Digitisation came into play a week ago. Though Kolkata and Chennai continue to face challenges, Delhi and Mumbai met the October 31 deadline.
However, the question that arises now is whether the Digital Addressable System (DAS) has seen a 100 per cent implementation and if every household has a set top box. The answer is no; there are still many pockets which continue to receive analogue signals and the reason is not new – scarcity of STBs.
Commenting on the current status, Roop Sharma, President, Cable Operators Federation of India (COFI) said, “DAS has officially been implemented. However, there are many areas in Mumbai and Delhi where cable operators are continuing analogue signals because of shortage of boxes.”
Inadequate number of STBs is not the only reason. Lazy behaviour of consumers is also to be partly blamed. The government, broadcasters and even cable operators have been running campaigns from last the six months to create awareness about going digital from November 1 but few have paid heed.
AK Rastogi, President, Avishkar Dish Antena Sangh said, “East and North Delhi are affected and analogue signals continue in these areas. Around 20 per cent of installation is needed and I think we will be fully digitised by January 2013 as people are showing interest now.”
He further shared that digitisation has brought in extra demand of boxes because everyone needs more boxes for their second TV set connection.
Mumbai was always ahead of other metros in installing STBs. But a week since the deadline, many parts continue to be on the analogue system. Mainly the slum areas of the city, which cover a large chunk of the population, have not gone digital.
“Mumbai is on track; but the second TV set is creating a challenge. About 10 – 15 per cent of installation is still left and we are expecting it to complete in the coming two months. It will take little time as consumers are negotiating price for second set top box to get them at low rates,” said Girish M Kothari, Managing Director, Home System.
With talks of Phase 2 of digitisation already initiated, there are many aspects in Phase 1 that need immediate fixing. It will be interesting to see how Phase 2 – with 4 months left for the deadline – pans out.