Cable TV

INCableNet CAS systems in place for 1 September deadline

MUMBAI: The Hinduja group owned multi system operator (MSO) INCableNet's conditional access system (CAS) branded as INDigital is ready to roll.

Top officials of the multi-system operator (MSO) claim that they will leverage cutting edge technology to enhance viewer experience at affordable prices when CAS comes into force from 1 September 2003 onwards.

While speaking to, Hinduja TMT INCableNet COO Rajiv Vyas states that his team have completed the sophisticated installations of CAS systems at the INMumbai headquarters in suburban Mumbai. Vyas says: "Our franchisee last mile operators need not invest any money in infrastructural upgradations except for making them two-way compatible."

"Even viewers or consumers with lower capacity colour TV sets/B&W TV sets will be able to access 100 plus channels without having to change their TV set. We have tested our systems extensively and have been able to provide crystal clear digital channels across our networks - in fact the demo given by us to the IB ministry officials was on an outdated 1974 vintage Bush-Baron TV set. Video on our networks will not encounter any problems post 1 September," Vyas asserts, while stating that the INCableNet's fibre optic backbone is completely two-way but the network will be one-way during the initial stages of CAS.

The technology partners for INDigital include Nagravision (CAS), Magnaquest (subscriber management system) and branded INDigi set top boxes (STBs) have been imported from abroad. The latest state of the art digital headend has been provided by Tandberg of Norway at a total cost of $400,000 (purchase price excludes transport and duty costs) and have been set up.

The Barco analog headend for the free to air channels has also been installed. The company has installed the latest Sun Microsystems and Compaq servers for the SMS systems. "There is full redundancy and adequate back up systems," says Vyas.

INCableNet technical and services group president major general CL Anand says: "Each RS slot will have eight to 10 channels depending on the mix. At present, we have five RS slots for the 42 pay channels and 16 RS slots for the FTA channels. We can offer upto 150 channels due to the compression of the digital and analog channels between 48 Mhz and 860 Mhz."

The INDigi STBs are smart-card enabled and have value added features. For instance, the LMO or viewer have to tune to the first transport stream and the rest will be set automatically. At a later date, the STBs will be upgraded automatically as they are empowered to download the latest software - no hardware upgrading will be required. INDigital will also provide features such as EPG (electronic programming guide).

"The boxes can download the latest 2.48 version of the software as soon as the power is switched on (something similar to Norton anti-virus or other software downloads). This doesn't require a two-way path. Later on when polling happens, then two-way stream will come into play," Anand adds.

Vyas points out that polling will happen through the SMS system and the call centre. "The STB isn't an analytical device. The consumer profiling will happen at the SMS end."

Anand offers another insight by saying: "The INCablenet team is in the advanced stages of integrating the STB remote control and the TV remote control to provide consumers with a single remote that will enable them to view both the pay and FTA channels."

When questioned about piracy-related issues, Anand says: "We have chosen Nagravision because they have pretty robust systems. However, we have a time-based agreement wherein Nagravision will provide us with the latest firewalls at any given point of time. In case of any eventuality, only the smart cards will be replaced and not the STB hardware. If the systems are hacked, then we shall bear the cost of providing consumers with new smart cards through the LMO."

Talking about the zone-wise CAS implementation, Anand says that they will offer three separate feeds in Mumbai city - FTA channels, analog channels plus encrypted digital channels to South Mumbai (the first zone where CAS will be implemented); the other areas will get FTA analog channels, encrypted digital channels (for those who own STBs) as well as pay channels in the analog form (present system).

The CAS service to be provided by 'INDigital' from 1 September would, within a short while, enhance its services to provide a value added services package which would include broadband Internet, interactive TV, content on demand and pay per view. This would be enabled by Tsunami middleware provided by Nagravision and a MHP application.

"Eventually, we shall also be able to provide Internet to the viewers through enhanced versions of STBs," says Anand. In2cable (India) Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Hinduja TMT Limited (HTMT), is a "Category A" (all India) ISP licence holder. It offers its broadband services under an exclusive arrangement with its group company IndusInd Media and Communications (IMC), using their existing cable network across India.

In2cable currently provides multi-channel transmission services to approximately 4 million subscribers under the brand name INCableNet. In addition to Mumbai, IMC's network covers 11 major cities in northern, southern and western India namely: Delhi, Agra, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Nasik, Belgaum, Indore and Nagpur. 

Also read:

LMOs - part of INCablenet's CAS biz plan: Vyas

Content pull will determine the success of CAS - Interview with Hinduja TMT group director and CTO KV Seshasayee

INDigital also reworks STB package; to offer 70 channels in FTA tier

INCableNet brands conditional access service 'INDigital' 

Hathway ready to meet CAS deadline; invests Rs120-150m per city

Hathway installs and successfully tests CA systems

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