellite at 68.5° degrees East. The platform comprises 38 channels including SABC1, 2 and 3, SABC News, SABC’s DTT channels and commercial broadcaster’s DTT channels. Other services include community broadcast channels Alex TV, Tshwane TV, Cape TV, Bay TV, Soweto TV and 1 KZN and a significant number of religious channels.

The Sentech announcement comes ahead of the October 15 launch of OpenView HD from’s sister company Platco. This service, broadcast on the SES-5 platform, includes local entertainment channel eKasi+, general entertainment service eAfrica+, movie channel eMovies+ and kids service eToonz+ as well as a number of third party channels. The service will be available for a one-off fee of ZAR1,599 (€116) including dish, decoder and installation. Activation services for the platform are being provided by Coral Tree.

A question mark was thrown over the inclusion of SABC’s channels on the platform last month when the public broadcaster accused Platco of misleading the public and said it had no agreement in place to broadcast its channels on OpenView HD. SABC had in August agreed to broadcast its channels on the rival Sentech platform. Platco responded by saying that any attempt to stop it from airing the public channels would be unlawful.