E.tv ‘COMMITTED’ TO DIGITAL TV

E.tv chief operating officer Mark Rosin has said the free-to-air broadcaster is “disappointed” after losing a high court application brought against communications minister Faith Muthambi.

E.tv chief operating officer Mark Rosin has said the free-to-air broadcaster is “disappointed” after losing a high court application brought against communications minister Faith Muthambi over the use of encryption in government-subsidised set-top boxes for digital terrestrial television.

The broadcaster had taken the minister to court, challenging her decision to change South Africa’s broadcasting digital migration policy to state that encryption will not be included in the subsidised set-top boxes, which will be provided free of charge to about 5m poorer households.

But the high court on Thursday dismissed e.tv’s application, handing a victory to Muthambi and to broadcasters MultiChoice and the SABC, both of which are strongly opposed to the use of encryption in free-to-air terrestrial television.

On Friday, Rosin said e.tv is still “considering its options” — presumably meaning an appeal is still possible — but said the broadcaster “remains committed to the roll-out of digital terrestrial television and other digital platforms such as free satellite platform OpenView HD”.

He said e.tv’s channel offering for digital TV has been ready for some time. “We look forward to the opportunity to offer South Africans a variety of great channels on digital terrestrial TV comprising many hours of local dramas, movies, music, kids programming and educational shows,” he said.

Rosin added that e.tv has long argued that government-subsidised digital set-top boxes should have the capability to support encryption. “This would prevent pirate set-top boxes from receiving the broadcast signal, thereby ensuring a uniform and reliable viewer experience, the ability to broadcast premium and high-definition content, and a boost for the local manufacturing industry.”

Source: Techcentral – Duncan McLeod