Dates for digitization of cable services in India

The Presidential ordinance to digitize analogue cable systems received presidential nod recently. Television viewing is likely to see a sea change in the next six months with the digitization of cable services. This will mean wider choice of TV channels, better quality of transmission, increased value added services for consumers and greater consolidation, reduced dependence on viewer-ship ratings and drop in carriage fees for the industry. The ordinance mandates complete digitization in the four metros of Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai by March 31, 2012. Further, 35 cities with more than one million populationwill have to mandatorily shift to digitization by March 31, 2013. The target for complete digitization in urban areas is September 31, 2014 while the entire country is expected to achieve digitization by December 31, 2014.

Benefits to Consumers:

  • It will empower consumers to an increased number of channels and high quality viewing.
  • Consumers will be able to access internet as well as telephone through the digital cable.
  • Viewers will be able to access digital services through a set top box.

Benefits to Industry:

STB costs would also come down with discounts, special promotion drives and market demand. This will impact those viewers who have still not shifted to direct to home services because of the costs. The move will benefit the industry, providing scope for more specialized content and niche programming. Digitization is expected to bring down carriage fees and reduce dependence on television rating points.

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