TV technology companies upbeat on digital India

MUMBAI: Television technology companies are upbeat on India as a market with the government having mandated digitisation. But the challenge is that cable operators have to be educated on the kind of infrastructure they need to build and the investments which would be required.

This was a view expressed by several exhibitors at the television technology trade exhibition Scat India. NDS India country head, GM Jayant Chagrani said that the company is pushing its hosted solution which was specially developed for the country. It is a low capex entry level solution and NDS will take care of the backend completely.

"We are targeting smaller operators who will be a part of the second and third phase of digitisation. We have received a good response at Scat. It offers scalability by being able to upgrade to a full Videoguard system with features and revenue generating services like DVR. We have a market share of over 40 per cent."

Conax sales director Amit Khera said that the company has a 33 per cent market share and wants to maintain and build on that. "What we are seeing is that in the first phase operators are running around for survival. In the second phase there will be more time as operators will take things seriously. The mindset that the government will delay things is no longer present. Our aim is to give the right products at the right prices."

Gospell international business department manager Horace Hao said that the company is taking part in tradeshows to create awareness. It is having demos and is also visiting clients. "We provide a turnkey solution that offers convenience. Our products include headends and set top boxes. India offers excellent potential".

Catvision which offers digital headends among other products expects to sell 20 headends next year. Catvision GM Manoj Thakur said, "In addition to cable operators, we also work with five star hotels. The challenge is that the smaller cable operators are not educated enough about digitisation. We have to educate them. We have dealers across India."

Saibaba Enterprises sells products for networks and cable TV including switches and converters. Now the company is focussing on digital headends under the DBC brand name. Vishal Katara notes that the company has distributors in every state. "We see good potential here. Technically and sales wise we have an edge. We have a good support team which means that there is no language barrier."

Optilink, which offers networking hardware, cable TV hardware and an end to end solution, is looking at targeting smaller operators with the second phase of digitisation due next year. The company‘s CTO Piyush Dedhia said that the company, which had focussed on large cable operators so far, will also look at smaller operators in the next six months and will come out with products for them. "We have a situation though where cable operators ask about set top boxes but do not understand the technology like conditional access. Operators to an extent are afraid as they do not know about digitisation and the future. We will be doing seminars among other things to market our products and to educate about the digitisation process."

Customer relationship management solutions provider Gaps Technologies, which recently launched its service, has received several inquiries from cable operators. "We offer a CRM solution for managing subscribers. It allows cable operators to save time when it comes to handling customer issues. Any business needs a communication centre and cable TV is no different. Our product can also be adapted and customised depending on an operators requirement," said Gaps Technologies MD and CEO Suhel Faridi.

JainHits is positioning itself as the first direct to network solution for cable operators. The company’s national sales head Jeet Narayan Singh said that the offering is not only cost effective but also better than DTH. "There are 60,000 small cable operators in the country who want an inexpensive solution. It costs Rs. 1.5 million. We will help cable operators remain independent by growing their business. Our service starts in mid December. When we talk to operators they are concerned about the quality of service. The options here are limited."

System integrator CNet, which offers end to end solutions, plans to have a 10-15 per cent share by 2015. The company’s head sales, marketing Arun Kaushik said, "The challenge is that cable operators don’t know where the market is. They need to understand that the business model for digitisation must be long term. We help them achieve that objective. We have 27 service centers across the country. We also have three different models for our solution. These are low cost, medium cost and premium top of the line. This allows us to address everybody."

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