The cable operators have a clientele—an estimated 35 million homes are unfazed by DTH arrival. Would technology spell the death knell for the local cablewallah? Experts do not think so. According to them, the exorbitant DTH will take a few years before giving the cable operators a run for their money. Till then, the pizza-sized dish antenna and decoder box ingredients of the DTH technology will beautify the home of the rich and affluent alone. The entire paraphernalia involves a capital investment of Rs 20,000 with a monthly subscription rate of Rs 500-1000. Even by the most optimistic estimates, the DTH is not expected to reach more than 1 million homes in the first year of its inception. The reason is simple. The DTH offer of excellent reception and a package of 200 channels come with a price tag that an average middle-class TV home may find a little too expensive. On the other hand, the cable operator's strength lies in the near-negligible installation cost, round-the-clock personalised service and an affordable monthly rental of Rs 150. In the US, cable networks have retained their share of the market despite the DTH invasion. . In recent years, the cable industry in India has registered a spectacular growth - from 21 million homes in 1998 to more than 35 million this year. The Rs 300 crore industry provides direct and indirect employment to about 10-12 lakh people.
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