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HITS warmly welcomed by Broadcasters
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Union Cabinet very recently approved the Headend-in-the-Sky (HITS) policy, which remained a much awaited decision for the cable operators. P.C. Mishra, G.M. Sales, Surbhi Broadband PVT. Ltd. threw light on the same front in a chit chat.

When asked about the genral outlook over the announced HITS policy and his perspective over the same, P.C. Mishra said, "HITS is a landmark policy which has come. We have 60 thousand cable operators in India with 7500 headend owners. In spite of government implementing CAS (Conditional Access System), around 2-3 years back, in Southern region of Delhi, portion of Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, we still have not been able to experience the expected digitalization, because of many reasons like set-top box pricing, broadcasters apprehension, etc. But before stating any further remarks I would like to elaborate onHITS."

"Well, HITS basically is a technology which is for digitalization of cable TV. The most advanced technology which can receive the digital signals directly to cable operators via satellite. The main encrypted signal is delivered through satellite that means it is not dependent on the cable length."

Moving on to discuss about the various benefits HITS as a platform would offer, Mishra continues, "First of all in satellite there are PAN-India footprints, so the service can be delivered through out of India.The cable operators who wants to make transition in their services from traditional analog to digital, there is a technology like HITS whic is very much affordable and available in the market. Other than HITS there are other modes of digitalization that demands huge maintenance cost, a team to maintain the systems and the approx cost of setting up is 2 crore, but with the HITS all these things can be done only at Rs. 3 lakh"

"So, with HITS the first thing what we have got is affordability, technology is recognized by the govt. and hence whosoever will join it with the HITS operators have clear choice to read the policy, understand what kind of technology is this, and then go ahead."

Therefore, taking into consideration all these points, he said, "Personally I warmly welcome HITS. It's the best thing which has happened in India after a long -long time. In Indian cable TV industry, the headend owners, who actually have to buy the content from the broadcasters; were actually deterrent in providing a fair competition in any particular region in India. Buts as the government authrorises apolicy for HITS, the operators expect the scenario to change in a positive manner with more options flowing in."

On discussing about the policies, he further adds, "The policies, yet to be revealed, are expected to be based on various inputs govt might have received from the federation, operators, existing cable operators, but I am sure there are huge underlying benefits for the cable industry."

"The policies would might come out with easiest mode of controlling the content as well as an efficient system for monitoring as far as the content is concerned. But, the brief press release actually gives just one word ‘fantastic’ with the fact that policies are yet to be disclosed."

When we further moved towards discussing the challenges, he said, "I don’t see much of the negative points or challenges in the implementation ofHITS . We need to wait for the guidelines to come, identify the things mentioned in them and may be our view changes tomorrow after going through it."

As far as the cost of the set-top box is concerned which a customer would need to buy, he said, "It's a very tricky question you have asked. You can go through the normal DTH pricing, which is approximately Rs.1700-2000, no matter even if they are saying it is free of cost but actually they are collecting money for the hardware. But inHITS, you just need to buy a set-top box and three major hardware components of the DTH goes out."

"The cost of the box would very near to that of the DTH. But from the business point of view, how much a customer would have to spend from pocket is totally dependent upon theoperators . Whether they want to subsidize it, actually sell it on a higher price or give it on the same price on which he is buying. It depends upon business CAS to Business CAS," he adds.

On the concluding note, he said, "Well, we hope that this policy would be welcomed by every section of the industry."

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