ETV offers Ortel digital signals without decoders, latter threatens contempt

NEW DELHI: The Ortel-ETV stand off continued, with the former once again stating its clear intent of filing a contempt of court petition against the Andhra broadcaster for no complying with the TDSAT orders of giving the digital feed of its Telugu channel to OTV, the Ortel channel.

Ortel vice president BP Rath told indiantelevision,com from Bhuvaneshwar that ETV had done nothing, despite all cooperation extended by his company. "They want to just delay the process," Rath said today.

However, the tricky ground on which both are standing becomes clear when one hears the ETV version.


"We are ready to comply with the TDSAT order," Bapineedu, ETV vice president told from Hyderabad. "From where we do it is not an issue."

Yet, Ortel says that is precisely the issue, for they allege that in their last communiqué ETV has said it would give the signals for the Telugu channel through ETV‘s cable operators, "which is illegal as per Trai regulations and even the Supreme Court in the recent order in the Sea TV case has said this cannot be the practice," Rath countered.

The TDSAT had issued an order on April 2 to ETV to give Ortel signals for the Telugu channel on the latter‘s digital platform, a case now famous as voluntary introduction of Cas. But the Hyderabad company has not done so far.

On the other hand, ETV has formed a JV with Zee Tv to come up with a network to tackle the terror, which they along with other LOCs in Orissa allege Ortel to be indulging in to smash competition.


ETV and Zee TV have joined hands to form the JV firm Variety Entertainment Pvt Ltd, which is now setting out its network across the state.

Last week, Ortel had announced it would file a contempt case against ETV, but have not done so till now.

"After we sent them the letter warning a contempt case, they wrote to us saying they wish to give us the connection, but needed many information about our Cas SMS company, postal registration, names of places where we wanted their signals, equipment details, etc.," Rath said.

"After we sent them the letter warning a contempt case, they wrote to us saying they wish to give us the connection, but needed many information about our Cas SMS company, postal registration, names of places where we wanted their signals, equipment details, etc.," Rath said.

Ortel says that since ETV promised to give the signal once they get the information, the former did not file the contempt case.

"We had wanted their signals in six or seven places in the state where we have our digital network. After several clarifications from us, they wrote to us on April 20 that they would give us the signal at three of the places we needed out of those six.

"They advised us to contact Variety Entertainment, their agent. But the latter told us that they would give us the signals through their cable network.

Ortel says it refused to take the signals from another cable operator because of three reasons:

  • Clause 2.6 of Trai standard interconnect agreement (August 2006) a broadcaster is supposed to produce signals through a decoder or IRD, and ETV refused to do so.

  • A recent SC order says that a broadcaster cannot provide signals through a cable operator to another competing operator.

  • And it is standard industry practice not to take signals for redistribution from another cable operator because of fall of signal quality, and other operational problems.

  • "They have so far not given us the decoders," Rath said.

    Bapineedu, however, reiterated that ETV is committed to give the signals as per TDSAT orders.

    Digital signals?

    Yes, he says, digital signals.

    From their headends?

    Bapineedu said: "Where we give it from that we shall see and in any case, this is a small issue", without clarifying further.

    The TDSAT order of April 2 had said that the signals have to be given by ETV to Ortel by April 9, but this has not happened after a lapse of 15 days, Rath said.


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