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Dreambox blow as Pehla pulls the plug

Manama, November 3, 2011

Hundreds of illegal Dreambox users have had their premium Asian entertainment channels cut off, it was confirmed yesterday (November 2).

Officials at satellite television broadcaster, Pehla, said the switch to new Viaccess technology had been completed, more than eight months after it was first announced.

It was earlier billed as the final nail in the coffin for pirate operators.

Pehla's Bahrain distributor Satlink general manager Om Ramchandani said the new technology meant Dreambox broadcasters were no longer able to access signals and offer them to thousands of subscribers.

'We had completed distribution of new Viaccess boxes to our Bahrain subscribers several months ago but the switch was implemented across the region after other markers had received the new boxes,' he told the GDN.

'Hopefully, this is the final nail in the coffin for pirate operators, who have been having a field day for far too long. We will keep on upgrading and updating our technology so that we stay ahead of these operators,' he said.

Pehla had earlier switched to new Viaccess platform during the Cricket World Cup in India in February, but had to keep offering the older Irdeto platform feed also to cater to the needs of legal cable operators in Dubai and Qatar.

These cable operators have now been handed over the new equipment.

Ramchandani earlier said new technology had been tried and tested during the Cricket World Cup when thousands of sports fans were forced to buy legal subscriptions to watch the matches.

Orbit Showtime Network earlier switched to new technology last December, after which it reported a 300 per cent increase in subscribers.

At the time the company said the increased income from new customers meant the company could invest more in its content and services - with 3D channels on the way.

Meanwhile, providers of illegal Dreambox services in Bahrain admitted there was virtually no demand for connections they offer. 'We have some satellite services from Europe still available but no one wants them anymore,' said one operator. 'We are trying to figure out how to get around this new technology and hopefully will be able to crack it soon.'

Dreambox operators had built up a large subscriber base by linking digital receivers to the internet, downloading codes and unscrambling satellite signals to provide customers with a range of satellite packages at a fraction of the normal cost.

The first crackdown on Dreambox operators was launched in Bahrain in 2009 when the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority in collaboration with the then Culture and Information Ministry instructed the country's 17 Internet Service Providers to block IP (Internet Protocol) addresses of illegal operators.

However, pirate broadcasters were able to bypass those measures within two months. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | Pehla | Dreambox | Viaccess Technology | Asian Entertainment | Pirate Broadcast |

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