My Openview HD Experience

The cost effectiveness of OpenView HD is certainly something to be happy about. It is that hope of not having to pay my monthly subscription to DSTV that I was elated to receive a free decoder and installation from the folks at OpenHD View. It has been about three weeks now that I have had OpenView HD in my house and I feel I have experienced it long enough to form an informed opinion about the product. 

The good

Hey… their tagline say it all, PAY ONCE – Enjoy FOREVER!!  There is no bigger incentive to have OVHD than that. On that, it is top marks all the way. A+

Even though on the packaging it says it may take up to 7 days to get an installer to come and install the dish and setup the decoder for you, it literally took 3 hours from the moment I called the company. 

Ok fair enough, I live in Joburg North so it would probably be different from someone who lives in a village somewhere in rural SA but I was very impressed. 

I was surprised that after the scathing remarks by the SABC that OVHD had lied to the public that it will carry the SABC channels, the channel are actually available on the platform. Who was lying here? Needless to say, having the channels on the platform adds some entertainment. Truth be told, anyone would be happy not to have to be limited to welfare channels.  
The Bad

Firstly, Openview HD is no DSTV and while they are competing with DSTV for the pay per view market they certainly have not promised to compete with the multi-choice offering’s content y, yet. With that, I had no major expectations that OVHD was going to be as packed with channels and variety as DSTV is. At least for now. 

That said, I think I am a relatively smart guy but trying to navigate through the settings and to setup the decoder and find stuff is a bit of a task I certainly have had no patience to indulge on. 

Do not get me started on all those buttons on the remote which are just there to confuse you further but serve no actual purpose.

Again I say… being the relatively smart guy I think I am, I would have expected that if there was any TV Guide in the system I most likely would have figured out how to find it by now  but alas I haven’t. Therefore I can confidently proclaim that it does not exist.

With that I have been on the mercy of channel surfing to find, no stumble, on to shows I find interesting. Even at this point I cannot tell you what time are Khanyi Mbau’s show and Masechaba’s Ek Se aired on eKasi+, simply because they do not advertise the shows enough, if at all. All I have been seeing is Gumba Gumba being advertised.

The Not So Ugly but Very Bad

I think this more of the channel  owner’s issue than that of OVHD but since they host the channel, they get to take the flack too. You may have picked up by now that eKasi+ is my favorite channel on the platform. Unfortunately, the channel is nothing but etv with 4 new shows, the rest are shows that ran on etv and are now repeated on this channel.

The channel has absolutely no identity except being a rerun platform for etv. It is very disappointing, much like Mzansi Magic and Mzansi Wethu. Oh… and the annoying wrestling has followed the likes of Blame It On Fame and Rolling With Zola from Etv to eKasi+.

The worst kick in the gut about OVHD is this little message you get on the box: TO VIEW HIGH DEFINITION CHANNELS YOU WILL NEED AN HDMI CABLE. 
  1. What the hell is an HDMI cable?
  2. For a service called Openview HD one would assume they will give you the HD cable
  3. The guy who installed my OVHD did not tell me I needed to get a cable until my friend did.
Come on now. Not all of us are tech-savvy. You need to inform us about these things. Having been used to my DSTV, I was a little disappointed by the quality of the picture on OVHD without knowing that I actually didn't have HD running on my decoder because I did not have the cable to connect it.  

The Verdict

To be fair, this is only the premier for OVHD. Hopefully with time they can improve their service. When it’s all said and done, the product is still a game changer in the business. The more improvement they can make, the more appealing it will be to the masses, even some of the DSTV subscribers.

The most important thing OVHD needs to do is to make sure that they offer a good service. Cheap does not necessarily have to be mediocre.  Fixing the issues consumers might have with the service will definitely go a long way.

Consumers know that they will not get the latest series from America or PVR their favorite shows but with the growth of illegal downloading of TV series on sites like Torrent, very few people will tune in every week to watch these American shows anyway when they can download the whole seasons online. OVHD will then become the cheaper alternative to welfare TV and the expensive DSTV.

It will hard to win over spoilt DSTV subscribers and for now they may not be the right target for OVHD, which I hope the company is aware of.

For now OVHD should not try and dethrone DTSV yet, they need to build brand loyalty in this country with their consumers. They should aim to become as powerful as, Checkers, Colgate, Omo and Sunlight, which are brands that have become a part of our culture.  

Their trump card is that, while DTSV is actually very affordable with its optional bouquets, the brand is still seen as a luxury. With that, a lot of South African in the rural and lower income communities do not even bother enquiring about DSTV. That is where OVHD ought to slip in and build their loyal consumer base.

The DSTV market will come later when the platform has built the numbers and can attract advertising.  I do not know how their roadshow is going but they should go out their and state their presence. Do not just go to the popular townships like Soweto, Umlazi, Langa, Alexandra, etc. Lower income people live in other places beside these townships. Go to places like Mogwase, Middleburg, Giyani, etc.

OVHD should know who they are trying to target at this point. Social media, may be great for the investors to know what is happen with the brand and for world to be aware of the company BUT it is definitely not a platform that will sell this product. Word of mouth and reaching potential consumers will be more effective.

Do not believe the hype. Majority of SA’s youth is not on Facebook or Twitter. Actually Mxit is still the most used communication platform for teenagers and young adults in SA. While fifteen year olds may not afford the R1500 they certainly will be the ones convincing their parents and peers to get the product. People still do not know about OVHD.

How do you reach those people? Certainly not by TV Ads with parents moaning about not wanting to pay for TV or use the china that is only used when the Pastor comes to visit. You make the product exciting. 

When Eita came out, their focus was not to convince consumers that the other guys are reaping them off. They made their product exciting thus creating an interest and appeal.

Final words…

I am still not convinced to ditch my DStv. At the moment I am enjoying having both DSTV and OVHD. However, I am excited about the future that platforms like OVHD promise.

Thanks to Dreamcatcher and Openview HD for my free decoder and installation.

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