OSN readies HD to tune out pirates and porn
DUBAI - Orbit Showtime Network (OSN) said on Sunday its efforts against the twin-threats of piracy and pornography were working as it fights to stem losses from the illegal encryption of its channels.
OSN, the rebranded network as a result of last year's merger of Orbit and Showtime, said it was working with telecom authorities and introducing new technology such as its new high-definition box next week to fight piracy, chief executive officer Marc-Antoine d'Halluin told Maktoob News.
The first new package from the combined Orbit and Showtime network will including three high-definition channels, and the new decoder with anti-piracy features.
"We work a lot with the UAE's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) and have implemented systems with telecom service providers, Etisalat and du, to fight together the online servers that are providing (illegal) pay TV codes," he said.
Their joint efforts aim to block 500 Internet servers transmitting pirate TV codes to 1.5 million illegal set top boxes active across the Gulf, according to Dubai-based trade magazine MediaWeek Middle East in July last year.
Asked to provide details of how effective the combined efforts had been so far, d'Halluin declined to offer figures.
"We see a very meaningful impact on our sales that went up by double-digit since we started this activity," he said.
A similar campaign is being waged against porn and piracy in Saudi Arabia.
"The main form (of piracy) in Saudi is through the Internet connected to the Dreambox and we will make sure new systems prevent this - we are losing too much money," d'Halluin said, but gave no estimates about the losses.
The Dreambox is among several set-top boxes being used for illegally encrypting pay-TV channels, including those of OSN.
D'Halluin said the new OSN high defintion box would "make our life a lot easier" in anti-piracy efforts.
OSN will soon begin distributing "hundreds of thousands" of new decoders compatible with HD television technology.
Starting Monday, OSN will launch 8 new channels including OSN Arabia, which will show Hollywood movies and TV series dubbed into Arabic.
D'Halluin believes HD television will dominate the region's pay-TV in the coming years.
"This region has a considerably higher percentage of HD-ready television sets than in many other regions in the world. What they need is HD channels," he said.