Cable TV digitisation deadline ends, no channels to households sans STB - The New Indian Express

Cable TV digitisation deadline ends, no channels to households sans STB

Published: 18th September 2013 07:46 AM

Last Updated: 18th September 2013 07:46 AM

As the deadline for complete digitisation of cable TV in the city expired at midnight on Tuesday, denizens can continue to watch their favourite channels, thanks to Lord Ganesha. With the deadline falling on the final day of Ganesh immersion, the multi-system operators are learnt to have decided to lock channels in a phased manner.

After repeated extensions of deadlines for a total blackout of cable television in the city in the wake of complete digitisation and installation of set top boxes (STBs), cable TV operators have decided not to go for further extensions. Going by the cable operators in the city, the analog service providers will stop airing the signals in a phased manner now, instead of a total black out.

Hari Goud, president of Greater Hyderabad Cable Operators’ Association, said, “The analog service providers will start locking a few channels initially and then eventually in three to four days will stop airing other channels too. Even this extension is only because of the Ganesh immersion ceremony in the city.” Although the government has failed to come up with statistics on the percolation of digital cable services in the city, according to cable operators’ estimates, still about 12 lakh households are yet to install the set-top boxes.

The shortfall in the availability of set-top boxes and the differences between local cable operators and MSOs over the revenue sharing model had resulted in the extension of the deadline for the complete digitisation in the city. The situation was grim to the extent that pre-defined deadline of March 2013 was extended till September 17 midnight.

He further added that they were not contemplating any move to approach the court to seek further extension of date for the digitization. He however said that the cable operators’ association was mulling over filing a case seeking an increase in the percentage given to cable operators under the digital-addressable system. According to him, the present distribution of profit was 55 percent for MSOs and 45 percent for cable operators.

He informed that of all the areas in the city, the Old City area stood at the bottom with only 30 percent.

The Central government had decided to digitise the cable television all over the country by the end of 2014. This was planned to carry out in a phased manner. In the first phase, the switch over to digital cable network was limited to Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.

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