OpenView HD was South Africa’s first major Free To Air DTH platform.
SmarDTV, part of the Kudelski Group, has been chosen by South African maker of hybrid set top boxes (STBs) and gateways Altech UEC to supply System-In-Package (SIP) products for the country’s OpenView HD free-to-air (FTA) digital satellite TV platform. Altech UEC will be integrating the SIP package into new HD STBs sold on the retail market to consumers of the OpenView FTA service.
SmarDTV described this as its third-generation SIP package, having evolved successively through market deployments in Asia and Latin America. The latest SIP version selected by Altech UEC is based on chipsets that increase security to a level sufficient for the STB/CPE market in South Africa. The SIP technology also allows local manufacturing since critical elements such as security assets and user interface requirements are pre-integrated within the SIP silicon at manufacture.
“With the SIP technology, SmarDTV significantly reduces complexity which not only enables local manufacturing but also greatly improves time-to-market, which is the main challenge of most projects”, said Pascal Lenoir, CEO of SmarDTV.
SmarDTV has already deployed more than five million of its SIP technology products in Latin America, Asia and Africa. It has hopes eventually of high volumes in South Africa, given OpenView’s rapid subscriber growth as an FTA offering whose principal cost to the consumer is just the STB itself. The service had gained 500,000 households well before the end of its third year of operation in October 2016, which equated to about 2 million actual viewers. It offers content at 720p resolution to various channels, including eHD, eToonz+, eKasi+, eMovies+, and Beatlab.tv.
Prospects for further growth are good because broadband connections needed for alternative OTT services are often either too expensive or too low in quality across large parts of South Africa. As the main FTA service, available at high quality over satellite with a range of entertainment, OpenView HD is holding back penetration of global subscription VoD services such as Netflix. This factor is also encouraging illegal access to the OpenView HD platform in neighboring Zimbabwe, where authorized alternatives are either too expensive, fail to meet consumers’ content demands, or again are prohibited by lack of affordable high quality broadband.
Apart from its range of STBs, SmarDTV designs and manufactures CI / CI-Plus plug-in modules which enable access to premium digital pay-TV over both broadcast and broadband. A founding member of the CI Plus Forum, SmarDTV is headquartered in Switzerland.
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