TVs go blank as digitisation deadline ends

TVs go blank as digitisation deadline ends

Television sets without set top boxes (STBs) in hundreds of households across Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata went blank as the deadline for switchover to cable TV digitisation ended on Wednesday.

People watching various programmes faced a TV blackout when the clock struck 12. However, in some areas of Kolkata, the television sets without STBs were found to be working.

Information and Broadcasting Ministry’s data for all the four metros combined showed digitisation of cable TV households including Direct To Home (DTH) connections up to 94 per cent.

TV viewers in Chennai who have not made the change, however, got some relief with the Madras High Court granting extension of the deadline till November 5 for the process of digitisation of TV signals.

The Bombay High Court, however, refused to grant more time to cable network providers in the city to switch to digital addressable system (DAS). But it asked the Union government to consider giving some relief to viewers during Diwali.

The overall percentage of Cable TV digitisation in four metros went up to 91 per cent till October 30. With DTH connection, the digitisation percentage stood at 94 per cent, the official said.

A total of 1,05,180 boxes have been installed in the four metro cities, out of which 65,000 boxes were installed in Delhi alone.

According to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, the Cable TV digitisation reached 95 per cent in Delhi till Wednesday. If percentage of DTH connection is taken into account, the percentage of digitisation stood at 97 per cent in the national capital.

Mumbai has already achieved 80 per cent digitisation, in Kolkata the percentage has gone up to 83 per cent. If DTH is also counted, the percentage of digitisation in Kolkata has touched 85 per cent.

According to the data provided by DTH operators, the number of DTH subscribers in Mumbai has gone up to 7.53 lakh, whereas in Delhi it is 10.17 lakh, Kolkata has 3.20 lakh subscribers and Chennai 7.11 lakh subscribers till October 30. With number of DTH subscribers in the four metros, the percentage of subscribers touched 28.01 lakh.

“There was huge surge in installation of set top boxes. DEN Networks, leading MSO in Delhi, has reported installation of about 50,000 boxes in October alone,” a ministry official said.

“Teams from the ministry fanned out in the metros and found that most MSOs are ready for the switchover and have operationalised their digital headends with conditional access system and subscriber management system,” he said.

The ministry has decided to intensify its SMS campaign to reach out to the remaining few people who are yet to install set top boxes, the official added.

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