Hathway Cable's HD push

MUMBAI: Hathway Cable & Datacom has become the first national multi-system operator (MSO) to launch high definition service as it gears up to fight against direct-to-home (DTH) operators for upscale subscribers in the main metros where it has a footprint.

Limiting its offer to Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Bangalore, India‘s leading MSO has rolled out its HD service with a pack of eight television channels - Colors, Ten HD, Discovery, Movies Now, History, UTV Stars, TravelXP and MTunes.

Hathway is in negotiations with Star for its HD channels. Also out of the menu are the two popular sports channels - ESPN and Star Sports. 
Hathway, however, believes it has a distinct advantage over DTH by bundling broadband with HD.

"We are looking at adding 50,000-75,000 HD subscribers a year. We are taking a niche rather than a mass route. The killer application for us is the bundling of the HD offering with broadband. We also have a cost advantage over DTH," Hathway Cable & Datacom managing director and chief executive officer K Jayaraman tells

For the pure HD service, Hathway is charging Rs 6666 for a year (excluding taxes). The HD Lite plan includes subscription of HD and SD channels (160 + channels).

In the bundled plan, HD Max is available for Rs 8888 (excluding tax). It has features of HD Lite plans along with broadband for connection with 2 Mbps speed and 40 GB download.

HD Max + is available for Rs 9999. In addition to HD Lite features, it has 5 Mbps broadband speed with download limit of 60 GB.
Hathway has a fourth offering for cable operators. "As a wholesale model, we are charging cable operators Rs 5500. It is up to them to fix the price they sell to customers.," says Jayaraman.

Subscribers can pay Rs 3000 for the HD box or return it to Hathway after a year. Clearly, the MSO‘s strategy is to bundle the hardware with one-year of subscription for content.

"The HD boxes cost us Rs 3000. We have not included HD content package at this stage. As we tie up more HD content, we will start packages. But what we have smartly done is bundle broadband with HD content," says Jayaraman.

Hathway‘s twin goals are to move up the value chain and protect its direct subscribers from migrating to DTH.

The HD service is enabled by Media Highway set-top box software.

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