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Update: Channels to switch off analogue from 1 Nov
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#1
A dual feed running on analogue and digital cable TV networks in the four metros of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai will not be easy this time after the deadline of 31 October is crossed due to three main reasons, according to two senior media executives.

Broadcasters will have the responsibility of shutting down analogue decoders in the four metros that fall under digitisation in the first phase. "This was not there in 2003 (when CAS, or conditional access system, was mandated) and broadcasters were not part of it," explained Hathway Cable & Datacom CEO K Jayaraman.

Also, violation of the government order for digitisation will amount to criminal violence. "The police commissioner has been given the powers this time and violators can be arrested," Jayaraman added.

The third hurdle is that the television ratings measurement of programmes and channels on analogue cable TV networks in the four metros will stop from 1 November. "TAM (the TV ratings agency) will stop reporting ratings from analogue cable in these four cities," said NDTV Ltd. affiliate sales and network distribution head Rahul Sood.

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#2
Analogue cannot be switched off before 1 Nov
The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Arbitration Tribunal (Tdsat) has scuttled a proposed move to switch off genre-wise analogue signals of television channels before the 1 November deadline for digitisation in the four metros.

The Tdsat has sent a strong message to multi-system operators (MSOs) that they cannot switch off analogue delivery of any popular channel to force cable TV consumers to buy digital set top boxes (STBs) well in time for a complete switch over to digital delivery from 1 November.

TDSAT has directed that a senior official of the Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Ltd (BECIL) be appointed to make surprise checks at the premises of MSOs named in a petition by ESPN Software.

The sports broadcaster had alleged that MSOs had stopped re-transmission of signals of its channels - ESPN, Star Sports and Star Cricket -- with a view to ensure the order of the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry for digitisation of all networks in Delhi is implemented.

At the same time, Tdsat chairman S B Sinha and member P K Rastogi observed that there cannot be any doubt or dispute that a broadcaster cannot indirectly put pressure on MSOs or local cable operators to place its channel on higher frequencies without payment of any placement charges or carriage charges.

TDSAT also refused to allow the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to be impleaded at this stage, having regard to the fact that it has already taken cognizance of the complaints made by the petitioner ESPN.

The matter has now been listed to come up after four weeks, with the report of the commissioner on the inspection carried out at the premises of DEN, Hathway, WWIL and INCable.

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