M-Net and DStv viewers thought the channels reverted back to standard definition (SD) which - although wrong - instantly started to create a negative perception and detracted from M-Net and DStv's unique selling proposition (USI).
People thought M-Net and DStv have less HD channels and that the disappearance of "HD" in the logos they see on their TV screens, meant that the HD channels that were provided, had been taken away.
Even DStv installers told new and existing subscribers that HD channels are no longer in HD when signals were activated and neither installer nor subscriber saw "HD" on what "used to be" (and still is) an HD channel.
ALSO READ: M-Net explains why the HD suddenly disappeared from its on-screen channel logos.
In reality nothing changed, but it's an important lesson for the South African TV industry about TV channel and TV channel branding perceptions.
it is also an ominous signal and a cautionary warning for the coming chaos when the switch from analogue to digital terrestrial broadcasting (DTT) eventually happens in South Africa.
If higher LSM television viewers and subscription broadcasting consumers struggle to properly distinguish without the aid of a descriptive logo between SD and HD channels, a much bigger problem awaits when broadcasters in South Africa switch from analogue to digital TV channels.
That change will force millions of lower LSM viewers in the country to switch to a new system they don't comprehend or understand - wondering if, or why, the SABC1 through bunny ears is the same or looks different from the SABC1 received through a set-top box (STB).
It's clear that South African consumers and TV viewers will take a much longer time to acclimitise to what SD and HD are, given the relative few HD channels available for viewers to make comparisons.
A channel such as e.tv in high definition on OpenView HD's (OVHD) satellite platform, prominently displays an "e.tv HD" channel logo on screen.
DStv and M-Net also did so since October 2013 but decided to dump the HD marker on 21 February 2014 after barely six months.
M-Net now says the "HD" is added back again to all its channels broadcast in HD on MultiChoice's DStv.
M-Net and DStv which should have been much more proactive and have been more cautious before the quiet HD deletion, now says what it should have said before - and louder - before the on-screen logo changes.
M-Net says "the removal of the HD letters from the logos did not mean that the series/movies screened on the HD channels were not in HD. The change was done to create uniformity across all channels".
"M-Net channels would like to thank their viewers for the feedback received regarding the on-air corner TV channel logos," says Pierre Cloete, M-Net and M-Net Series channels director, in a statement.
"We have added back the HD descriptor as part of the on-screen channel logos to the channels which are broadcast in HD. This was done for the convenience of our HD subscribers, enabling them to identify which of the M-Net channels are broadcast in HD."