Mumbai-based companies claim to launch India's first indigenous STBs

MUMBAI: Even as several multi system operators have announced tie ups with global conditional access companies and vendors for imports, a few Indian set top manufacturing companies have announced plans to launch their products and capitalise on the huge opportunity to go global.


Broadband Pacenet India has announced that its set-top boxes are highly sophisticated indigenous "home genies" that include features such as a peoplemeter and ethernet output (to enable Internet surfing).

Another Mumbai-based company Telenext Convergence has also announced the launch of an indigenous set top box (STB) in joint collaboration with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT).


Six persons from the Kanwal Rekhi School of Information Technology at IIT and a team of 26 engineers from Bangalore based VLSI (Very Large Scale Integration) have worked for over two years to produce this indigenous set-top box for Telenext. The STB will be priced at Rs 3,500 and the organisation is in talks with MSOs and cable operators, as consumers cannot directly buy it, as the encrypted smart card of their cable operators may not match this.

Broadband Pacenet India CEO S Ravindran says that their advanced STBs (rather 'home genies') will be economically priced around the same level of Rs 3,500. ETC Networks JS Kohli says that he expects penetration to touch 50-60 per cent levels if the current "pay channels" remain "pay".

Experts say the primary issue will relate to the smart-card user identification elements such as the public and private keys. "Pacenet's STBs have RSA data security for enhanced security. The 128-bit configuration will take 50 years to crack whereas the 1024-bit configuration is almost impossible to crack. Pacenet home genies have the latter," says Ravindran.

Ravindran goes on to add: "Our 'home genies' will have elements such as RSA 1024-bit; DES (Digital Encryption System) and AES (advanced encryption systems); with peoplemeter facilities. We have plans to get these STBs certified by companies such as Business Proton and Tata Consultancy Services and then sell them in the global markets."

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