DTH Assn’s Harit Nagpal: “We can plug the shortfall in STBs in Phase II”

MUMBAI: They are being pretty direct. DTH TV operators have categorically stated that they can definitely fill the gap should there be any shortage of set top boxes in any city under phase II of the government mandated digitsation of cable TV.

“Digitisation does not need to be postponed,” says DTH Association of India president Harit Nagpal emphatically “ We have been digitizing the TV industry for the past seven years. We have national contracts with the broadcasters, which we keep working on with them. We have adequate stocks of STBs and trained manpower to meet any demand which crops up in any city should cable TV operators not be in a position to deliver the set top boxes to their customers.”

He is pretty confident that this can be done overnight. “At Tata Sky we have about 1.5 million set top boxes in stock,” he reveals. “I am speaking for all DTH operators: If there is a colony or a ward or a pincode which is feeling the shortage, we can rush boxes there overnight to plug the shortage.”

Nagpal believes that media reports claiming that 50 per cent of homes in some cities are facing a TV blackout could be attributable to independent cable TV operators in these cities not clearly reporting the number of STBs they have installed. “I think it is a reporting problem,” he says. “The number of TV homes not receiving signals is much lower. Some anomalies like this are bound to occur on an exercise of this scale.”

DTH today accounts for about 27-28 per cent of the entire pay TV base in this country with about 40 million active subscribers according to the DTH association.

Also, according to MIB reports almost 40 per cent of the digitization that has been achieved in the 38 cities has been done by DTH players, among which figure Tata Sky, Airtel, Videocon d2H, DishTV, Sun, DDDirect, Big TV.

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