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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Satellite TV, Piracy and the Dreambox in Egypt

In the last post, I mentioned that we only have access to free-to-air television channels here at the Cairo condo. I could stop off at one of the OSN (Orbit Showtime Network) offices and buy an access card to slip into our satellite receiver but I've never figured it was worth it. As I understand it, the access cards are about the same price as at home for a monthly package. Why bother when you already get several hundred channels for free including three or four with U.S. movies?

One or two friends have suggested a cheaper alternative. "Get a Dreambox." You pay for the Dreambox, make an internet connection and receive many, many channels for a nominal monthly fee of about $2.

It is actually an interesting form of organized piracy of satellite signals. This article from 2008 in the Daily News says:
Seventy-five percent of pay-TV viewers use illegal connections to get the service at a low cost, resulting in more than 43.2 percent of Egyptian households having access to pay-TV, revealed Egypt Media Survey 2008, which was carried out by Arab Advisors Group.
And that was before the DreamBox got to be popular! Well, I was giving it serious consideration but now I see that OSN, the legitimate supplier, distributed new boxes to all of their paying subscribers and changed their protection system on December 19th. OSN's website now displays this message:

I'm sure that the Dreambox people are hard at work on cracking the new scheme.

But this explains what happened the other night. One of my friends was showing me "the new way we get the pay channels" but nothing was coming through when he clicked on them. I guess he hadn't got the word yet on last month's change.

1 comment:


Thousands of channels in cooperation of different countries are being broadcast seven days a week in 24 hours it would be more likely as cable channels in other Asian countries. With free satellite television access there is no more to ask for.
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