Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Is the 'DREAM' really over?

Last month, the government banned local Satellite shops from selling reprogrammed receivers that were used to illegally view subscription channels.

This whole market started off with the launch of counterfeit subscription cards, that were cheaper than the original ones, the Satellite companies fought back with smarter and better encoding & encryption systems which would change the codes numerous times each minute and could only be read by the original cards. Inventive programmers and engineers were able to find alternative means of working around the efforts of the Satellite channels, either directly through reprogramming receivers or by installing pre-programmed chips onto the units.

Now, there are numerous types & models of receivers that can be programmed to either accept 'serial codes' manually input or connection directly to the internet for updates, all of them give free access to channels showing programs which we would not see otherwise, without having subscribed to the actual distributors or local agents, and paying a hefty monthly/yearly fee.

The most infamous of these has been the 'Dream Box' (DB), a receiver that connects to the internet, and automatically accesses a dedicated IP address located somewhere on the net, the address of which has been programmed into the receiver unit itself. The receiver automatically synchs and updates codes by retrieving them directly from distributing IP addresses, thereby preventing disruption of the illegal service, to the satisfaction of the customers.

This was of course done for an initial purchase and installation fee, followed by a yearly subscription fee that was much less than one would have to pay through legal channels.

Today's article in the GDN titled 'Clampdown on 'Dream Boxes'' may be a formal confirmation or a reinforcement of the government's seriousness in this matter, directed to the Satellite shops, who have in turn adhered to the ban and discontinued stock piling the DBs receivers for sale to consumers, this is definitely a blow to their bottom lines.

YET, there is always a black market, and greed is the driving force behind any illegal scheme, so the sale and installation of such receivers will continue; only now the purchase price will become higher but still cheaper than getting the service through legal channels.

If the government is serious, they will come down hard on the perpetrators, this will surely force many Satellite shops to close, as most of their income is a direct result of the sale of such illegal services, though they may not be officially announcing it.

To an extent i say the satellite channel distributors deserve this theft because of the high subscription prices that they charge, due to the distribution rights that they purchase for the various desired channels and the monopoly that they then have on the market.

On the other hand, illegal is illegal is illegal, so i think the best rout should be for the Satellite channel distributors to lower their subscription fees to such an extent that it would not be cost effective to install the illegal receivers.

What next?