Advanced Television

Sky Italia cannot impose decoders

October 6, 2008

From Branislav Pekic in RomeA Magistrate in Naples has ruled that DTH operator Sky Italia cannot impose on its subscribers the use of its own digital box.In its ruling, the justice condemned Sky Italia for “breach of contract and contractual and personal damage” towards one of its clients, identified as Mr. V.D.P., defended by the consumers association solicitor Angelo Pisani. In the complaint, Pisani pointed out that Sky Italia has changed its own conditional access since 2005, providing users with its own decoder for the reception of the new signal which is otherwise not receivable by other decoders. He also underlined that the Sky box is not capable of receiving all of the FTA channels and has a reduced memory capacity. The subscribers decided to protest, as he owns a better decoder which can receive more channels and has better functions. Besides "breach of contract", the plaintiff alleged that Sky's action also represents a threat to competition, as it has a monopoly of the decoder market.As a result, the Magistrate has mandated Sky Italia to observe the existing legislation and the normal supply of the signal to the TV viewer, plus damages estimated at E500. However, according to Pisani, the sentence is valid only for the petitioner and not for other clients of the pay-TV operator.

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