DTH

DTH service providers say STB interoperability unlikely to succeed in current conditions

New design of STB must have a reasonable cost with highest standards of quality

https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/smartcrop_800x800/public/images/tv-images/2019/12/28/setup-box.jpg?itok=nQjYlXWl

MUMBAI: Tata Sky, Dish TV and Hathway – Indian direct to home (DTH) service providers have provided their inputs to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)’s consultation paper on the issue related to interoperability of set-top-boxes (STB).

According to Tata Sky’s response, having interoperable STBs will not be desirable due to commercial, technical, security and service-related reasons. The response stated that interoperability will only be viable if the new design of STB will have a reasonable cost with highest standards of quality, but not have any detrimental impact on the STB’s security and privacy features. The current STB ecosystem allows operators to provide secure solutions like HDCP, water-marking, fingerprint, among others at an optimum cost. The serious concern is, will third party manufacturers, developers be able to maintain the same security standards in the interoperable STB?

As different operators keep entering the market at different points of time, operators use different compressions standards like MPEG2, MPEG4, HEVC, among others. The presence of multiple compression standards comes in the way of interoperability. As the STB model, functionality, processor speed, memory, software configuration, encryption and transmission standards are different with different operators, this will lead to serious compatibility issues if interoperability is attempted.

The interoperable STB would soon get outdated and obsolete as a requirement would arise for operators to upgrade their STBs. The operator would get stifled by the slow pace of upgrade.

The BIS standardisation process of various STB features would require significant cost and long gestation period. In the current scenario of the sector, with aggressive and unregulated competition coming in from OTT and mobile operators, STB interoperability is not feasible.

According to Dish TV’s response, TRAI envisaged that it is not desirable to roll out interoperable STBs for a number of reasons, apart from the technical factors elaborated by Dish TV.  The response states that the dynamics of the STB industry are very rapid and will enable new product cycles at relatively low cost and advanced features which will get impeded, if an elaborated mechanism of interoperability including that of digital video broadcast (DVB)-C and DVB-T will be gone through. It will increase the cost at the same time disproportionately.

TRAI should not ignore the devices including the STBs the come with broadband and OTT delivery, which are the rapidly gaining segments, having their own technologies of DRM and content protection, based on two way interconnectivity rather than one way DSA and key transfer algorithms.

The structure of STBs vary in the cable and DTH segments, which does not warrant any interoperability to be mandated between them. DTH STBs have multiple functions that become redundant in cable-based STBs and vice versa.

Hathway believes that there should be a provision for interoperability of STBs because with the rapid technological advancement, it will provide lot of options to subscribers. The concept is in a preliminary stage and there are not any known examples of STB interoperability available in any other country. The concept could proceed in India methodically but also need to think about various aspects and interests of all the stakeholders involved in the broadcast service value chain.

At present, the STB architecture is designed in a way which meets the requirements of conditional access system (CAS). STB needs to be tightly bound with the CAS system for content security, which requires some parts of the CAS software to be hardcoded in the STB chipset during the manufacturing process, because of which not all chipsets support all available CAS systems. CAS is a very important component in the eco system of digital TV service. It defines the content security, specifies minimum requirement of STB’s CPU, RAM and FLASH memory, operating system and the requirement of a critical head end component – Multiplexer (MUX).

MUX is used to encrypt channels based on ECMs generated by the CAS systems. All CAS systems have different methods of generating ECMs, that depends on various parameters like service ID, transport stream ID, source channel, session ID, among others. The length of ECMs varies in different CAS systems, which makes it difficult for MUX vendors to support all available CAS systems.

The benefits of interoperability cannot be passed on to the subscribers in the case of an MSO, since its functioning is restricted to a specific area. The infrastructure and the set up for provision of services with a MSO and a DTH operator are completely different. The provision of service with a DTH operator is a wireless infrastructure, while with a MSO is a wired set up and depends on a local cable operator for end mile connectivity. A DTH operator can have a boundless reach, but MSO will have a limitation of reach due to infrastructure and geographical conditions.

Due to the disparity in re-transmission infrastructure of a DTH operator and MSO, the DTH operator will not be in a position to give access to subscribers or customers of a MSO. Hence, STB interoperability for MSO and DTH operators should not be allowed.

Latest Reads

https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/10/28/2.jpg?itok=QNYPzgmr
DTH operators go big on hybrid boxes this festive season

Leading direct-to-home (DTH) operators are endorsing their hybrid set-top boxes during the festive season. While it’s nothing new for them to piggyback on festivals to attract new subscribers, but this time rather than promoting discounted packages or value-added services.

DTH DTH Operator
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/09/28/tata.jpg?itok=PtHvOkuL
Tata Sky introduces a new age feature Smart Guide

KOLKATA : Reinforcing its commitment towards building customer centric innovations, Tata Sky, India’s leading content distribution and Pay TV platform has introduced ‘Smart Guide’ –a new-age feature that enables each customer to discover and consume content on television in a smart way. The new...

DTH DTH Operator
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/09/22/tatasky.jpg?itok=SlhKyBEz
Tata Sky Binge+ becomes available at lower price

KOLKATA: Keeping customer interests at the forefront, Tata Sky has further fine-tuned the pricing of its android TV-powered smart set top box, Tata Sky Binge+. Converging the strengths of DTH and the world of OTT content together on the television screens, this new age device will now be available...

DTH DTH Operator
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/09/17/dth.jpg?itok=eTmxaQXp
Active DTH subscribers reach 70.26 million, Tata Sky solidifies its lead

KOLKATA: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) today released ‘The Indian Telecom Services Performance Indicators’ data for the January- March’20 quarter. Sustaining its growth pace for three quarters in a row, Tata Sky has solidified its lead yet again in the DTH and Pay TV category...

DTH DTH Operator
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/09/15/dish.jpg?itok=kU7ZSq9d
Dish TV to push 50% STB manufacturing in India

KOLKATA: Dish TV India Ltd announced the manufacturing of its set-top boxes in India. Demonstrating its commitment to the government’s ‘Make in India’ vision, Dish TV India has shifted the production of its set-top boxes to India, adopting a ‘vocal for local’ strategy. The first consignment of made...

DTH DTH Operator
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/09/09/watcho.jpg?itok=YS5px8q5
Watcho revamps its user-generated content offering; launches Watcho Swag

KOLKATA: Dish TV India’s OTT platform, Watcho, the home-grown online video streaming app has gained immense popularity in the country through its fresh short format content and its overall bouquet of offerings. Watcho has been enthralling the viewers with exclusive or original shows, linear TV and...

DTH DTH Operator
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/09/08/tata-sky.jpg?itok=Aq1FXWxp
Tata Sky partners with Accedo to develop the user interface of Tata Sky Binge+

KOLKATA: Accedo has worked with Tata Sky, India’s leading content distribution platform to develop the user interface for its latest offering, Tata Sky Binge+ Smart Set-top Box. The Android TV enabled device provides content from Linear Television and a host of OTT apps onto a television screen.  

DTH DTH Operator
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/09/01/dd_free_dish.jpg?itok=W_xYYQtV
DD Free Dish adds three new channels

KOLKATA: The state broadcaster run free-to-air DTH platform DD Free Dish has added three new channels. These include ANB News, Aryan TV National and News India 24×7. These channels won the bid during the 47th e-auctions that was held on 26 August. They are allotted slots for the period between 1...

DTH DTH Operator
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/08/28/tatasky.jpg?itok=Ftb-V-3w
Tata Sky’s partner Technicolor to shift settop box manufacturing to India

KOLKATA:  In a big move, Tata Sky, India’s direct-to-home (DTH) operator has decided to shift a significant portion of its settop box sourcing within the country. It has partnered with Technicolor to develop settop boxes for the Indian market that will be manufactured and distributed within India...

DTH DTH Operator

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories

* indicates required