Digitisation drive: TVs to go blank for 2 minutes thrice every evening for 3 days

MUMBAI: The government and the broadcasters have got together to launch a major campaign pushing digitisation in the four metros, making television viewers realise that they will have to make the switch from analogue cable to digital before the 1 November deadline.

Television sets across the country will go blank for two minutes thrice every evening for three days beginning Friday.

All TV channels under the Indian Broadcasting Foundation’s (IBF) umbrella will beam Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry’s 30 second ad at the beginning of the two-minute period when broadcast of all programming will be suspended. The ads will be broadcast at 7:58 pm, 8:58 pm and 9:58 pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 
The move comes in the wake of a sluggish demand for digital set-top boxes (STBs) even as the deadline is just 45 days away. Cable television services from 1 November will mandatorily shift to digital technology through STBs in the four metros of Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata.
According to Discovery South Asia senior VP, GM Rahul Johri, the aim of the ad is to spread the message that television viewers have to buy a STB or else their television will go blank from 1 November.

Even though shift to digitisation is happening in the four metros, the message is being broadcast across the country as it is not possible for broadcasters to restrict such a message to just the four metros.
The initiative is that of the I&B ministry in association with the IBF and News Broadcasters Association (NBA). This suggests shows that the digitisation deadline has been taken seriously this time and the government is pushing for it.

The government had recently cancelled registration of two multi-system operators (MSOs) from Delhi for not providing information on their preparedness for switching to digital delivery.

The shift to digital delivery was to happen from 1 July 2012 but had to be postponed to 1 November due to lack of preparedness of cable TV networks.

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