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Entertainment Gadgets

One-For-All Universal Remote Controllers

The big screen remote controller was the first to give up the ghost, followed closely by that of the home theatre. Both are LG brands and are out of warranty.

For six months after that, i had to leave the comfort of my couch to operate these appliances. It was not much fun.

Eventually, i decided to pick up a replacement remote controller at the nearby mall. The Game store in The Palms mall, Lekki (Nigeria) usually stock most of these accessories and i was not disappointed.

I had never heard of the brand, “One for All“, but i was particularly attracted to this particular universal remote controller on display, thanks to its attractive packaging and design. It is very stylishly built and oozed of quality but a bit pricey at about N7,300 (US$45).

It is indeed a very good product for the price you pay. The fit and feel of this remote is very nice. Expectedly, it was not South African made like a lot of products in that store, it was made in The Netherlands.

Christened “SmartControl” – it is a remote controller that promises to be easy to set up, easy to use and with a bunch of simple macros that let you complete Herculean tasks like switching on your TV, Blu-ray player and home cinema system at the touch of a single button.

Setting it up was not particularly a breeze but eventually i got it done – controlling my DSTV cable decoder, TV and HiFI from a single remote. The controller has 6 configurable buttons to control a total of 6 devices, however, you have a ton of Manufacturers and models of  appliances to choose from. I would be very shocked if there is a single device that can not be controlled with this device so long as it is a Television, Cable Decoder, DVD Player, MP3 Player, Amplifiers or Game controller.

The downside of this device is that it does not come with any batteries bundled with it and sometimes, programming it can be a pain but that can happen with any programmable remote with such a setup.

SmartControl

Categories
Entertainment

Still On GOtv

Going back to the DSTV retail shop in Lekki to pick up a GOtv branded cable TV package was not without apprehension and skepticism.

My first visit was not a fulfilling one, I really was not impressed with the picture quality I was shown . Also, no thanks to the limited coverage of GOtv’s signals in Lagos, you are thrown back to last century’s technology with the outdoor antenna you are forced to use to improve reception.

GOtv has two packages, the GOtv and the GOtv plus. The GOtv package hardware is being sold at an introductory price of N8000 and includes 3 months of free viewing for the 26 channels on offer while the GOtv plus hardware is N9500, also with 3 months free viewing for the 33 channels on offer. Subsequent monthly subscription fees is put at N1,000 and N1,500 respectively for the GOtv and GOtv plus packages.


Since my purchase is intended for my kids, I was forced to subscribe to the GOtv plus package because it contains the Disney Junior kiddies channel, their favourite. A summary of the channels available for each pacakage is listed below.

The installation package comes with the decoder, remote controller – the same as the one used for regular DSTV, AV cable and an indoor antennae. For N2,500 more, you are given a basic antennae which should come with a pole.I was swindled out of my pole.Please note that GOtv does not use any Smartcard.

The Installation is quite straightforward. On Lagos mainland, you may not have a need for an external antenna. However, if you live on Lagos Island, you definitely would be needing one.

I could not mount the outdoor antenna yet because of the missing pole. However, carefully placing the antenna on my balcony, i got about 26% signal strength and surprisingly, it was good for viewing with no artefacts.

Overall, i think it is a good buy especially considering the low monthly subscription. The picture quality is comparable to what is being offered on the regular DSTV cable regular packages. I would expect GOtv to speed up the expansion of its coverage area as the external antennaes constitute an eye sore.

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Categories
Entertainment

GoTV – Putting The Cart Before The Horse?

GOtvBy now, many would have heard about GoTV, the latest cable TV company in Nigeria and yet another subsidiary of Multichoice, the parent company of DSTV.

Multichoice is a South African company with a near monopoly of the Cable TV industry on the African continent. It has almost 5 million subscribers across the continent with Nigeria being the single country with the highest subscription.

DSTV’s business model can be summed up in this phrase, “No Mercy To Competition”.  They have been noted for muscling out all their competitors, no thanks to the huge resources at their disposal. And unfortunately, the Nigerian Government have not come out in anyway to legislate against their unwholesome practices.

Even though DSTV services is quite popular in Nigeria, it is on record that they have not been able to capture a significant percentage of the Nigerian populace. Excluding hardware fees and installation costs ,monthly subscription fees range from between N4,900 (US$30) to about N10,000 (US$60). Fees that are definitely out of the reach of most the 170 million residents of Nigeria.

A company came up and sought to fill this huge gap in this untapped market. This translated to a partnership between some Chinese entrepreneurs and Nigeria’s network station NTA. A company called Startimes was formed and offered cheap set top boxes and monthly subscription fees of about N1,000 (US$6).

Now, DSTV has decided to muscle out Startimes with its equally cheap cable packages, albeit with superior programming content.

However, in a bid to do this, they rolled out without their structure fully in place to cater for the yearnings of Lagos residents. Perhaps because of the high population density on Lagos mainland, their solution was to site their GoTV transmitters there, leaving the Island with poor reception. This has probably resulted in slow sales.

On inquiry from a sales lady on when a transmitter would be sited on Lagos Island, she replied “month end”. Let’s see how that plays out.

Well, we all know the Chinese for being masters at price wars. Let’s also see if they would fall to the South Africans’ monopolistic business antics.

Source

Categories
Entertainment Humor

Miska Muska Mickeyyyy Mouse !!!

It has become something of a routine and it was that time of the month again this morning.

“Wale, the DSTv subscription would be due tomorrow …”
I kept quiet.
“Daddy, mama said  …”
“I have heard !”cutting off my 5 year old son
“Okay, so how much are you contributing this time”, addressing my wife.
“I don’t have any money”
I kept quiet.

You see, in an average African family, the man is regarded as the breadwinner and he is expected to foot, at least, most of the bills. Expectedly, with this responsibility comes some deference and preferential treatment in the home. Like you get to eat the biggest pieces of meat in the pot (yeah, we are still carnivores here), you get to have a final word on some (emphasis on Some, not all) issues, you do not have to do any house hold chores, ..

But one thing that has always bothered me is the Cable TV (DSTV) remote control. Who does the TV remote belong to? I do not think it is out of place for the man to own the remote, afterall he pays for it. Unfortunately, the reality is far from that. In my home, over time, i have been relegated to my man cave, with absolutely no claim to the TV remote. So much for “paying the piper and dictating the tune” you would say! But, really, i kind of think i am not alone in this. Why should we men continue to pay for what we do not enjoy?!

Three camps have been formed;

Camp 1 – The Wifey : Preference for E! Entertainment and any of those gossip channels, with a dose of the crime channels. Ummh. 😡
Camp 2 – The Boys : Cartoon channels, with preference for the one with blinding loud colours, Disney Junior Channel. Even my 16 month old son is already into Mickey Mouse; Miska Muska Mickeyyyy Mouse!!! Aaaaargghhhh!!!!
Camp 3 – Yours Truly : News & documentary channels. And no, i don’t do sports!

The few times i have put my foot down and insisted on watching my channels, it is usually with much discomfort. My kids have a way of making you feel very guilty. Within minutes, i hand back the remote and retire to the safety of my man cave. If only i had enough money for one of those dual channel subscriptions. 🙁

Oh well, i guess the battle is for another day. Where is my bank card?