I&B Ministry rules out allowing digital, analogue to run parallel in 4 metros

NEW DELHI: Information and Broadcasting (I&B) secretary Uday Kumar Varma on Thursday ruled out allowing analogue television signals to be delivered parallel to digital signals for the benefit of TV households which are still to install digital set-top boxes (STBs).

Varma was reacting to a suggestion that since a majority had switched to digital systems, analogue signals could be allowed to continue for some period till everyone switches over to digital.

Talking to, Varma said a section of the population always acted only when it was put "face to face with a situation".

Officially, the compulsory switch over to digital delivery of television channels has happened in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata from today. In Chennai, the Madras High Court has extended the digitisation deadline in the city to 5 November on a petition by local cable operators.

Asked about the non-compliance by multi-system operators in Kolkata, he said the situation was being studied since Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had said the eastern metropolis would not go digital now.

When it was pointed out that some MSOs were switching on analogue under pressure from consumers and local cable operators, he denied this and said teams of the ministry were visiting various headends in the capital and other metros to make sure this did not happen.

He also denied that there were any areas in Delhi with black and white TV sets.

However, Centre for Media Studies Director P N Vasanti said her estimates have shown that around 30 per cent cable TV households in Delhi were still to switch over to digital. A S Kohli of the West Delhi Cable Operators Association put the figure at 50 per cent.

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