Worry of potential 'boxes'

Televisions have gone digital in most homes in the City, with the installation of set-top boxes (STBs).

But, there seems to be no end to the problems faced by the TV viewers.
Public money to the tune of Rs 2,500 crore has been spent, says V S Patric Raju, president of the Karnataka State Cable Operators’ Association.

But that does not mean worry-free TV viewing for the consumers, he adds.
Raju said the quality of the boxes has been compromised with, given the illogical deadlines set by the Union Ministry of Information and Technology. 

“Public money to the tune of Rs 2,500 crore has been spent to get poor quality facility. The China-made Vanilla STBs are of inferior quality and use old technology,” Raju said, adding that they comply neither with the criteria of the Bureau of Indian Standards nor the energy rating of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency.

Low quality

“There is also no portability, no swap scheme, no repair centres, no exchange scheme and no guarantee. Most multiservice operators (MSOs) are importing the lowest quality STBs to reduce cost and quickly meet the deadlines,” he said.

Raju said the consumer, despite paying Rs 1,000 or more, does not own the STB.
“This money is charged as activation charges. The STB is taken back by the MSO once the subscriber leaves the network. MSOs can deactivate it (switch off) any time, without giving proper notice, thus creating a monopoly.”

There are no facilities to repair the STBs. If they develop a fault, they will have to be discarded and MSOs do not provide immediate replacement,” the Association claimed, adding that STBs were not even inter-operable.

“There is no inter-operability as there is no common interface that can enable the same STB to be used in different networks by just changing the smart card. When the MSO changes transmission technology, all STBs will go waste. Subscribers will be asked to buy new ones,” Raju said.

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