According to reports Dialog has activated a further 3 to 4 test slots on the transponder carrying the HD channels.
So at present
- Channel slot 85 is testing Ten HD.
- Channel slot 86 is testing Granada TV. (SD Channel)
- Channel slot 87 is testing Sony beTV. (SD Channel)
There are reports of a 4th test channel but we are unable to confirm this.
These will be only available under the HD package. Since the transponder that carries them is DVB-S2 and this cannot be decrypted by the standard non HD Dialog TV decoder.
This effectively means that no new channels will be available for SD subscribers in the near future and all new channels will be on the DVB-S2 format. If Dialog is to move all their subscribers to DVB-S2 decoders it will prove to be quite expensive. Dialog could move all existing channels to DVB-S1 MPEG4 since many of the decoders are already with subscribers from the initial replacement as well as sales made thereafter but there are still those on lower packages who haven't received these DVB-S1 MPEG4 decoders, who will need them replaced. Moving transponders to DVB-S1 MPEG4 will free up transponder space enough to add more SD channels for subscribers and Dialog can continue to maintain DVB-S2 MPEG4 only for HD channels. This so called switch to MPEG4 that Dialog had been talking about has never materialized and most likely never will.
It looks like Dialog TV is following in the footsteps of Dish TV India and some other DTH services in various parts of the world which maintain both MPEG2 & MPEG4. New subscribers are issued with the newer decoders whereas the existing ones are switched only when they request a package change. Those DTH services have a large customer base, however Dialog which has a relatively small customer base in comparison should take a decision and move ahead with conversion.
It may result in a significant loss on their PL account in the short run but on the long run they can recover those losses. Dialog could go one better and move all channels to DVB-S2 MPEG4 and replace all decoders issued to subscribers. The immediate loss on the PL account could be much higher but the returns on the long run would be much higher. We are sure that Dialog with Axiata's backing would be able to cushion such a loss for a short time.
It's foolish to broadcast SD channels on the present DVB-S2 MPEG4 transponder and compromise on the quality of the very few HD channels on the transponder. The quality of Discovery HD World has been adversely affected due to these new SD channels being added onto it.
Please keep us updated on the latest on Dialog TV as the days progress.