- What does Digitisation of TV services mean?
TV signals are currently distributed in the country in analog as well as in digital and terrestrial formats. A digital format provides better picture quality & sound and other benefits leading to a better quality service. Most cable operators in the country are providing analog TV service while all DTH operators are providing a digital TV service. Digitisation means that all cable TV households would receive digital TV signals through a Set Top Box. As part of Digitisation, every cable operator will be legally bound to transmit digital signals, which can be received at the subscriber's home only through a Set Top Box, often called a STB.
- What is the Digitisation Bill passed by the Government of India?
A bill aimed at digitising the cable has been passed by the Central government. This bill mandates that all cable TV operators will have to transmit TV signals in an encrypted format through a digital addressable system. This will be done through the installation of Set Top Box in every cable TV home and is being carried out in four phases.
- Is there a deadline by when the Digitisation process has to be completed?
The first phase of digitisation covered the four metros – Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. In the second phase 38 cities were covered with population more than one million. About 630 districts and 7709 urban areas will be covered in DAS Phase III aimed at all urban areas while the fourth phase by 31 December, 2016 will cover the rest of the country.
The following 38 cities/towns were digitized by March 31 2013 as part of Phase II - Bangalore,Hyderabad, Surat, Ahmedabad, Coimbatore, Vishakhapatnam, Nagpur, Kanpur, Ludhiana, Thane, Jaipur, Vadodara, Ghaziabad, Lucknow, Patna, Indore, Nashik, Agra, Kalyan - Dombivli, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Aurangabad, Mysore, Bhopal, Jabalpur, Rajkot, Srinagar, Howrah, Pune, Navi Mumbai, Chandigarh, Meerut, Jodhpur, Solapur, Amritsar, Ranchi, Prayagraj, Varanasi and Faridabad.
However Phase III has now been stayed in 5 states, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telengana, and deferred till March 2016, on the grounds of implementation issues and shortage of set top boxes (STBs).
- What is the difference between Digitisation & CAS?
Digitisation is the process of providing cable television signals in digital rather than analog mode. This requires television signals to be routed through a digital Set Top Box to the television.
The system used to control the distribution of digital television signals is called a Conditional Access System or CAS. This ensures that only the signals chosen and paid for by a subscriber are able to be received by that subscriber.
- What are the benefits of Digitisation?
It will provide a better TV viewing experience for consumers. They will enjoy better picture & sound clarity, enhanced services such HD & Video on Demand (VOD), a range of Interactive services and the freedom to choose from a bouquet of channels & pay only for those selected.
- Post implementation of Digitisation, does everyone have to buy a Set Top Box?
Post implementation of Digitisation, a Set Top Box will be necessary to continue receiving signals from the service provider of your choice (Cable operator/DTH operator). The Set Top Box can be either procured from your existing cable operator or you can upgrade to a DTH operator of your choice. If you don't buy a Set Top Box before that you may not be able to continue watching cable television.
- What if the cable operators do not provide a Set Top Box?