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DTH News : Digitisation on 4 metros-Analogue consumers prefer moving to digital cable over DTH
NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni will be meeting all stakeholders on 8 June to sort out issues raised in connection with the first phase of digitisation in the four metros, which is reaching its sunset date of 30 June three weeks from now..

The government is likely to announce a shift in the deadline date as most of the multi-system operators (MSOs) are not ready with the set-top boxes (STBs). Trai announced the tariff guidelines under the digital addressable system as late as 30 April.

Cable networks are expecting the government to shift the deadline for digitisation in the four metros of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.
"We are expecting a six-month extension," said the head of a leading MSO.

The broadcasters are, however, pressing for the deadline date to stay as they fell that digitisation would drastically cut down on their carriage payouts to cable networks while subscription revenues would go up.

Senior Ministry sources told that a meeting of the Task Force was held on 1 June under the chairmanship of Additional Secretary Rajiv Takru wherein many stakeholders – primarily cable operators – raised certain issues which needed to be sorted out before digitisation could take place.

These issues have been placed before Soni and are under her consideration.
Though the government insists it will not defer the first phase of digitisation, the final decision would be taken after the Minister meets the stakeholders, the sources said.

However, it is learnt that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha, and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee have written letters seeking extension of the date, and cases have been filed in the High Courts in all metros against the government directive.

It is also learnt that only around 20 per cent of the set top boxes needed for the four metros have so far been installed.

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digitisation postpond to november 1st 2012 for the 4 cities.chennai,mumbai,kolkatta,delhi.
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Digitisation deadline extension upsets TV broadcasters

On 20/6/12, the I&B ministry pushed back the June 30 deadline to October 31 for a complete switch over of cable TV to digital platform

Television broadcasters have expressed disappointment over the government's decision to postpone cable TV digitisation in four metros till October, while multi system operators (MSOs) welcomed it saying it was a "sensible" move.

"We are very disappointed with the change in the date. It was a law enacted and approved by Parliament, which was supposed to benefit the citizens," News Broadcasters Association President Narayan Rao told PTI.
The government must now ensure that there is no slippage again and no further extension of the deadline, he added.

"There is a feeling that if this can be extended once, it could be extended again. This should not be allowed to happen," Rao added.

the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting pushed back the June 30 deadline to October 31 for a complete switch over of cable TV to digital platform from analogue in the four metros of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.

The ministry cited gross unpreparedness for installation of Set Top Boxes (STBs) as the reason for the postponement.

MSOs, however, welcomed the move saying it was required considering the ground reality.

"This is a sensible and welcome step. The earlier deadline was impractical as it was not possible to cover 10 million household within just six weeks time," MSO Alliance President Ashok Mansukhani said.

Asked if the new deadline could be met, he said: "The new deadline of October 31 is a bit tough but is reasonable and the industry should be able to meet the deadline or at least expect 80 per cent of the household to be covered."

Cable operators, however, said the new deadline was not enough to install STBs in the households in the four metros.

"The deadline should have actually been postponed to December 31, instead of October 31 because even extra four months are not enough to seed the required number of set-top-boxes in the market," Cable Operators Federation of India (COFI) President Roop Sharma said.

Direct to Home (DTH) service providers said they were disappointed with the extension of deadline as they have already started investing on the process.

"The extension will put strain on the financial health of the DTH industry due to additional inventory carrying costs and investments in infrastructure that the industry will have to incur now," Airtel digital TV CEO Shashi Arora said.

The government had set a target of digitisation of the cable services in the entire country by December 2014 starting with the four metros, which was supposed to be completed by June 30 this year.
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Digital cable TV seems to be winning over direct-to-home (DTH) in this first round of digitisation covering the four metros of Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai.

The share of DTH in total digital cable TV homes has slipped in Mumbai and Kolkata as consumers of analogue cable convert to digital ahead of the 1 November digitisation deadline.

This is the finding of a study conducted by TAM Media Research to capture the changing digitisation scenario in the four metropolitan cities.

According to the study, the share of DTH in total digital TV homes in Mumbai dropped to 34 per cent in June 2012 from 38 per cent in January 2012 and in Kolkata to 29 per cent from 48 per cent.

The share of digital cable TV homes has remained flat in Delhi (40 per cent) and Chennai (26 per cent). The fall in the proportion of DTH homes in Kolkata was steep as the share of digital cable TV homes rose by a sharp 18 per cent in the eastern city.

Among digital TV homes, DTH was a dominant platform in Delhi (with 60 per cent share) and Chennai (with 74 per cent share). DTH's share in Mumbai was 34 per cent and in Kolkata 30 per cent. This scenario is likely to change.

For more Cilck Here.
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Slow pace of STBs & state Govt requests reason for digitisation extension: Soni

The sunset date of 30 June for the first phase has been deferred to 31 October because it had been found that only 3.9 million digital set top boxes (STBs) had been installed in the four metros by June against a requirement of 13.3 million, according to Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni.

Since more than 9.4 million people did not have STBs by the end of June 2012, this could have rendered their television screens blank causing serious inconvenience to consumers on a mass scale.

The decision to delay the digitsation delay in the four metros of Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai was also influenced by the governments of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal who had demanded modification of the dates ‘in public interest’, Soni told Parliament.

Modifying the date of digitisation in the four metros will not impact the direct-to-home industry (DTH) in any way, she added.

In a statement issued on 20 June, the Ministry had admitted that the orders of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Tariff & Interconnection, and on the Quality of Service (QoS) Regulations and the Consumer Complaint Redressal Regulations had not yet been substantially implemented.

"The assessment of these ground realities compels the I&B Ministry to set a new deadline. It is, however, imperative that the modified target deadline is set with strict benchmarks to ensure that no complacency sets in in the system and the new target date is achieved collectively by all the stakeholders," it added.

The Task Force comprising all stakeholders constituted by the Ministry in April 2011 had been monitoring the progress made by various stakeholders towards digitisation. The task force has also undertaken field visits and interacted with local stakeholders. Discussions have been regularly held with broadcasters, multi-system operators (MSOs), local cable operators (LCOs), while the I&B Ministry has been in regular contact with the concerned state governments on this issue.

Meanwhile, matters are pending before the Mumbai and Delhi High Courts and Tdsat either seeking deferment, or against the deferment. .

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