Decision on TV digitisation likely today

Decision on TV digitisation likely today

The Karnataka High Court is likely to decide the fate of analog cable TV network on Monday, after it had extended the date for disconnection of such signals to April 1 in an interim order on Thursday. 

The Karnataka State Cable TV Operators’ Association had sought clarity on guidelines in the entire digitisation process.

M G Prakash, a cable operator in Chickpet said, only 60 per cent of his 1,200 customers have set-top boxes (STBs). “Multi-service operators (MSOs) do not have enough set-top boxes to cater to Bangalore’s population. All STBs are imported from China and MPEG-2 technology in the STBs will get outdated in a couple of months as most of the channels are opting for MPEG-4 technology,” he said.

Shashi Kumar, an MSO from Hathaway, ruled out shortage of STBs and claimed to be equipped to cater to all customers in Bangalore. “Hathaway caters to over 5.5 lakh customers in Bangalore and we have already installed STBs for over 5.2 lakh customers,” he said.

Although the operators said they believed that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) may ease the digitisation drive, the operators’ association has differences with the MSOs. “The STBs have to come from China and the Indian government does not have certified laboratories to test them,” said Nagesh S Kalburgi, spokesperson of the association. He said the government had jacked up the percentage of customers with STBs to 50 per cent, but the actual figure was just over 30 per cent.

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