BIS delineates set top box standards, invites comments by 15 June

The Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2002 may still be awaiting clearance by the Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Parliament), but the wheels are moving in other areas.

The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has issued a set of specifications as regards the analog set top box that is the cornerstone of the roll out of the proposed conditional access system. 

This specifies the performance parameters for analog set top boxes to be used by subscribers for viewing pay channels through the cable distribution system.

The second part of the six-page report outlines the specifications for digital set tops.

The systems - both analog and digital - are primarily intended for sound and television signals operating between 30 MHz and 1 GHz.

On the issue of subscriber management systems, which is one that has particularly worried broadcasters, the document states: "Operators free to choose but it should ensure consumer interest by efficient responsive and accurate billing and collection. At the same time an arrangement must be made between the broadcaster and the cable operator for access to the relevant data relating to the respective channels for billing purposes."

As far as general requirements go it is stated that: "It should be mandatory for the manufacturer / operator / service provider to declare to the subscriber the capability of the set top box and its inter-operability on other networks so that the subscriber is under no illusion whatsoever regarding the same. The manufacturer should ensure that compatibility / interfacing of set top box with standard consumer electronic goods such as television audio systems and VCRs in the country." 

The BIS notification states that all the standards are subject to revision and invites comments on the issue on or before 15 June.

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