The Rapidly Digitising Face Of Indian Television

Thursday, 27 September 2012, 13:50 Hrs
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To receive the digital signals from the satellite, the Multi System Operators (MSOs) or the cable companies have to install a "digital headend", said Sahu. From 70-100 channels at present, operators will be able to provide up to 1,000 channels.

According to a directive of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), after digitisation, TV viewers will get a minimum of 100 Free to Air (FTA) channels at a maximum price of Rs 100. This bouquet of channels would include 18 mandatory Doordarshan channels, including the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha channels. The rest must comprise at least five channels of each genre - namely, news and current affairs, infotainment, sports, children, music and regional.

The subscriber can choose the channels he/she wants.

TRAI has also directed that the prices of a-la-carte channels beyond the bouquet should be kept low.

S.N. Sharma, chief executive officer of Den Networks, one of the country's largest with a pan-Indian presence, said they are in the process of finalising the number of channels and the prices and would come out with a package "very soon".

"We will have different packages. A subscriber who today gets 75-odd channels will get more than 250-odd channels to choose from. We won't hassle the consumers. They can pick and choose," Sharma told IANS

Den Networks, an MSO which has subscribers all over India, has completed almost 60 percent of digitization, said Sharma.

Den Networks has spent around 350 crore-400 crore on digitalistion, said Sharma, adding that all MSOs had spent similar amount on the process.

The raising of the FDI limits in the broadcast sector to 74 percent from 49 percent, announced last week, has also been beneficial to the service providers, said Sharma.

"It is good for the general business environment," he added.

India has a staggering 839 television channels - 407 news channels and 432 non-news channels - according to the information and broadcasting ministry.

Source: IANS
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