NEW DELHI: The Direct to Home (DTH) operators are going through a major capacity constraint. While Tata Sky was one of the first players to bring to the fore the need for availability of more transponders, it is now a major concern for all the DTH players.
Tata Sky had in 2013 said it would initiate legal action against Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) if its demand for more transponders was not met.
It should be noted that Tata Sky for the past four years has been waiting to get its contracted space on an ISRO satellite.
“While I had said that earlier, for now, we have given a pause to that. We are not taking any legal course against ISRO, for now,” said Tata Sky CEO Harit Nagpal today while participating in the discussion on DTH at CASBAA India Forum 2014.
Nagpal said, “There is a growing demand of channels. And soon there will be a time when the expectation will go up to providing 1,000 channels. Capacity will be needed to serve this demand. While for now, with 12 transponders and moving from MPEG 2 boxes to MPEG 4 boxes, we are sorted for next two years. But, after that, as demand grows, we will need more capacity.” Tata Sky has invested huge sums in moving from MPEG 2 Set Top Boxes to MPEG 4 boxes.
The satellite policy in India is being questioned the world over. “There is sufficient demand for investing in satellite. Also, we are ready to invest, but if the current policy bottleneck doesn’t cease to exist, satellites will stop dedicating capacity for India,” opined SES SVP commercial - Asia Pacific and the Middle East, Deepak Mathur.
SES is a Luxembourg-based global satellite owner and operator.
The session also brought to the fore a key point that while cable TV can carry 500 channels, DTH television providers cannot.
Non-availability of transponders has caused a capacity constraint for DTH television providers and as a result unable to offer 500 channels. “This is distorting the playing field,” concluded SES’ Mathur.