Friday, December 29, 2006

2006 : A Year in Review - CBNsat

This year turned out to be a pretty interesting and eventful year for CBNsat Subscribers. Lets take some time and have a look at what happened in 2006.

  • CBNsat which was launched in 2005 turned out to be the market leader in pay television in Sri Lanka and successfully sold over 25,000 connections under one year.
  • The two major channels that were launched this year were ESPN and Star Sports.
  • A crisis hit the pay television industry when CBNsat was controversially closed down by vested interests and unfounded allegations were thrown at them.
  • The formation of CBNsat Subscribers Unite to fight for the rights of CBNsat Customers who were unnecessarily victimized due to the closure.
  • CBNsat who took the authorities to court and took part in a six month long court battle. This finally ended when Dialog Telekom took control of CBNsat and recommenced transmissions in December.
  • The Founder Chairman of CBNSat Mr. Muhunthan Canagey who can be regarded as the Father of DTH in Sri Lanka had to unfortunately resign from his post as Chairman since he sold the company to Dialog Telekom and the resignation was more quickly than he would have desired due to threats from vested interests who were behind the CBNsat closure.
The next year seems to be a really good year for CBNsat which is expected to officially launch under Dialog Telekom early next year possibly in January. More new channels are expected to become available on CBNSat as the year progresses.

Well that's all folks for this year since we are taking the weekend and January 1st 2007 off, so we will be back with you from January 2nd 2007. Please keep sending us your valuable emails and also updating this blog with your comments on the latest happenings regarding CBNsat during the next few days while we are away and also throughout the New Year 2007. For a full review on all the events in the Sri Lankan television and radio media front please read the TV & Radio Sri Lanka Blog post called "2006 : A Year in Review".

We like to take this opportunity to wish all of our fellow Bloggers, CBNsat Subscribers Unite, the Staff and Management of CBNsat specially Mr. Muhunthan Canagey - Founder Chairman, Current Chairman CBNsat Mr. Yusof Annuar Yaacob, Chairman Dialog Telekom Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya and also Mrs. Dilani Nandasiri Manageress Legal who updated us on developments, as and when she is permitted to release information to us A Happy, Peaceful and Prosperous New Year 2007

Thursday, December 28, 2006

More Channels back on air

First of all it is nice to be back and we like to thank all of you who kept this blog going by your informative comments during the past few days. We hope that you had a wonderful Christmas watching CBNsat.

Looks like CBNsat has brought back more channels back on air during the past few days and some by yesterday. Accordingly Swarnavahini came back on air some time back and CNN, Animax, Pogo and Cartoon Network are also back.

It also seems that the problem of sound coming on only one speaker (for stereo televisions) which was previously on History Channel is now on NGC and also on CNN so to get sound on both speakers of a TV you have to select the left sound channel for both speakers using the television remote control or the decoder remote control. It also seems that some of the channels are permanently on multilingual sound and it also has to be selected using the appropriate sound channel. Hopefully the CBNsat technical guys will sort this problem by allowing people to select the appropriate language using the designated function for language in the remote control and not by using the left or right sound channels. It seems that some of the channels have Tamil language broadcasts too for English programs and we believe that CBN should provide this as it will prove to be popular among the Tamils in this country.

We are still unable to confirm whether Goal TV 1, Goal TV 2, Fashion TV, Raj TV and Raj Plus have been dropped from CBNsat. We also hear that CBNSat has activated four slots for radio stations but it seems that nothing can be heard from those frequencies.

There seem to be some picture clarity problems too with some channels pixelating more than the others.

We hope that CBNsat will activate the Discovery Channels soon too and complete their original line up of channels and then move to activate their new channels and also sort out all their transmission problems before the end of this year.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Our Wishes for the season

We would like to take this opportunity to Wish the subscribers of CBNsat, the management of CBNSat, CBNSat Subscribers Unite and all our fellow readers a Very Merry Christmas and we hope that you will be able to enjoy this festive season to the fullest.

We are taking a break of one week (we should be back towards the latter part of next week) in view of the festive season so please update this blog with the latest developments regarding CBNsat. We are also updating this blog to the latest version of "Blogger", so due to this upgrade their may be some difficulties in commenting, so please bear with us if there are some problems while we are away. To minimize the problems we are compelled to activate the feature to allow Anonymous Comments so that the blog will operate smoothly and we would like to request you not to misuse this feature. We are trying our best to make sure that the switch over will be smooth and with minimum interruptions.

In addition there still seems to be some transmission problems with CBNsat and we hope that all of these are sorted out very soon and it will be great if some of the children's channels such as Pogo and Cartoon Network as well as educational channels such Discovery Channel can be added before the Christmas weekend so that there will be some quality entertainment for the family. It also seems that even though most of the new Zee Channels have been named in the transmission the actual transmission is carrying the MTV & VH1 channels on the named Zee frequencies.

Once again we would like to request all you to keep updating us on the latest regarding CBNsat as the days progress.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Commercial Launch likely in January 07

We are reliably told that it is likely that the commercial relaunch of CBNsat may place in take in Jan 07 but this commercial launch will only take place once all the channels and all the transmission problems are sorted out. However we are not sure whether the company will retain the name CBNsat since Dialog Telekom may change the brand name.

It seems that some of the channels that CBNSat had previously are still not up linked because the new management has to refresh the contracts that were signed with those service providers.

At present we believe that the following new channels are available on CBNsat.

Zee Cafe - English
Zee Studio - English
Zee Sports
Zee TV - Hindi
Zee Cinema - Hindi
Zee Trendz - Fashion Channel
Zee Music - Hindi

In addition MTV, VH1 and SET are on CBNsat however we believe that CBNSat should get SET Max as they will be showing the ICC Cricket World Cup 07 and it also doubles as a Hindi Movie channel so it should be a better option that SET.

It seems that two channels are named as "DT" and "D" and some suggest that it may be Disney Toon Channel and Disney Channel but we are not sure of this and it could be just carrying the name since this is a test transmission.

We also hope that all the local television channels and radio stations come aboard CBNsat since they will be able to access viewers and listeners who are beyond the reach of their transmitters. It also seems that CBNSat customers will be able to enjoy their services free until the commercial launch and the free is said to include HBO too.

Please keep us updated on the latest regarding CBNsat as the days progress.

New Channels on CBNsat

CBNSat has introduced some new channels on their lineup according to information that is being received by us. They include the Zee Package which consists of channels such as Zee Cinema, Zee Music, etc.

In addition the MTV, VH1 and SET channels have also returned with the activation of their second transponder.

We are getting unconfirmed reports that Goal TV 1 and Goal TV 2 are to be dropped by CBNSat and frankly no one will miss these two channels since anyone hardly watches them.

We would like our fellow bloggers to tell us exactly what are the Zee Channels that are available and do they also include Zee Cafe, Zee Sports and Zee Studio. We also hope that CBNsat will activate the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Travel and Living and CNN soon. Not to forget Cartoon Network and Pogo which was enjoyed by children and adults alike.

It is better if they can activate the channels that they had prior to the shutdown on a priority basis because these channels were the ones that were being enjoyed by CBNsat customers. We are not so sure on the reason behind the delay in activating the channels. There seems to be a problem in the sound being received on History Channel since only the left sound signal seems to be working according to one of our bloggers.

We are sure that CBNsat engineers are working round the clock to sort out these issues and we hope that they get all the channels and their problems sorted out before Christmas for their customers to have a CBN filled Christmas.

Please keep us updated on the latest regarding CBNSat as the days progress.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Interruption due to maintenance

We have received information that CBNsat will be interrupting their test transmission for system maintenance today (12th Dec 06) from 10AM to 6PM.

We are not sure what is the type of maintenance that they are carrying out. They be trying to sort out some of the transmission problems that they are having at the moment or they may activating the second transponder. They may also be planning to up link some of the other channels that they had prior to the shutdown.

If any of you have further information regarding this maintenance we welcome you to update this blog with the information.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Transmission Problems

Looks like CBNsat is facing some transmission problems with AXN being down for the most part during the weekend. It seems that they have not got that fixed still.

We are also receiving reports that the Barclays EPL matches shown over ESPN during the weekend were carrying Hindi commentary instead of English. To comment on this, we feel that CBN may not have selected the correct language feed since there are multiple language feeds for some of the Indian Channels. This may be due to the fact of an oversight on their part. We are reliably informed that the Star Sport Barclays EPL matches commentary were in English. From day one the Indian version of ESPN and Star Sports were being shown on CBNsat.

On the South Africa - India series it seems that since ESS got the rights for an Indian tour after a long time (usually Ten Sports shows these) so they decided to give a total Hindi broadcast over Star Sports. It was a decision by ESS that resulted in Star Sports giving the match in Hindi instead of carrying out a multiple language broadcast over ESPN. This is not something that happens usually unless the entire sporting event is Indian.

If one studies the operations of all these International channels that have Indian broadcasts like Discovery, NGC, Nick, etc they have multiple language broadcasts in Hindi, Telungu, Tamil for originally English programs and it is very rarely that they show a dubbed program only in the dubbed language. Even ESPN and Star Sports have multiple language broadcasts for very popular live events but some programs like wrestling are shown only in Hindi since Star World shows it in English we believe. Multiple language feeds are done all over the world.

We believe that CBN will link up all the other local channels which were with them prior to the shutdown once they activate their second transponder.

We hope that CBN gets their language feeds sorted out and will provide their customers with better quality feeds of the current channels where ever possible and it should also be cost effective and should not drive the subscription rates too high. Selecting higher quality feeds we believe will depend on the explanation we made on our previous post.

We also hear that ESS has got the rights for all ICC global events from 2007 to 2015 beginning after the World Cup of 2007 and under that they have the rights to broadcast two World Cups 2011 and 2015 and a minimum of three champions trophy matches and the Twenty Twenty World Cup in 2007 and 2009. Unfortunately this does not include the next World Cup in 2007 so CBNsat will have to get Sony Max in order for it's customers to watch the World Cup.

Please keep us updated on the latest regarding CBNsat.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Channel and Feed Question plus Online Poll

There seems to be a very hearty discussion going on with our fellow bloggers regarding the channels on CBNsat and their respective feeds. We would also like to shed some light on this subject. At the moment the HBO, HBO Signature and Cinemax feeds are Far East Asia feeds whereas the other channels are South Asia feeds (a.k.a Indian Feeds).

When you take a sports channel for example when rights are issued for sporting events there are so many regulations that the broadcaster is bound by according to the coverage of the broadcaster and the region that they serve. On CBNsat we are receiving the Indian feed of Star Sports and ESPN, we believe that we may not get the other feed since if Ten Sports for example has exclusive rights for a cricket tournament in this part of the world and if Ten Sports does not have access to the East Asia market and Star shows the same matches in that East Asia then there will be a legal problem if Star allows CBNsat to have access to their East Asia feed since Ten Sports has exclusive rights for South Asia. Now channels like National Geographic, Discovery have multiple feeds but we get their Indian feed and not their East Asia feed and this may be attributed to the fact that the operator has designated Sri Lanka under their Indian feed and getting the East Asia feed will be costly or maybe their East Asia feed cannot be accessed here due to coverage issues.

It is the same for entertainment channels too. AXN East Asia which we get has the exclusive rights to show "Lost" but AXN India cannot show "Lost" because Star Movies India has the rights for "Lost" in India. Comet Cable gives the East Asia feed of Star Movies and Star Movies East Asia does not show "Lost" because AXN East Asia has the rights.

We can always request CBNSat to show the East Asia feed over the Indian feed however it also depends on the operator of the channel as well as the cost involved in getting the feed since it may result in a big difference in the package pricing.

AXN and HBO have designated Sri Lanka under their East Asia feed since their India feeds are targeting India viewers specifically whose taste is very different to those of Sri Lankans. The problem is that the operators of most of these channels have not identified Sri Lanka as a niche market for their channels due to the very low penetration of cable television here. We need to improve cable television penetration in Sri Lanka and then when we become a viable source of income for the operators of these channels then they may even include a Sinhala and Tamil language sound feed for their channels. Even strict regulation of the cable television industry will have a negative impact on the channel operators.

On the topic of channel selection. We believe that CBNsat will allow their customers to choose the channels by making their own customized package. For this to happen CBNsat will have to first increase the amount of channels that they offer on their platform and doing this now may not be a viable option. CBNsat will add more Hindi and Tamil channels if they want to capture a market outside Sri Lanka such as Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, etc. We do not think that CBNsat will be able to enter the Indian market since it is being dominated by Dish, TataSky and also because they show East Asia feeds of some channels and the Indian DTH operators will object to it. If CBNsat is to enter the Indian market then they will have to block the East Asia feeds of those channels for Indian customers.

On other technological fronts we hope that CBNsat will introduce pay per view for sporting events and movies, etc. They should also include gaming and eventually broadband internet. We believe that all these will be done but it will take some time in the light of the recent events that have taken place.

We hope that this information was helpful for our fellow bloggers.

There is an on line poll being carried out by CBNsat Subscribers Unite on the channels that you would like to be made available on CBNsat. If a channel that you like is not on the list please send an email to and they will consider adding that channel also to the list.

Local channels making a comeback on CBNsat

Looks like TNL and Derana have made it back onto the CBNsat platform once again. CBNsat was back just in time for the Sri Lanka - New Zealand cricket series which is not being shown on any of the local television channels.

We hope that all the local channels will be available on CBNsat soon and we urge them to sign up with CBNsat. It is great that the engineering team of CBNsat is working full time to get all the channels back on track. According to reports it seems that AXN is not working on CBNsat. Lets hope that the engineers get this channel back on air soon since this is a very popular channel.

Please update us on the latest developments on CBNsat as the days progress and also update us on the status of their second transponder.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Channel additions to CBNsat

On 05/12/2006

According to reports being received it seems that CBNSat has added the following channels to it's lineup
  • HBO
  • HBO Signature
  • Cinemax
Please update this blog when more channels are added to the lineup

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Great Weekend

Looks like it was a great weekend for the CBNsat Subscribers since they got their cable tv operator back on air. According to reports received the channels that are presently available are BBC World, AXN, NGC, History Channel, A1, Nick, MTV, Zone Reality (formerly known as Reality TV), ESPN, Star Sports.

Accordingly the other frequencies are running promotions of the rest of the CBNsat channels and they should be on air in due course. At the moment test transmissions are being carried out and once the test transmissions are over then all the other channels will also be back.

We are however saddened by the fact that Mr. Muhunthan Canagey has resigned from CBNsat. However we believe that a company of the calibre of Dialog Telekom under the leadership of Dr. Hans Wijesuriya will continue taking this company into greater heights.

We would also like to wish the new chairman Mr. Yusof Annuar Yaacob all the best as he takes over the leadership of this company.

According to a compilation of the channels that have been requested by CBNsat customers over a period of time we have come up with a list of channels that the should be introduced soon.

Star World
Star Movies
Ten Sports
God TV
Zee Cafe
Zee Sports
Disney Channel

We would like to thank CBNsat Subscriber Unite who took an active participation in highlighting the grievances of CBNsat Subscribers. Excellent work CBNsat you never gave up and that is greatly appreciated. We also like to thank our fellow bloggers for keeping us updated on the events that were taking place over the months that CBNsat was down. Even if we did not update the blog you guys and gals made sure that the information on the blog was kept up to date. Specially during the last weekend we were not able to update this blog on the latest on the resumption of transmission but you guys and gals kept the information flowing and we hope that you will keep it that way.

We will now focus on making sure that CBNsat continues to provide excellent service to it's subscribers and fulfill our theme "This blog is intended for CBNSat customers to tell the world about how efficient their service is, or any problems in their service or just plain congratulate them for a job well done."

This blog is for the subscribers to air their view and thoughts so CBNsat Management is always welcome to check what their subscribers require from their service as well as what they think about the service. We are also getting reports that the downtime due to rain that the subscribers are experiencing is much less that earlier.

Please keep us updated as channels are being added to CBNsat and share your views on the service provided by CBNsat.

From CBNsat Subscribers Unite

It was a victory for the CBNSat Subscribers on Saturday 2nd December after seeing the green light back on their decoders PERMANENTLY after 6 long months. It was a long time than we initially thought and finally justice has prevailed. But the process took so long than we anticipated and finally the founder CEO of CBNSat had to sell it to Dialog Telekom for the good and benefit of everyone.

We happen to see the pictures on our TV's on Saturday evening but the bitterness of the whole fiasco which unfolded during the last 6 months is a black spot in the History of Sri Lanka. Finally all the allegations made against CBNSat have just vanished into thin air.

I take this moment to thank on behalf of CBNSat Subscribers Unite for everyone who stood behind bringing in justice to us, the CBNSat Subscribers. Mr. Muhunthan who fought right throughout to bring back CBNSat online and running the customer care right throughout to keep the subscribers informed.

And a very special BIG Thank you to the blog admin. The CBNSat blog was the most happening place for the subscribers all around the island for the past 6 months. It was the sole place for gathering information on the situation and exchanging the ideas. The first of its kind in Sri Lanka. And the blog paved way for the subscribers to meet on-line and then get together to form CBNSat Subscribers Unite to act as the sole representative body on the part of subscribers to bring in justice for the victimized subscribers. And my special thanks goes to all the senior bloggers prmo, rob, cbnsatvictim and mohan for helping out tremendously in all the matters which the CBNSat Subscribers Unite came across with. And I thank all the people who signed our online petition, All the news papers who published our articles and press releases on their news papers specially Sunday Times and Daily Mirror, Rivira and Nation news papers. Also I need to thank the staff of CBNSat who stayed with the company during this painful time.

And all the others who helped CBNSat subscribers to bring back their service.



Media Release

Asset Media Completes CBN SAT Transaction
Services Go Live in Test Mode

Colombo, Sri Lanka, 2nd December 2006, Dialog Telekom Limited announced today that its subsidiary Asset Media (Private) Limited, had completed the acquisition of Communiq Broadband Networks (Private) Limited and CBN Sat (Private) Limited (hereinafter collectively referred to as “CBN SAT").

Following the completion of the acquisition of CBN SAT by Asset Media, the Direct to Home Satellite TV operations of CBN SAT will commence under the management of Asset Media, the Television Broadcasting subsidiary of Dialog Telekom Ltd.

Asset Media sources confirmed that transmission of CBN SAT services would commence in test transmission mode on or around the 2nd of December and would be uplifted to full commercial operations within a few days.

The acquisition was also followed by the appointment of a new Board of Directors for the acquired companies comprising of Mr. Yusof Annuar Yaacob (Chairman), Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya, Mr. Nihal Seneviratne Epa, Mr. Moksevi Prelis, and Mr. Wan Zaidan Wan Mahyudin.

Dialog Telekom termed the acquisition of CBN SAT as a key milestone in the group's strategy of achieving a quadruple play (Mobile, Fixed, Broadband, Television Media) product proposition for Sri Lankan consumers. This will result in Dialog Telekom making transformational investments in Digital Broadcast infrastructure targeting digital
terrestrial broadcast, Direct to Home (DTH) and Mobile Television service provisioning" a company source stated.

About Asset Media
Asset Media is a subsidiary of Dialog Telekom Ltd., and is licensed by the Ministry of Media to provide Television Broadcasting services, delivery of Pay Television and Cable Television Services and the operation of a Television broadcasting station.

CBN SAT is a Direct to Home Satellite TV service operated by Communiq Broadband Network (Pvt) Ltd, a fully owned subsidiary of Asset Media. CBN SAT supports a broad array of International content including CNN, BBC, HBO, Cinemax, AXN, ESPN, Discovery Channel, MTV (Music Television) and Cartoon Network, in addition to a wide portfolio of Sri Lankan television channels. CBN SAT services are based on cutting edge DVB-S digital broadcast infrastructure and reach out to over 20,000 Sri Lankan homes as of December 2006.

About Dialog Telekom Limited
Dialog Telekom Limited is the largest mobile operator in Sri Lanka with over 3Mn subscribers representing over 60% market share in the cellular sector. Dialog Telekom is also the largest listed company on the Colombo Stock Exchange in terms of Market Capitalisation with a market capitalisation (as of 30 September 2006) of LKR 161.02 Bn (USD 1.57Bn).

Dialog Telekom Limited is a subsidiary of Telekom Malaysia International and a member of the Telekom Malaysia Group. In addition to its core mobile telephony business, the company provides international services, supporting an International Gateway infrastructure providing retail and wholesale international voice and data services under the brand name of Dialog Global. The company also provides Internet services through
Dialog Internet - a fully-fledged Internet Service Provider (ISP). Dialog Telekom also operates Dialog SAT, a mobile satellite service.

CBNsat Court Verdict

To CBNsat Customers from Muhunthan Canagey

** We received the following email on December 3rd 2006. We are sorry for being unable to post this earlier.

02nd December 2006

Dear Valued Customers,

I take this opportunity to thank all our dear valued customers for bringing us to the resolution of the CBNSat saga which we have reached today. Thank you all for being so extremely patient with us and for understanding our predicament.

At our last Supreme Court hearing the Court ordered CBNSat to recommence transmission immediately.

“Having considered submissions of Counsel and the information disclosed
in Court, we grant leave to proceed in the alleged infringement of the
Petitioner’s fundamental rights guaranteed by Article 12(1) and 14(1)
of the Constitution. We also grant to the Petitioner interim relief prayed
for in prayer (d) of the prayer to the Petition”.

“The Petitioner is permitted to recommence the service that was
provided prior to the seizure and there will be no obstruction to the
Petitioner and /or Communiq Broadband being companies owned
by the same share-holders from carrying on the transmission that was
done prior to the seizure.”

These are some of the quotes extracted from the Court order. The comprehensive Supreme Court order will be available on our website, which is and I welcome you all to visit the site.

I have now accomplished my goal that all customers will continued to be served, all employees will continue to be employed and that all commitments to all the financial institutions and creditors of CBNSat will be honoured. Today will be my last day in office as I have decided to move on with my new venture due to the existing shares of the company being sold to Asset Media (Pvt) Ltd., a subsidiary of Dialog Telekom Limited whom I am confident will take CBNSat to the next level.

My achievement would not have been possible if I had not been backed by such wonderful people as you all and I am extremely grateful to the support given by our stakeholders, including the CBNSat Subscriber Unite group, our valued customers, our employees, the financial institutions and other parties whose patience and understanding was vital.

I hope you will all continue to enjoy CBNSat and its services.

Thanking you,

Yours sincerely,

Muhunthan Canagey

Chief Executive Officer

Friday, December 01, 2006

CBNsat tests transmission

CBNsat seems to have carried out a Test Transmission at approximately 9:30pm yesterday according to our fellow bloggers.

It seems that the recommencement of transmission is now very close and it should be on air on Saturday (02nd Dec) evening or Monday/Tuesday (4th/5th Dec) according to reports received. A saturday launch would be ideal due to the fact that this is a long weekend.

There is a comment on the TV Radio Sri Lanka blog that has been put there by the "Lanka Media Outlook" blog in order for them to increase their hits at our expense. For more on this please click on "Lanka Media Outlook trying to..........". (--> Lanka Media Outlook says that the comment that we have referred to here was not made by them. We like to thank them for the confirmation and for clearing matters.)

We request our readers to keep us updated on the latest regarding CBNsat as the days progress.

Mr. Muhunthan - Good Bye and Good Luck

It has come to our notice than Mr. Muhunthan Canagey CEO of CBNsat will be vacating his post on Saturday 02nd December 2006.

He is the pioneer of DTH broadcasting in Sri Lanka and will be remembered as the man who brought cable TV in Sri Lanka to the villages and the city without any bias whatsoever.

He had such a great vision for this country with the plan to introduce distant learning, etc which would have definitely been very beneficial to the rural areas and also help in bridging the digital divide.

Though all the false allegations that were thrown against you, still you fought tooth and nail against these extremist forces and made sure that CBNsat will be back on air and gave Sri Lanka her most advanced satellite broadcasting station. Sri Lanka is definitely proud to have a son of the soil of your calibre and even though there may be some who do not acknowledge how valuable you were to this nation. We will never forget the service that you did for this country.

Hats off to you Mr. Muhunthan we SALUTE you and wish you and your family all the very best in your future endeavors.