Tuesday, March 13, 2007

UAE halts illegal Dish TV, Tata SKY equipment imports - Sri Lanka may follow suit soon

According to a report in an UAE based news website DAIJIWORLD, people who bring Dish TV and Tata SKY equipment into the country are having their equipment confiscated. This is as a result of e-vision a digital pay television provider in UAE complaining to the authorities about the import of the illegal connections from India.

It seems that very soon Sri Lanka will also follow suit as the pay television industry grows and will get affected by the imports of illegal pay television connections from India.

Given below is the report that was published on the website.

UAE authorities confiscate DishTV and TataSky receivers

Dubai, Mar 11: It was until last week thousands of NRIs in the UAE carrying Dish TV or TATA Sky receivers walked freely through Dubai airport without any problems. The Indian Direct to Home systems [DTH] offers more than 100 Indian Satellite TV channels which can be viewed by paying mere Rs 300 per month. This has made viewing over 100 channels very cheap as compared to the rates of the official channel distributors in the UAE e-phela and e-vision.

Several subscribers to e-pehela and e-vision have unsubscribed or de-graded their subscription after the successful installation of Dish TVs in their homes.

The Dish TV cost less than Rs 3,000 and thereafter Rs 300 every month saves about 30 % to 80% of the fees payable to e-vision and e-pehela in UAE. Further several additional channels like Zee Kannada, ETV, Sony Set Max, Aaj Tak, IBN-CNN can be viewed without additional payment.

"I think, e-vision must have complained to the authorities to stop carrying Dish TV receivers to UAE. I bought one to enjoy the world cup cricket coverage as our building has still no e-vision connections. At the scanner machine in the airport, my receiver was confiscated. Several other passengers were also stopped at the scanner machine for carrying the equipment," said a Mangalorean who landed through Air India Express on Thursday.

"Many people were bringing the Dish TV systems successfully without any problem and so we too brought one. But we are not lucky enough to carry away with our TATA sky receiver. I think we have to upgrade our e-vision subscription to watch the world cup on Fox Sports,รข€ said another woman to daijiworld.com. She too had arrived on the same day on Air India Express.

Detaining receivers at the airport is the only way to stop Dish TV service in UAE, as it may not be possible to block the transmission of channels to these receivers. Those who have already installed the receivers may find themselves lucky, but authorities say that, viewing TV channels through un-authorized Dish TV or TATA SKY is illegal!

How does TATA sky and Dishtv work in Middle East?

While the new direct-to-home service providers may go gaga, talking about its technological advances, consumers have already started taking advantage of loopholes in the satellite system. Check this out: Non resident Indians based out if Dubai, which follows the pay TV regime, are routing their entertainment signals via India.

Tata Sky and Dish TV, the Indian DTH systems, are being purchased in various parts of the country and carted off to Dubai and other parts of the United Arab Emirates where they are being lapped up by NRIs who were paying close to Rs 1,800 per month. Close to 10,000 Indians residing in the Gulf have subscribed to either the Tata Sky or Dish TV service in India, and have installed it in their homes in Dubai, getting a cheap deal.

"All you need is a dish on your terrace, which is already installed in several of these countries and you just align it in the direction of the satellite transmitting the signal with the set-top box (STB) purchased and activated in India. You just have to connect the dish there and you are in business," says a Dubai-based resident.

Close to 10% of the DTH connections sold in India, are being actively viewed in Dubai and other Middle East countries, estimate industry sources. "It makes sense to get the connection from India as it costs about Rs 300 which is payable in India. In fact, many of us have subscribed for the entire year package to avoid increase in rates later," says another resident using the Tata Sky service.

The footprint for Tata Sky (INSAT-4A) and Dish TV (NSS-6) is up to the Arabian Gulf. According to residents of the Gulf, the signal quality they receive is up to 24%, while the minimum quality required is 18%.

Tata Sky CEO Vikram Kaushik said: "Piracy is taking place across the region in all our neighbouring countries. However, the moment we notice that the boxes are not in the location they are meant to be, we disconnect them. In fact, we have been approached by distributors from the neighbouring countries to provide the Tata-Sky service, but since the laws do not allow it, we have abstained from doing so."

Dish TV business head Jawahar Goel added: "We are aware of the problem, But there is little that can be done. The only way we control it is to trace the absence of a box and disconnect the service."

While there may not be any official distributors, the neighbouring countries seem to have a lot of self-appointed distributors who can be contacted for installations as well as purchase of the box.

Dismissing the numbers as marginal, Kaushik said the piracy levels are too insignificant to become a matter of concern. However, the numbers are increasing, with the convenience of TV viewing spreading like wild fire. But are the DTH players really impacted? "Not as long as they continue to get their subscription payment. The actual victims are service providers in the region, who lose customers to this illegal alternative, said an industry expert.


Vishkid said...

As with every offense, you will only be punished if you are caught.

But this should serve as a wake up call to everyone (not the least LLS) who have been claiming legality of DTH to be used as something similar to a VCR.

I know that the legal framework is not up to date in our countries for newer technologies like this but IP laws are just enough to protect legally commercialized entities like Dialog TV from infringement by illegal sale of DishTV etc.

However, I do not promote any action against DishTv subscribers (illegal, not SatNet based) as their ultimate intention is to enjoy TV!

All the same, all 'imported' DishTv connections should carry a warning to subscribers until Dish secures legal rights in SL.

Anonymous said...

Good News for DishTV subcribers;

"The Zee Group's DTH company, whose expansion was stuck earlier, has decided to pick up five more transponders vacated on its NSS-6 satellite by Doordarshan's free DTH service, DD Direct (which is now shifting to Insat-4B).

"The transponders vacated by DD Direct will be taken by us and we will immediately offer 30-40 new channels to our subscribers. The rest will be launched soon, and we should have 200 channels on the DTH platform," Jawahar Goel, business head, Dish TV, told Business Standard." (Sourch: www.business-standard.com)

Anonymous said...

Here we're talking about controling the stuff coming in to Sri Lanka. but PPL who had their STB already will be enjoying a good choice of channels after ZEE purchasing the new transponders.

Way to go Dish TV.
Never say "yes" to Dialog TV as they try to dominate the DTH era in Sri Lanka. I feel comet is a better option that DTV. But Dish TV Rocks for me

Anonymous said...

It is very clear now,that this forum is moderated by Dialog TV.That's why they are so concerned about blocking Dish TV without trying to develop DTV content to match Dish TV.

Also,the fact that UAE is trying to block Dish TV by stopping the importation of equipment is an enough testement to me,that it is not possible to block the satelite feed.If you have a receiver you are assured of receiving the telecast.

Vishkid said...

The last Anon comment is very true - you will only be doing anything illegal for all practical purposes IF you get caught.

There is virtually nil possibility of authorities tracking down existing decoders of Dish.

It's the new imports that will be at risk, if at all.
Just be aware of the illegal factor - that's all.

IMO, this blog (starting with CBNSat blog) was active for a long while now and I personally don't think DTV has a hand in this.

But sometimes it seems they are a bit lean on DTV which they should not be as it is a bigger and a more responsible company which ought to be more responsible by all means ...

Michael said...

TV is not the distracting piece of furniture in the living room. In fact, unknown to them, TV has filled up a silent vacuum that had formed in the drawing room space. With the coming of satellite TV, this void of silence has been shattered.

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