InCablenet has shelved its plans to introduce Intel’s set-top boxes because of its high price. Each box would cost Rs 35,000, a price which customers would be reluctant to pay. The set top boxes were to be launched in June, 2001. But no breakthrough in pricing and technology could be made.
The company decided to wait till the government’s policy on conditional access is spelt out and then decide to go in for cheaper boxes. According to company sources, Intel was still working on the boxes and its pricing.
Price Waterhouse, which was hired by the company to do a market survey, has recommended that the price now quoted for the premium-end box with all the Internet and digital features would be on the higher side. It said IndusInd Media & Communications should not rush into a decision on such high-end boxes and negotiate for a box, which would be acceptable to customers.
The mass market for the set top boxes would be in the price range varying between Rs 3,000-5,000. This will be only for viewing the satellite channels and not have Internet facilities.
The mid-segment box will be around Rs 7,000 and have limited Internet facilities. The high-end box providing all the digital and Internet facilities will be between Rs 10,000-15,000. This will have interactive and streaming video.
IndusInd Media & Communications has already utilised around Rs 110 crores of the Rs 219 crores Intel paid to acquire nearly 4 per cent stake in the Hinduja company.
The company plans to expand its cable network into 13 cities, taking its total presence to 25 cities.