A change for the better

A change for the better

Time Crunch

A change for the better

If you don’t act now, your television screen would go blank on March 31. That’s what the Karnataka State Cable TV Operators’ Association is telling viewers as the countdown begins for Bangalore to switch from analogue to digital format.

Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai migrated from analogue to digital mode in November 2012, following a directive from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. And subsequently, the deadline for Bangalore was declared as March 31.

With just a few days left, there has been a mad rush for set-top boxes. Many cable operators state that their stocks are running low and because of the huge demand, it’s tough for them to get more of these set-top boxes.

Many citizens of Bangalore, who have recently picked up a set-top box, say that they had to wait a while before getting one. Rani, a student, who stays in Malleswaram, says that she waited for close to a month for hers. “My friends, who got theirs earlier, had no issues. But now, since it has been made mandatory, we called our cable operator and he told us that it will take close to three weeks to get one as there is no stock available,” she explains. 

Shivram, who works in a private cable company in Jayanagar, says that for the last few months, the demand has only been increasing. “Since the deadline is approaching, we have been getting many calls asking for a set-top box. However, we have been finding it difficult to provide them as there are not many set-top boxes available; we have to order them in bulk and then install them,” he explains.

In fact, the price of these boxes has increased. Chandrashekariah, a resident of Kanakapura, says that he payed Rs 1,750 for his set-top box. “The price of these set-top boxes has almost doubled since the authorities announced mandatory digitisation of cable television. What was available for Rs 700 to Rs 800 is now more than Rs 1,500,” he says and adds, “if there is some uniformity in the price of these products, it will help those who are yet to pick them up.”

A Jagadish, the vice-president of the Cable TV Operators’ Association, states that the transition from analogue to digital format has been going smoothly in the City. “As for the shortage of set-top boxes, there are a few companies that are facing problems but on the other hand, many are well stocked.

There have been complaints of the price not being uniform but we have come to a consensus that the price for a set-top box will be Rs 990 plus taxes, which will come close to Rs 1,200,” he adds.

Those who already have their boxes in place say that there is more clarity in the channels and admit that the shift solves many problems that they used to face when they were on cable. Ankit, a student, says, “Being on cable gave us so many problems, especially during rain and power cuts. But the set-top box gets signal through satellite, which gives a variety of channels as well as 24/7 signal.”

Padmapani, who has been using the set-top box for the last ten days, agrees that there is a big difference in terms of quality. “My only remorse would be that we have no control over the channel number. No doubt, technology has improved and it will take a little time to adjust to these changes,” he sums up.