Cable television in India has entered the digital age with the end of the digitisation deadline at midnight of October 31, 2012.
Even as the digitisation process is rolled out, there are pockets in the four metros – Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai – where set top boxes (STBs) are yet to be installed. Viewers in these areas are faced with blank TV screens, except for Chennai, where the Madras High Court has granted extending the digitisation deadline till November 5, 2012. On the other hand, the Bombay High Court rejected a petition to extend the digitisation deadline.
According to the data made available by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB), 94 per cent digitisation has taken place in the four metros, including the DTH connections.
The Ministry claimed that 105,180 set top boxes had been installed on October 30 alone in the four metros combined, of which around 65,000 boxes were installed in Delhi. This has pushed digitisation in Delhi to 95 per cent, with the figure further going up to 97 per cent along with DTH coverage.
As per MIB’s data, Mumbai has achieved 100 per cent digitization, while in Kolkata the percentage of digitisation stands at 83 per cent. There is 62 per cent digitisation in Chennai, and along with DTH, this figure goes up to 86 per cent.
A clearer picture will emerge in the days ahead as the switchover process gets completed and the various glitches come to the fore. As reported by exchange4media, various MSOs and LCOs have voiced concerns about the quality of the set top boxes available. MIB has set up a control room to address and clarify various queries of consumers and stakeholders. It remains to be seen how effective the redressal mechanism really is.