Mandatory Set-top Box in 4 Metros from July 1st

Posted In India - By NitiN Kumar Jain On Tuesday, April 10th, 2012 With 0 Comments

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Union information and broadcasting ministry has amended the existing Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act, 1994 and made set-top boxes mandatory in 4 metro cities, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai from 1st July 2012.

From 1st July, citizens in these metros will not be able to watch television without set-top box (STB). The STB will also become mandatory for all the 100 million-plus cable and satellite subscribers in India by 2014. This means, the monthly cable bills of the subscribers will shoot-up though the quality of service is expected to become world-class.

Both free-to-air channels and the pay channels in these metros will only be accessed through a STB and the consumers will have to shell out a minimum of R250-500 as a one-time cost to obtain a STB or by paying a monthly fees over and above the cable charges.

People who have conditional access system (CAS) will have to buy or rent out a new set-top box from the cable operators. Once the digitisation happens, it will lead to standardisation, giving viewers access to all channels.

The Information and Broadcasting ministry is also planning to implement a “must provide clause” for cable operators. This means, cable operator can not refuse to provide any channel, demanded by consumer. TRAI would decide the rate for each channel, and customers would know in advance how much they would have to pay for.

A good news for the industry and viewers. Digitization is good, shelling few more bucks is a problem in the beginning but with enhanced picture quality, we will get used to it.