Delhi LCOs tell Soni info on STBs is false

NEW DELHI: Cable TV operators in Delhi have told Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Minister Ambika Soni that the ministry’s figures on deployment of set top boxes (STBs) in the four metros are way off the mark.

The cable operators said the ministry had failed to take into account homes with more than one television connection.

In a meeting called by Soni on Monday, the operators said homes with multi TV connections generally had only one set top box which served all the TV sets under the analogue system, but this would not be possible after 31 October when the digital addressable system comes into place.

Analogue delivery of cable television will be shut from 1 November as the government has mandated compulsory switchover to digital delivery.

Although LCOs from all the metros were invited for the meeting with the minister, only some operators from Delhi attended it.

The LCOs told the minister that they wanted police protection as they feared law and order problems after 31 October. The cable operators also informed the minister that all black and white TV sets, and many colour TV sets were not enabled to support DAS.

The operators also said many far-flung areas in the capital still did not have the digital feed, and could only take analogue feed.

The cable operators led by A S Kohli of West Delhi Cable Operators Association said there was a scheme under which direct to home (DTH) operators charged less for every additional connection in the same home, and said such a scheme should also be made applicable in cable homes to encourage people to take STBs for multi-TV homes.

Meanwhile, the Cable Operators Federation of India President Roop Sharma, who is a member of the ministry’s Task Force on DAS, has told the Chairman of the Task Force in a letter that many MSOs do not have channels from all the broadcasters in their packages and therefore, consumers will face problems in getting their favourite channels even after paying for digital STBs.

For example, she said DEN does not have any channel from Indiacast (Viacom 18 and Sun), while Digicable has no Star, Zee or Sports channels. Incablenet has not specified the channels it is offering. Only Hathway has all the popular channels in its packages.

She has also pointed out that none of the MSOs have given the a la carte rates of channels to enable selection of individual channels.

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