Telenet to introduce CI+

CAM_ci-plus_genericWATCH VIDEO. Belgian cable operator Telenet is set to launch a CI+ module before the summer.

The operator made the announcement in response to a campaign, which the Belgian consumers organisation Test Aankoop plans to launch against “unnecessary set-top boxes”. Called “Championship box throwing”, the organisation is holding an event on March 15 for consumers to dispose of their decoder. (See the video below, which Test-Aankoop posted on YouTube.) The organisation is also starting a petition against the boxes.

According to Test-Aankoop consumers can save up to €100 per year when they have a CI+ module. Telenet, however, disagrees, and said that with a module viewers are lacking a number of advanced digital TV services such as video on demand and catch-up TV. The operator said the CI+ module is an addition to its digital product, not a replacement.

The launch of the anti-decoder campaign comes just days before a press event that Telenet is organising. This Thursday, February 21, the cabler is introducing its multiscreen Yelo TV service. According to Belgian press reports, Telenet is preparing the introduction of a CI+ module. Other Liberty Global operators such as UPC in the Netherlands, Unitymedia Kabel BW in germany and UPC Cablecom in Switzerland already have a CI+ product in the shops.

In a statement, Test-Aankoop said that only the satellite DTH providers TV Vlaanderen and TeleSat offer a CI+ module – allowing consumers a free choice of reception hardware. The association also said that according to research about half of all cable subscribers just want a basic digital TV subscription without the added extras.

The decision by Telenet to drop support for the In-Di decoder tipped the scale for Test-Aankoop. “The annual reports of the cable operators show how profitable the interactive services that they offer are. The drop in the bucket that made it overflow was the decision by Telenet in November 2012 to stop support for the In-Di platform. Indeed, the In-Di decoder is not interactive and property of the customer. Hence it brings nothing to the operator.” (Editor’s note: In-Di is the digital platform of the Interkabel cable networks that Telenet acquired some years ago)