Several thousand households have been watching StarHub cable TV for free
And they are also watching English Premier League matches without forking out a cent.
September 3, 2013 @ 11:41 am
Illegal technology has over the past few years allowed thousands of households in Singapore to access StarHub cable TV content for free.
The illegal set-top boxes, which act as cable TV signal decoders, are sold online and cost between $150 and $250.
StarHub estimates that there were 5,400 illegal users in 2010 and the numbers could be higher now based on anecdotal evidence.
Sellers of illegal set-top boxes, which are used to decode StarHub’s cable TV encrypted broadcast signals, have been promoting their wares through fliers in mailboxes.
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Service uses Internet Protocol television (IPTV) technology and requires a subscriber’s box to be authenticated by the network before content is streamed across.
System works differently. Its signals are encrypted and broadcast. Illegal boxes can decode StarHub’s signals and allow users to view all 100-plus channels without having to pay a monthly subscription.
There is a renewed interest in this issue now after pay-TV provider SingTel drew attention to owners of bootleg set-top boxes who have been able to access English Premier League matches without paying subscription fees.
This is two weeks after SingTel began sharing its EPL broadcasts with rival StarHub under the Media Development Authority (MDA) cross-carriage rule.
Under this new rule, StarHub football fans can watch the EPL by making payment of an additional $59.90 to SingTel since it holds the rights to the league on cable TV here.
SingTel claimed that its own mioTV boxes are pirate-proof.
StarHub has about 530,000 househilds as pay-TV subscribers charges $33.17 a month for its basic TV subscription.
It estimated a $2.6 million loss in revenue as a result of freeloaders in 2010. No current figures are available.