Technology

Kolkata to go completely digital from 28 December

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MUMBAI: Kolkata‘s cable television will go completely digital from 28 December.

The Information and Broadcasting (I&B) ministry has cracked the whip for switching off of all analogue television signals in the West Bengal state capital by 27 December.

The multi-system operators (MSOs) will begin the process of switching off of analogue signals from 16 December. The second genre-wise switch off will be on 20, followed by 23 and finally 27 December when the Bengali language channels also go dark on analogue cable.

"The I&B ministry has said that from 16 December onwards till 27 December all the analogue channels should go off air and only digital should be activated (from 28 December)," Siti Cable Kolkata director Suresh Sethia told Indiantelevision.com.

Cable television networks in Mumbai and Delhi have already gone totally digital. According to a TAM survey, set-top boxes (STBs) required for digital reception have been deployed in 93 per cent of cable TV homes in Mumbai, 97 per cent in Delhi and 70 per centin Kolkata.

The I&B had mandated compulsory switch to digital delivery of cable television in the four metros of Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai from 1 November. The ministry did not push for switching off of analogue signals along with Mumbai and Delhi as a large number of homes in Kolkata were still on analogue then. The situation has now changed. Over 75 per cent of cable TV homes in Kolkata now have STBs installed.

Sethia said almost 85 per cent of Siti Cable‘s subscribers now have STBs installed.

Manthan Broadband services, a regional multi-system operator, is also pushing for digitisation. "We have received a communication from the I&B ministry and will be switching off analogue signals completely by the deadline specified. We have also worked out a lower-priced package for those subscribers who hold a BPL (below poverty line) card as desired by the West Bengal state government," said Manthan business head Samrat Sen.

Chennai is the only city still to go digital as the Madras High Court is hearing a petition filed by associations of cable operators. The court has scheduled a hearing in the last week of this month.

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