On Digital Media (ODM) and StarTimes Media SA running the StarSat satellite pay-TV platform in South Africa want subscribers to turn in their "old" TopTV branded black decoders and has started a subsidised campaign to get subscribers to upgrade and switch to the white HD enabled boxes for free.
ODM's original black, non high definition (HD) decoders still work but the Woodmead based pay-TV operator which is still in business rescue, wants the damaged "TopTV" brand - and which appears on the black decoders - out of the market.
The newer, white HD enabled decoders first introduced in November 2013 also make for a better viewing experience - although subscribers have been complaining that the on-screen electronic programme guide (EPG) for the newer decoder is not an improvement.
With the addition of more HD channels to the StarSat channel line-up, ODM is now incentivising StarSat subscribers to switch to the new decoder - for free.
Existing StarSat subscribers with black boxes are prompted through ads, as well as an on-screen message to make the switch with a newer white decoder which will cost them only R99 - and for which they will get a R99 account credit, meaning the decoder upgrade is free.
It means that ODM and StarTimes Media SA are 100% subsidising the new decoder boxes for existing StarSat subscribers who've been using the original TopTV decoders.
Existing StarSat subscribers with a black box can take their TopTV smartcard out and take it to OK Furniture Stores or House & Home and ask for a white HD StarSat decoder as part of the exchange programme.
StarSat subscribers will have to pay R99 for a new smartcard and StarSat HD decoder.
Subscribers then have to call the StarSat call centre on 086 086 7827 to reactivate the subscription and to place the R99 rebate on a subscriber's account.
StarSat's white HD decoders - also heavily subsidised for new first-time subscribers - currently retails for around R599. It includes the satellite dish, decoder and remote control, and installation.