Friday, December 02, 2011

DStv Mobile "Cannot Play Channel" Ripoff - Fixed

DStv is a perfectly good example of a large company that sucks. My latest frustration is the following message: "Cannot play channel. E16-4 Service is currently scrambled". I got this while testing their latest DStv Mobile device: the "Walka", a handheld device that can display up to 16 channels, for only R36 per month.
The Walka Handheld TV is a slim, lightweight device with a 3.5” viewing screen providing digital visual and audio quality. Its introduction gives DStv Mobile subscribers even more ways to access mobile TV on the go, anywhere, anytime.
Considering that their "Premium" package costs an eye-watering R559 (US$70) per month, the R36 per device seems a much better deal, especially since there are 5 sports channels, and you would have to get the Premium package to get all of them.
Sounds too good to be true. It is. On the DStv Mobile web site they list the channels that are available. The last one on the list is "M-Net Mobile".
Even though there is a little asterisk to explain that the channel is not the same as M-Net, it omits a very important piece of information: available to Premium subscribers only. You have to infer this from their "About Mobile TV" page, which lists the "bouquets" available.
I called the "Customer Service" number and spoke to an officious little man who kept interrupting me and telling me that it's all in the "Terms and Conditions" on their web site. It isn't. It's hidden away in the Drifta FAQ, not the "Walka" FAQ. Why hide it from the customer? Why not tell the customer when he buys the product? I have been to their head office 3 times with Drifta enquiries, plus phoned their sales line, and no one has ever mentioned the M-Net restriction, or discussed "bouquets".
Speaking of "bouquets", the only way to watch cricket on DStv is with the "Premium" subscription, or with DStv Mobile on a 3.5" screen. So we have downgraded from the R600 per month package to "EasyView" which only costs R20/month. Granted, it only shows the channels we pay for with a TV license, plus Aljazeera English and CCTV, the Chinese english news channel. Since AJE is infinitely better than CNN, I'm happy with the arrangement, and we can watch sport on the Walka. It pays for itself within 2 months.
Update: DStv have updated their web site to make it clearer in the list the channels that M-Net is only available on the Premium subscription.
Update Monday 9 Jan: 5 weeks after purchasing the Walka its screen went weird. I took it to their Customer Service Centre and they replaced it without any fuss. Good service.


sahil said...

glad to hear of their good service. If you don't mind, what do you think of the Sucker stand that comes with the drifta? is it similar to a GPS suction stand which you could place on a window?

Donn Edwards said...

@sahil: The "sucker" stand only sticks to the back of the Walka. It won't work in a car like a GPS, but I think that's a good thing, since we don't want anyone watching TV while driving!

HTH! Donn

Donn Edwards said...

BTW, the Drifta itself works in the car, and I have been able to follow the cricket by listening to the commentary while driving, while my wife watches the picture in the passenger seat.