Multi-Choice TV (Barbados)
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Multi-Choice TV (MCTV) is a television service provider in Barbados. It is a Multichannel Multipoint Distribution Service (MMDS) or DVB-C wireless microwave-based broadcast subscription television provider. They offer a variety of packages which can be considered as comparatively priced to similar providers throughout the world. The service began operating on December 14, 1987 under the name Subscription Television (STV), which had very few channels offered. The main channels were CNN, ESPN, and Lifetime Television, with an occasional option of pay per view (PPV) being offered for local special events and the occasional international PPV sports broadcast. In 1996 it was upgraded to include a new platform called Multi-Choice TV which was an analog wireless microwave broadcast offering many more channels (e.g., BBC, Canada's CBC, TBN) eventually maxing the bandwidth capacity and having to upgrade the service to a digital broadcast system. Multi-Choice TV have not fully converted all of its subscribers yet. The system relies on line-of-sight propagation so total island wide coverage have proved to be a problem and the provider is looking into alternatives. A recent press release have indicated their interest in a partnership with the local telco LIME. From 1 September 2008 MCTV replaced the Travel Channel on 511 (part of the High Flyer package) by Setanta Sports.
Given that the service uses a Yagi antenna to receive the encrypted broadcast, which in turn is then decrypted by the provider's set top box. The provider now has the problem of signal theft by pirates using modified DVB-C compatible receivers and PCI cards with the most popular being the "Dreambox" manufactured in Germany to decode their signal which is based on Nagravision which is a conditional access control system developed by Kudelski. In order to prevent such activity in August, 2006 the Government of Barbados stiffened the local Barbadian copyright laws, in addition to a strengthening of the laws on cable TV piracy. The CBC provider is planning for further circumvention of the Dream boxes in 2009. In 2014 MCTV have gone through a massive upgrade of improving their services by including new channels such as MovieCity Action and Hollywood,AMC,KTLA,WGN,Disney,NBC Sports network etc. Also MCTV have upgraded their systems to 20 stunning HD channels such as ABC,NBC,CBS & FOX and have also added new PVR boxes. MCTV new slogan is MCTV the Right Choice and are increasing their channel line ups and packaging for their loyal customers in Barbados. MCTV is still the number 1 provider in Barbados but they have competition from Lime Barbados and Flow, but the advantage MCTV has is, it does not depend on the internet to provide single for their customers and when there is rainy and cloudy condition MCTV still provides good service.
Alleyne, Barry (28 November 2009). "DREAM OVER". Nation Newspaper. Retrieved 2 December 2009.
Our investigations also discovered that Dream Box users were able to get a free service since early 2008, because CBC's old encryption software only scrambled their MCTV signal every two minutes, which allowed the Dream Box to recover the signal.
But the new security will leave the Dream Boxes crippled. "This is a money business, and encryption is always changing, and not cheap. The new software will actually scramble the MCTV signal every ten to 15 seconds, so Dream Boxes will not be able to keep up, and eventually lose the entire signal," the source added.
The service uses the NTSC television format.