| March 19, 2012, 6:24 p.m.
By Gregory Gondwe, Lilongwe, Malawi
Multichoice Malawi, a franchise of MultiChoice Africa, a multichannel digital satellite television operator across the African continent, has announced that it has changed its software and issued new smartcards. For subscribers to continue accessing their programming and prepare their decoders for future enhancements, they need to replace the old smartcards.
Smartcards help decode the programming information from satellites to the decoder. Multichoice says hackers have infiltrated the system and the introduction of the new software will bar illegal tapping into programming.
Communication sent by the company to subscribers indicates that failure to replace the old smartcards with new ones will prevent subscribers from receiving the DStv signal.
Multichoice Malawi Regional Manager for Central and Northern Regions, Titania Katenga-Kaunda, told Biztechafrica that this is the company’s continuous effort to combat piracy of DStv across the platforms.
“MultiChoice embarked on swap outs of all smartcards up to and including version 5.3 at no cost to the subscribers and this process will be done by 31st March, 2012,” she said.
She said in terms of communication, their corporate office sent a forced Digital Satellite Decoder message to affected subscribers only and they hope the campaign for all affected smartcards should have been swapped out by the set date.
Those that will not have swapped their cards after the deadline will be required to purchase a new smartcard.
Although the company says it is swapping all versions up to and including version 5.3 of their smart cards at no cost where both decoder and smart card needs to be swapped out, the subscriber will have to pay a swap out fee for the new decoder.
Older Model 660 – 720i decoders are the ones on the line for swapping.
Subscribers in Malawi have been cramming Multichoice offices in Capital Lilongwe and Commercial Capital Blantyre to participate in the exercise.
Those who qualified for the swapping are the subscribers whose decoders and smartcards are working and one thing to consider before identifying affected smartcard version are those written on the bottom under the gold chip.
The swapping process which is ongoing at the moment is taking approximately 5 -10 minutes, which includes replacing the old smartcard, and reloading services on the new smartcard.
MultiChoice is only conducting swaps for smartcard ranges SC Models:
V5.3.36 (Zeta NXP)
Philips S/C MCASKU2
Philips S/C MCASKU4
Philips S/C MCASKU5
Philips Sc model 1
Philips Sc model 2
PHILIPS SC model 3
Philips Sc model 4