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Dish TV boxes legal for home use: Ministry

Expats can bring in Direct to Home set-top boxes like Dish TV receivers from their country to access home channels, but are not allowed to trade them, according to an official from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI).

Speaking exclusively to Times of Oman, the official said, “People usually bring these devices in their luggage when they enter the country. The law states that if the device is for their personal use and not for trading, the customs authority shall return the device to the passenger.” According to the official, expats do not break the law if they bring in the device for their personal use. “If someone brings in dish TVs with intent to trade them, then it is illegal,” the official added.

On social media and online selling platforms however, individuals are still to be found selling receivers. As a result, the relevant Ministry department conducts regular inspection campaigns to monitor the TV devices market.

“The ministry also acts on the complaints of property rights owners who witness any violation. Then, based on confirmed information, the inspection and seizure of counterfeit devices is carried out,” the ministry official continued.

Despite that, many electronics retailers in Oman continue to sell the banned decoding receivers and install unauthorised satellite services for international television channels.


Rag Viswanathan, an expat resident said: “Many people bring the boxes from India, firstly because they are not always easily accessible here, but mainly because a lot of the South Asian expat families enjoy the programmes on Indian channels and because they are very affordable. You cannot get the same value for money when it comes to the other providers here. All you have to do is pay a very reasonable amount once a year and you then get all the programmes you want.”

Viswanathan added: “Simply put, you cannot get this variety of programming with the local providers, which do have some Hindi and other Asian entertainment options that people want, but it is nowhere near as diverse.”

Kumar, another expat living in Oman said: “I don’t think I will use any of these boxes because I have access to Netflix and Amazon Prime. I get all the entertainment options there and my TV can be connected wirelessly to my laptop and all my entertainment services so that is much more convenient.”

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