Tuesday, July 22, 2014

ADA Derana 24x7

A couple of days ago over the weekend we saw Sri Lanka's first 24hour News Channel launching on Dialog TV Channel 13. A desperate lack on Lankan television was the fact that no one launched a fully news channel despite some claiming to be pioneers in news broadcasts.

On the outset the channel seems to have got its cue's from Indian channel NDTV which ironically calls itself NDTV 24x7. However its interesting to note that the line up comprises of documentaries, etc and doesn't include any entertainment/sports programming.

The channel is exclusively available on Dialog TV for now and maybe made available FTA or to other platforms. However we expect it to be exclusive for now, well at least for an year Dialog probably made sure of that when they allowed the channel on it's platform.

It's regrettable that Sundance was booted out so early in it's life. However it's supposedly a temporary replacement - Dialog's temporary is a lot longer than what temporary really means.

Anyways the only solution for this dreaded capacity issue is to switch the whole platform to MPEG4, which will solve it for a short time. One thing that we need to realise is that in the DTH environment, capacity is always an issue, but in Dialog's case it just  prolongs too much.

Please keep us updated on the latest on Dialog TV as the days progress.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sundance Channel bites the dust

Out of all the channels that Dialog TV towards the end of April, it looks like we have the first casualty. Sundance Channel Asia is said to have been "temporarily" replaced by Citi Hitz which moved into the Channel No. 67 when it's channel space Channel No. 13 has now been allocated as "Test Transmission" and is now scrambled. One can't help but wonder if this is the return of the dreaded "Test Channel" that Dialog had all these years but was taken off a few months ago.

With Citi Hitz moving to the No. 67 slot its the first local channel to be given the MPEG4 treatment. Its not clear what's happening on the No. 13 slot, rumours suggest that it is possibly an local FTA channel such as "Rangiri Sri Lanka" that may appear. Some suggest that it might be the 24 hour news channel that is supposed to be launched by Derana or MTV/MBC.

Regardless it almost certain that it's a local channel considering it's present placement on the channel list. We certainly didn't expect "Sundance Channel" to the first casualty, our guess was that Hollywood gossip channel "E" might have been the first to face the axe.

It's time for Dialog TV to take steps to switch the remaining MPEG2 transponders to MPEG4 and increase the ever increasing need for capacity taking into consideration that channels are still being time shared, Neo Sports is now available instead of Neo Prime, whilst both channel showcase the German football league, we in Sri Lanka can watch only one.

Dialog TV has a long way to go, with impending competition soon to launch in Sri Lanka. It should be noted that the quality of TNL TV on Dialog TV as improved by leaps and bounds.

Please keep us updated on the latest on Dialog TV as the days progress.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

New Channels & quality improvements

With yesterday's update Dialog TV have increased the number of channels allocated to subscribers. Gold package subscribers are now getting "Comedy Central, Fashion TV & History TV18" FOC which was available earlier at an additional charge. Additionally "Ten Action" has been allocated to all available packages except for the old CBNsat era packages.

Quality has improved in the MPEG4 transponders. At the moment Dialog TV is running 3 MPEG2 DVB-S1 transponders, 1 MPEG4 DVB-S1 transponder & 2 MPEG4 DVB-S2 transponder. The conversion of an additional transponder has given additional capacity for Dialog TV to add a few extra channels. However more capacity will be available if and when Dialog TV converts the other 3 MPEG2 transponders too, this is not expected any time soon considering the time taken to convert just one.

There are some complaints about the quality of the Ten Network channels since they happen to get more pixelated compared to the other sports channels which are on the MPEG4 transponders, "Ten Action" quality is supposed worst out of all the Ten Network channels. We hope this matter is rectified by increasing bandwidth allocated to those three channels.

At the moment the Test channels comprises of the following,
  • Test 1 - MTV Sports
  • Test 2 - CITI HITz (not sure if this channel is a good idea, it was a flop a few years ago)
  • Test 3 - MTV India
  • Test 4 - Cine Thirai (Tamil)
  • Test 5 - Sony Six
  • Test 6 - Sundance Channel
  • Test 7 - Universal Channel
  • Test 8 - E channel (good for those interested in Hollywood gossip, not sure it will last)
It's great to note that Dialog TV have added an additional Tamil Channel instead of a Hindi one, the addition of Sony Six is a good move considering that NBA, TNA & FIFA action is now on that channel & Dialog TV, Sundance might be popular among those who seek foreign language programming (this channel is operated by the same people who do the Sundance Film Festival). Universal Channel has a few reruns but could improve like Warner TV has been doing over the past year or so, "E" is mainly a hollywood gossip channel and it will be interesting to see how that channel will be received. If any channel from this list get booted for a better one, the most likely candidate would be "E".

Not forgetting to mention, the quality of the only only sole local English Language channel is horrible and is worse that normal FTA reception, this needs to be rectified ASAP.

It's not clear how the above channels will be allocated, whether they will be added to existing packages or will be available as additional add-ons isn't clear. However with the impending competition, it's best that Dialog will add these to existing packages. It's worth mentioning that these new channels haven't been officially launched as yet, hence the "Test" status.

Please continue updating us on the latest on Dialog TV as the days progress.

** Updated at 11am - corrected errors in post

  • Dialog has five transponders not four as posted earlier (3 MPEG2, 2 MPEG4)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Updates, Updates, Updates...

Looks like the impending entrance of a strong competitor has spurred Dialog TV on to do some good things, presently the entire channel lineup has been turned on its head. The lineup starts with FTA channels namely Rupavahini and moves on from there. We are unable to get a hold of the new updated channel list.

There are reports of some decoders indicating 101 channels and then showing 93 channels & it seems that many channels have been switched to the long awaited MPEG4 standard. Not sure if its MPEG4 DVB S2 or just MPEG4, either way it will free up much needed transponder space. 

Additionally some new channels have already surfaced, namely MTV Sports & the return of MTV India. Sundance Channel Asia, Universal Asia are among those who are on test according to reports.

We are not sure what channels have been given the boot by Dialog TV.

Please do keep us updated on the latest regarding Dialog TV as the days progress. Kindly update us with the latest channel list as soon as possible.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Updates coming on April 30th

In the wake of Dish TV Sri Lanka testing local language channels, there are reports of some sort of channel updates to take place on April 30th. The updates we believe are actually nothing more than a re-sorting of channels on the list, however according to other information it seems that more channels are going to be switched to MPEG4, which should technically allow Dialog TV to add new channels.

Please note that we are unable to confirm anything as yet. However the possibility of competition on the horizon is good for subscribers, since it will either make or break Dialog TV. Dialog as a whole has responded effectively in the face of competition and has managed to come out on top, however it remains to be seen how Dialog TV will respond to the competition from its latest competitor which poses a greater threat to its business than any of the other competitors at present.

Please continue updating us on the latest on Dialog TV as the days progress.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Day Pass Activations fail... some subscribers miss T20 Finals

According to reports reaching us Dialog TV subscribers who activated the "day pass" to watch the T20 Finals were in for a rude shock when channels didn't get activated as per their request. It seems that Dialog TV Customer Care accepted that this occurred due to a technical fault. Hopefully the charges are refunded to the subscribers if it has already been billed.

It's sad to note that in the light of important sporting events, subscribers are unable to watch the matches due to "technical faults". Whilst it is accepted that technical faults do occur without prior notice, however they should be rectified in a manner that doesn't effect the subscribers viewing.

In other news, it looks like "temporary" Russia Today channel has become "permanent". One sports channel is now out of Dialog TV and with the FIFA World Cup to be telecast on Sony Six & Sony Six HD, it's yet to be seen whether we are deprived of this important sporting event. Dialog TV is relying too much on "temporary" fixes to "permanent" problems.

Please keep us updated on the latest on Dialog TV as the days progress!

Monday, March 10, 2014

THE FUTURE - looks bleak - TODAY

Dialog TV's future may not be as firm as they hoped it would be. We have reports of subscribers eagerly awaiting the launch of Sri Lanka's newest DTH service provider "Dish TV Sri Lanka", which will launch soon. Dish TV Sri Lanka will pose the strongest competition to Dialog TV yet. Competition from Peo TV & LBN cable TV haven't been strong enough, causing Dialog TV will play high handed tactics with subscribers.

Channels substituted as and when management sees fit, channels time shared, etc, etc. The recent example being the replacement of Neo Sports with Russia Today, the removal of MTV India, the inability to add the channel that broadcasts the FIFA World Cup - Sony SIX & Sony SIX HD. Yes, Dialog TV would probably add Sony SIX & Sony SIX HD for the duration of the World Cup but temporary is not what people want, rather people want permanent additions. The sluggish switch over to MPEG4 from MPEG2. All of these have contributed to the decision of many subscribers to switch over once a viable option is available. Not to mention the high costs of the top package and the even higher cost of the HD options. Now it seems that Dish TV Sri Lanka may somehow be that "viable" alternative that subscribers were waiting for.

At the moment Dish TV Sri Lanka is on test mode. It's not still too late for Dialog TV, however the changes must place now before a few thousands, ten thousands or even hundreds of thousands switch over if Dialog TV delays until the competitor launches services.

Dialog TV should immediately put into motion the plan to switch to Supreme SAT, launch channels straight away as MPEG4 DVB-S2 and switch all boxes to MPEG4 DVB-S2 when technical personnel visit home to realign the dish. If not Dialog TV must take immediate steps to acquire more transponders and ramp up the quality of service.

Dialog has in the past switched into high gear in the face of competition and come out on top, however those service were not as half bad as the way Dialog TV has been handled. We reiterate that it's not too late, if Dialog TV improves the quality of service, there may just be a glimmer of hope and subscribers may not move out as planned. However there are those that are so sick of Dialog TV's handling of its subscribers that even if Dialog TV pays them a rental for watching the service, they may not do so.

The ball is in your court Dialog TV, make the best and first move or it just may become a case of what happened with the Titanic, the builders thought it was unsinkable but it did sink, Dish TV Sri Lanka may just be the iceberg that the Dialog TV Titanic hits.

Please keep us updated on the latest on Dialog TV as the days progress.