DTH

Tata Sky completes half of its MPEG-4 STB rollout

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MUMBAI: It was a year ago that Tata Sky decided it would stop depending on the government for giving its additional transponder space and switched to the alternative method of compression that others in the industry had already begun.

A huge order for six million MPEG-4 boxes were given to Broadcom that would mean Tata Sky spending close to Rs 1,000 crore to replace all the initial MPEG-2 boxes that it had seeded at peoples? home with MPEG-4. A year later, the DTH operator has converted nearly half of its MPEG-2 subscriber base to MPEG-4.

Speaking to indiantelevision.com Tata Sky MD and CEO Harit Nagpal says, ?We have replaced close to three million boxes. Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Bengali, Odia, English, Gujarati and Marathi language channels have already been compressed and boxes have been deployed in the respective areas.? Now, the large Hindi base of north India is left which it says it will soon complete.

With this compression technique, the DTH operator has managed to fit three channels in the space of two in its existing transponder space. Nagpal adds that in the last one year, Tata Sky has added nearly 50 channels.

The cost of this entire exercise is being borne by the operator. Tata Sky's signals are being beamed off Insat 4A; but it had signed a contract to lease 12 transponders on ISRO's GSAT-10 satellite around six years ago which have not been delivered to Tata Sky yet, even after the satellite launched in to space in September 2012.

Emergency teams were also brought to seed the large amount of boxes. Tata Sky is continuing to add more channels to its regional packs, despite the fact that it hasn?t got any additional transponder capacity. However, a source from the company says that it has given up hope of having more space. 

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