Thursday, April 3, 2014

BREAKING. FOX Crime on StarSat disappears and goes dark for a second time in less than a month - with no explanation from StarSat.

The FOX Crime (StarSat 131) TV channel on On Digital Media's (ODM) StarSat pay-TV platform in South Africa on Wednesday evening went dark - again - and again without warning, notice or any explanation to viewers and paying StarSat subscribers.

The FOX Crime blackout on StarSat on Wednesday and Thursday came less than half a month after an unexplained FOX Crime blackout on StarSat in mid-March.

In addition, StarSat's electronic programme guide (EPG) became distorted - with no explanation from StarSat as to what is going on or why, when it would be resolved and fixed - and viewers' complaints flooding in.

"What is wrong with the channel notification bar?" wrote Santie van Niewenhuizen on StarSat's Facebook page. "None of the programmes coming up is correct. How must we know what programme is coming up?"

FOX Crime is supplied to ODM's StarSat by Fox International Channels (FIC).  StarSat gave no explanation on Thursday for the second abrupt disappearance of FOX Crime, except to say late on Thursday that FOX Crime has been restored.

In March StarSat said the missing FOX Crime was due to "temporary technical problems at the uplink site".

Since China's StarTimes came on board at the end of 2013 to bail out ODM with a capital injection which saw the termination of existing broadcasting, uplinking and satellite transponder contracts, StarSat subscribers have been inundated with service disruptions, channel distortions, difficulty in getting decoder setting changed, as well as a flood of subscriber complaints over the video and audio quality of several of StarSat's TV channels.

FOX Crime is also available on MultiChoice's DStv pay-TV platform, although the FIC distributed TV channel has seen no blackouts or transmission interruptions in that platform.

"Where is FOX Crime now? When you have a down channel at least have the decency to let your subscribers know what the hell is going on! Such shoddy service. StarSat sucks," wrote irate StarSat subscriber Delle Jacobson on StarSat's Facebook page.

As thousands of StarSat subscribers went without FOX Crime and a proper EPG, StarSat, incredulously, replied with a generic "Please note that if you are experiencing a problem with either of our channels please forward us your details so that we can assist you as soon as we can. StarSat Team."

"What the hell? Its going on 5 months now and ever since StarSat took over the service has just been getting worse," wrote Shamim Khan. "Now most of my channels are lost due to technical problems, yet I pay in full every months! Get your act together StarSat or you will lose subscribers! Sort out your problems! Why should we pay for no service????"

"Please send me a refund for the channels that have been missing for the last 3 weeks due to your 'transponder problem'," wrote Robert Hordijk. "You promised an installer will call but nobody did".

Fox International Channels Africa (FIC Africa) tells TV with Thinus that Fox is "extremely disappointed by the continued intrusions to viewing".

"We are in the business of delivering quality channel brands to our viewers and are extremely disappointed by the continued intrusions to viewing," says Alessandro Tucci, the senior vice president and general manager of Fox International Channels Africa (FIC Africa).

He says FOX Crime went dark  "due to a technical problem experienced by the platform that delivers these channels to viewers".

"We apologise to all our viewers for the breaks in transmission and will work with StarSat in order to avoid this problem from happening again".