SA is racing to meet the digital TV migration deadline. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
Johannesburg - Broadcaster e.tv is “disappointed” with a court judgment that struck down the television company’s bid to reverse government policy on set-top box encryption.
Earlier this year, e.tv turned to the Gauteng High Court to challenge Minister of Communications Faith Muthambi’s decision to exclude encryption for five million subsidised set-top boxes (STBs).
Set-top boxes are devices that will allow analogue television sets to receive digital signals.
And e.tv wants encryption on these devices to “prevent non-compliant STBs from receiving digital broadcast signals”. The broadcaster also said that a lack of encryption could make it difficult for the company to provide broadcasts in high definition.
But the Gauteng High Court handed down judgment on the case this week and it dismissed e.tv’s application to review parts of government policy.
READ MORE: Why e.tv lost set-top box court case
"e.tv is disappointed with the court judgment and is considering its options but remains committed to the roll-out of DTT (Digital Terrestrial Television) and other digital platforms such as free satellite platform, OpenView HD,” said e.tv’s chief operating officer Mark Rosin in a statement on Friday.
“e.tv's channel offering for DTT has been ready for some time and we look forward to the opportunity to offer South Africans a variety of great channels on DTT comprising many hours of local dramas, movies, music, kids programming and educational shows," said Rosin.
In the statement, Rosin also reiterated e.tv’s reasons for opposing encryption.
“e.tv has long argued that government subsidised DTT set-top boxes should have the capability to support encryption,” said the company.
“This would prevent pirate STBs from receiving the broadcast signal, thereby ensuring: A uniform and reliable viewer experience, the ability to broadcast premium and HD content, and a boost for the local manufacturing industry,” the company added.
Read the Gauteng High Court's judgment below.
Part one of the judgment
Part two of the judgment