Cable TV Digitalization

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Cable TV digitalization is the process where cable TV users have to install a Set-top box in their house for watching cable TV from now onwards. In December last year, Parliament enacted a Bill to make digitization of cable television compulsory in India.

PHASES OF DIGITALIZATION IMPLEMENTATION

  • Phase I: Encompasses 4 metro cities of India. Digitized by December, 2012.
  • Phase II: encompasses 38 cities of India having population more than 1 million. Completed by April 1, 2013.
  • Phase III: Digitize cities except covered in phase I and phase II by September, 2013.
  • Phase IV : Encompasses whole India. Will be covered by December 2013.

WHAT IS A SET-TOP BOX ?

It’s a device which enables TV to deliver digital signals.

WHAT IS MULTIPLE SYSTEM OPERATOR ?

A multiple-system operator or multi-system operator (MSO) is an operator of multiple cable or direct-broadcast satellite television systems.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES TO USERS ?

  • Picture quality: Users will get better picture quality than the previous analog based cable TV whose quality used to be very poor after certain number of channels.
  • Sound Quality: Users will now not get distorted audio voice or signal. On the contrary they can enjoy HD quality voice.
  • Amount Payable: Users now need to pay only for those channels which they view or want to view.
  • Options available: Previously analog signals at the most could deliver 60 channels properly. But after digitalization, it will be able to provide channels in the range of 500 to 1050 and more with same nice quality.
  • Broadband facility: Users can now avail broadband facility with the same cable TV.

OPTIONS AVAILABLE FOR CABLE TV DIGITALIZTION :

             1. Direct to Home service (DTH)
             2. Same cable TV operator but which provides set top box to view its cable services.

  • DTH service is little costlier than Cable TV+Set top box option. But the quality and the facilitates provided by DTH are far more greater than the later.
  • The only problem with DTH is that it will not be able to provide its services in the case of rain or bad weather.

ISSUES INVOLVED IN CABLE TV DIGITALIZATION

  • Extra Cost: Users will need to pay more money for set-top box services.
  • Protest of Cable TV Operators: Cable TV operators are reluctant towards investing more money in the infrastructure needed to support set-top box services.
  • No reporting from Cable TV operators: Cable TV operators are not reporting the exact number of users or consumer information to multi-system operator (MSO) which in turn is providing huge chances for tax evasion.

GOOD NEWS FOR BROADCASTERS

  • Carriage Fees: Broadcasters are those who deliver the serials, news, music and other shows on TV. But they first need to broadcast it to cable operators which take advantage of this & ask for more money (as carriage fees). Broadcasters now only need to work on creativity of their TV content & don’t need to worry about carriage fees.
  • Revenue generated by them will increase.
  • Specialized channels will be able to grow from now onwards as they will get freedom from artificial bandwidth scarcity created by cable operators.

ADVANTAGES TO GOVERNMENT

  • Transparency of the whole TV system will increase.
  • Revenue generated by the government will increase as exact number of users will be reported to the government using set top box.
  • Menace of cable TV operators of earning more revenues (black money of course) from underreporting of the number of users will be stopped).
  • Higher profits to broadcasters will ensure job creation in the market & its advancement.
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