Thursday, 4 April 2013

Set top box mandatory in INDIA

All this started because of digitization(set top box) of analogue cable system.TV signals are distributed to households through various platforms such as cable, direct-to-home (DTH), internet protocol TV (IPTV) and headend-in-the-sky (HITS). Cable is the largest platform, followed by DTH.

Cable TV distribution broadly involves three phases: broadcasters encrypt their signals and transmit them to a satellite; multi-system operators (MSOs) download these signals and pass them on to local cable operators; these LCOs then carry them to consumers through co-axial cables or optical fibres.

DTH eliminates the need of an intermediary between the MSO and the consumer. The consumers have to install a small satellite on their rooftop and can download the signals transmitted by MSOs. A set-top box decrypts the signals and viewers can watch channels of their choice.

DTH signals are transmitted through a wireless technology and the system is digital. IPTV uses broadband and is also digital.

Why digitise everything?

Analogue systems have several limitations. For one thing, it is difficult to ascertain how many households are using cable services. The actual number is known only to the local cable operators who also work as bill collection agents. Telecom regulator TRAI had mandated that revenues gathered by cable operators should be split 45:30:25 among broadcasters, MSOs and LCOs. According to a report by industry lobby FICCI and management consultancy KPMG, in 2010, a total of Rs 19,400 crore was generated through subscription fee paid by consumers but only around 20 per cent of this was declared by cable operators.

There are some channels that survive entirely on subscriptions and carry no advertisements. In India, because of rampant under-declaration by cable operators, broadcasters have had to mainly depend on advertising to sustain themselves. On an average, most broadcasters earn 80-85 per cent of their revenues through advertising. Once the system is digitised, every household accessing signals will be accounted for and cable operators will be forced to share their collections with MSOs and broadcasters. 

This is why Indian govt mandatorize set top box.

Benifits to consumers through digitization:

1.Consumers can watch more than 800 channels (nearly 1000),while analog system allows not more than 150.
2.Better viewing experience along with pause and play options.
3.Consumers can choose their own channels and can pay only for them.

Through digitization there are not much more benefits to consumers.

In fact set top boxes are grouped in two types standard and hi-definition.the former one cost around 1200 to 1500 /- and latter one is above 3000/-,which is a huge overhead for consumers.

I hope you liked my article. Please let me know your views below.

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