Tamil Nadu state-run cable TV operator, Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation Ltd (TACTV) has decided to procure 60 lakh standard definition (SD) set-top boxes and 10 lakh high definition (HD) set top boxes for the rollout of Digital Addressable System (DAS) across Tamil Nadu and issued a global tender recently. In April, the Union Ministry of information and broadcasting had granted the DAS licence to Arasu Cable. The tender for procurement of set-top boxes closes on May 29. The bids would be open on May 29.
According to Tamil Daily, Dinamani, these set-top box devices will help customers access high-quality TV programmes at a competitive cost. The newspaper also reports that with new STBs roll-out across the state, the government can broadcast channels with visual quality on par with DTH operators.
Through this, the state-run corporation aims to eventually broadcast at least 500 channels and charge for 300 channels at competitive rates.
Who can bid?
The tender document reads: The proposed TV services (300 channels to start and to be expanded to 500 ) will be in MPEG 4 Standard definition and 30 Television services in HD (MPEG4) and 20 FM Audio services with provision to add more SD & HD Channels in the near future. It also said the system will ultimately aim to broadcast 500 TV channels, including 50 HD Channels and 20 FM Audio Channels. The initial subscriber base is expected to be over 7 million. The tender also reads that the Bidder must agree to maintain the supplied equipments to ensure the continuous usage during the AMC period after the completion of five years warranty period. Annual Maintenance Cost will include cost of defective equipments/parts and more replaced during the AMC Period. Also, the single bidder/ anyone of the consortium partner should have successfully completed supply of at least five lakh units of set-top boxes in any one of the last three financial years —2013-16 (or) 2014-17 — of which at least three lakh units should have been supplied and seeded in India.
ISP Plans and e-payment option:
The government through TACTV is also planning to provide low-cost internet thereby acting as an internet service provider. Through ‘triple-pay’ STBs, one can consume both internet and HD channels through a single device. Arasu Cable is now ready to offer this service in select areas of all district Headquarters in TN. In an alert yesterday, the independent body has come up with a notification that the service will be progressively extended to other areas in these cities as well as other cities and towns in the state.
The government has also recently launched a mobile app, which will allow the user to pay directly for their monthly cable TV consumption. A dedicated toll-free number has been established for addressing grievances.