By Mimi Ucheagwu
THAT the Pay-TV industry has redefined home entertainment is not in doubt. It has continued to expand and enrich its content to cover different areas of interest, including sports, history, documentary, music, cartoons, health, comedy, wild life and even reality shows. There is always something for everyone.
Before the advent of pay-TV in Nigeria, TV entertainment was via terrestrial broadcasting, where signals are transmitted by radio signals from terrestrial transmitters via antennas. However, the advent of pay-for-entertainment television or Pay-TV broke all boundaries enabling access to information and entertainment from all spheres of life.
Unlike terrestrial television, pay-TV is a subscription-based service that is provided via satellite through a decoder box directly into homes. The distinction here is that it is subscription-based and can only be accessed when the service has been paid for.
Oftentimes, concerns have been raised about the tendency of TV content to negatively captivate and impact children who would rather watch TV all day than play with their peers in the sand, the old-fashioned way.
Expectedly, not all content is suitable for everyone hence the need for censorship and control. TV content passes through a process before being approved for public consumption. In addition, content providers are, by law, expected to display a warning as well as an age restriction before the start of any programme, whether in a public viewing place like the cinema or at home. If it is a comedy show for instance, the ‘PG’ sign for parental guidance or ‘G’ is displayed indicating that the movie is suitable for everyone. A display of PG18 means the content is not suitable for viewers younger than 18 and so on.
As pay-TV companies continuously provide entertainment content to the satisfaction of their customers, the onus now lies on them to set control measures in order to monitor what minors are exposed to. It is for this reason that MultiChoice, leading video and entertainment company in Nigeria, is emphasizing the need for its customers to make use of the parental control feature on their remote controls.
For MultiChoice’s DStv, control is in the hands of the customer. According to John Ugbe, Managing Director, MultiChoice Nigeria, “As a company, we strive to give our customers the best in entertainment, in superior video and sound quality. We also uphold ethics and encourage family values, which is why we have put the control in the hands of parents with the ‘parental control’ feature on our remote controls. With our remote controls, the power is indeed in the hands of our customers.”
The parental control feature is an essential part of the DStv remote control. Sadly, it is the least used, perhaps, because many people do not remember its availability or because the process of enabling the feature is unknown. Whatever the reason, parents and guardians need to be encouraged to make more use of the feature and control what their children/wards are exposed to. A case in point is the on-going Big Brother Nigeria show, taking place in South Africa. The mainstream and social media have been inundated with complaints from individuals and the religious circles, on why the Big Brother Naija show should be taken off air because it is bad for the nation’s moral and spiritual growth.
What everyone conveniently forgets is that MultiChoice Nigeria has made available an option of opting out of receiving the Big Brother show on their decoders. Another major option is to enable the parental control button and block the channel or channels as the case maybe.
Parental control, as the name implies, gives parents control over the channels and allows them to block certain programmes based on their PG ratings, thus controlling the kind of programmes their children watch whether they are home or not.
To activate this feature is very easy. Simply press the Menu Key and select Parental Control and then enter the default PIN which is 1234.
You can change your PIN at anytime. Depending on your decoder model, select Blocking Options or PG Status and scroll to the Parental Level. Scroll to the Age Restriction of your choice and click accept this settings. The decoder automatically blocks every programme outside your selected age restriction.
For those with the DStv Explora, a simple click on the DStv button of your DStv remote takes you to Settings. Select the Parental Control option. Proceed to block the channel you do not want your children to watch by entering the default PIN 1234. You also have the option of changing your PIN so your very smart kids don’t outsmart you.
When your kids are asleep or away and you want to watch the blocked channels, you can unblock them by simply entering the same PIN. So instead of complaining about a TV programme, simply block the channel and go about your business. An age-old business mantra says the ‘Customer is King’.
These days, the customer is not just king, he is in control and it is this same control which DStv has put in the hands of its customers. Instead of calling for the removal of Big Brother Naija from the airwaves, parents and guardians should avail themselves of the parental control feature and block the channel. Yes, with your remote, you are in control of your household.
Ucheagwu writes from Lagos