Technology

Trai brings PVRs, MDU tech under scanner













NEW DELHI: Broadcast regulator has now turned its scanner on various aspects of a DTH service, including supply of personal video recorders or digital video recorders and rollout of multi-dwelling unit technology by DTH service providers.

 

In a consultation paper issued today on DTH, the regulator said the need to discuss these issues, amongst others, arises from the “communications of the ministry of information and broadcasting (I&B).”

 

The issues raised by the government are essentially the following:



  1. Amendment of the license conditions to exclude personal video recorder / digital video recorder from the requirement of interoperability.
  2. The platform services that enable the subscribers to utilize the platform efficiently and inform them of platform functionality and services are exempted or otherwise from the uplink licensing requirement.
  3. The use of multiple dwelling unit (MDU) technology.

Trai has said issues that issues like amendment of clauses 7.1 and 7.2 of the DTH license relating to digital video recorders and MDU tech would be discussed with the industry.


The points that need to be ironed out are the following:



  1. If digital video recorders are exempt from requirement of interoperability (amongst various services), the safeguards that should be provided to ensure that consumers can switch from one service provider to the other.
  2. If not whether any safeguards are required to ensure that consumers are fully aware of the limited interoperability of digital video recorders.
  3. Whether the guidelines for uplinking from India should be amended to specifically exclude platform services made available for enabling the subscribers to utilize the platform efficiently and inform them of platform functionality.
  4. Whether the use of MDU technology by a DTH licensee is in conformity with the licensing conditions.
  5. If not, what is the specific clause of the license conditions that is being violated.
  6. Should the license conditions be modified either to specifically permit this technology or to prohibit this technology.

While existing DTH platform Dish TV is in the process of distributing digital video recorders (cost: approximately Rs 16,000) to its subscribers to store programmes and films to viewed at leisure, Tata Sky’s proposed service is aggressively pushing MDU tech in high-rise residential colonies and buildings in Mumbai.


The MDU tech, which can render cable ops almost jobless, has invited the ire of cable operators in Mumbai who have been lobbying against its rollout.


The full text of the consultation paper is available on TRAI’s website (www.trai.gov.in). The last date for sending comments is 26 June, 2006.

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