In preparation for its launch in May this year, South African-owned commercial satellite pay-TV licensee On Digital Media (ODM) is currently broadcasting seven test channels from its headquarters in Woodmead, Johannesburg. The broadcast signals will be backhauled to the Munich facility of ODMÕs international uplink partner, leading global satellite network SES Astra.
ODM is utilising the Sirius 4 satellite, which covers sub-Saharan Africa from Northern Nigeria to Cape Town. The broadcaster has contracted three transponders, which give it the capacity to broadcast 55 channels at launch in MPEG4 DVB-S2.
At the time of going to press ODM was installing the remainder of its broadcast infrastructure in its 3-600m2 premises and has finalised the testing of its set top box (STB) technology, which has now gone into full mass production. ODM is using the NDS conditional access encryption, with the STB units manufactured by local supplier UEC.
The price of the STB has yet to be revealed. Although the STBs are high definition (HD) ready, ODM will initially broadcast in standard definition (SD). While ODM says its service can be received on a re-positioned DStv satellite dish, it is also manufacturing and recommending its own dish as it is larger and more stable in inclement weather.
Read more in the March 2010 issue of Screen Africa